Women voice out on VAW through audio programmes

BANTING, Sun: The 3rd Community Audio Fest this year showed
a marked improvement in the quality and number of audio entries
submitted and the range of topics that revealed the desire among women
from the lower income group to share experiences on violence against
women (VAW).


A total of 13 groups from Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Johor and Kedah submitted their entries on the theme Men and women unite to end violence against women for the competition organised annually by the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ).

With the skills they have learnt on recording voices and sound
editing, these women have shown that they can and want to articulate
the problems they face to a bigger audience. They are housewives,
students and working women from the age sixteen to fifty-five.

need a platform to express their everyday issues such as violence
against them. It is even more crucial for women from the lower income
class because the availability of a platform allows them to learn to
express themselves articulately," said S. Govindammah from the
Kindergarten Teachers Association (Persatuan Guru Tadika- PGT).

Govindammah is one of the contestants in the competition, which has
entered its third year in 2009. She was also one of the participants
last year in the competition that was themed Documenting Women's Rights.


janalocalcouncillor.jpgCIJ executive director Gayathry Venkiteswaran said the annual
competition was a way of recognizing women's efforts as well as making
a statement about the importance of media plurality.

"Women in
many countries make use of community media to communicate local issues
as the national media is not adequately attuned to their voices.
Community media is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Developing
countries have it, such as Thailand and India, so do first world
nations such as Denmark," Gayathry (left in pix, with Kuala Langat councillor A. Janarthani) said.

The first prize
winner was K. Malathi and her team from Segamat. They produced a
10-minute program using a talk show and call in format to discuss the
theme. The group scored high for relevance and clarity in presenting
the discussion.

winners.jpgR. Puvaneswary and her team from Kepong came in second with their
entry on a wife's double whammy – her husband is infected with HIV and
he has secretly married a Muslim woman. When he dies in an accident,
the wife loses the right to bury her husband and has to get legal aid
to claim his estate.

The third prize winner presented in the form of a drama, the
cultural stigma associated with infertility that can be construed as a
form of mental violence. The programme highlighted the kinds of
discrimination against a woman who is unable to conceive – ranging from
the hostility shown to her by the in-laws and being barred from
participating in certain Hindu ceremonies because being barren is
associated with bad luck. The team was led by K. Lachmi from Batang


 The event was organised with the support of the Taman Langat Jaya Residents' Association, the Kuala Langat District Council and local councillor for Kuala Langat A. Janarthani.


Winners received a set of recording equipment and hampers. The
audio training and competition programmes were supported by funds from
the Global Fund for Women and partly supported by the Foundation Open
Society Institute (Zug).

CIJ conducts trainings for communities on audio production, using open source software for sound editing like Audacity.






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