Georgian journalists briefed on specifics of workplace sexual harassment

Date: Friday, July 21, 2017

What role can the mass media play in preventing workplace sexual harassment? UN Women Georgia held a special seminar for local reporters on this topic.

Workshop participant journalists introducing with the forms of sexual harassment; Photo: UN Women
Twelve representatives of TV, radio, print and online media outlets attended the seminar. The participants mostly report on gender and human rights, but workplace sexual harassment is a relatively new and taboo topic for the Georgian reality. This is why UN Women decided to better inform the media about the essence of the problem, its related challenges and the situation in Georgia.

Tamar Sabedashvili, programme specialist at UN Women Georgia, and programme analyst Ana Pashalishvili talked to the journalists about the forms of sexual harassment, existing domestic and international legislation, and mechanisms for prevention and response, as well as the myths and reality surrounding this problem. They also presented an e-course – Eradication of Workplace Sexual Harassment – to the media representatives.

“The meeting turned out to be informative and interesting, especially the part where we discussed types of harassment and particular cases,” noted participant Keti Brachuli, a journalist from the TV company Imedi. “Perhaps, for every participant this situation was familiar, or they identified themselves with some cases. I think that the media should be especially active while covering this topic because women may experience any form of sexual harassment in the workplace every day and, consequently, be stressed and not know that they are victims of sexual harassment.”

Ekaterine Skhiladze, Deputy Public Defender of Georgia, also attended the seminar. She informed the media representatives about the situation regarding referrals of sexual harassment to the Public Defender’s Office and the practices of its staff. At the end of the meeting, the journalists discussed the specific issues and challenges related to the coverage of sexual harassment.

Nino Kharadze, a correspondent from Radio Liberty, noted: “Although Radio Liberty actively reports on gender issues, it is very important that various media outlets have a common and consolidated approach to this topic, especially when we are talking about closed and tabooed issues such as workplace sexual harassment. I think that it will be impossible to change perceptions without the consistent and focused work of the responsible media. In this respect the seminar gave us many things indeed: there were certain topics highlighted, from which the media can start raising issues.”

UN Women Georgia started working on workplace sexual harassment in 2017. In cooperation with the Public Service Bureau and the staff of the Public Defender’s Office, the distance-learning course “Eradication of Workplace Sexual Harassment” was created for public servants and is accessible to any interested person.