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Steering Committee on
Media and Information Society
(CDMSI)

CDMSI(2012)Misc8

Gender aspects of media coverage of electoral campaigns
Outline

Background information

The work for the preparation of a Council of Europe draft document on gender aspects of media coverage of electoral campaigns started with the activation of an informal group who met in Strasbourg on 27 September 2011 for a first exchange of views on this topic. The following experts participated in the meeting: Margaret Gallagher (UK/IR), Joke Hermes (NL), Emir Povlakic (BiH), Bissera Zankova (BG).
Sonia Sirtori-Milner (Secretariat of the PACE), Jan Malinowski and Natalia Voutova (Media Division) also took part in the meeting.

The group agreed that the main objective should be the achievement of a soft law instrument aiming at promoting equality between men and women as an essential component of human rights and a fundamental criterion for democracy, and stressing the importance of respect that media should have towards gender equality and human dignity in this particular field.

This instrument should aim at conveying a solid political message, endowed with strong commitment and monitoring mechanisms in respect of its implementation.
A crucial element for the success of this work - in all its process, including monitoring - is the adequate support from relevant stakeholders (professional organisations, media literacy groups, academia, etc.) and political interlocutors (Inter-Parliamentary Union, high profile political leaders as Angela Merkel, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic, Vice-President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes, etc.)

Structure of the draft document on gender aspects of media coverage of electoral campaigns

During the meeting two main possibilities were considered: either a two-layer document (Recommendation to Member states + Guidelines for professionals) or a three-layer document (Declaration, Recommendation to Member states + Guidelines for professionals).
In respect of content the group agreed that the document should refer to three different levels:

All these levels should carefully consider both quantitative and qualitative parameters in assessing and promoting women candidates’ representation in media.

Possible topics to be included in the document

1) Regulatory level Member states may be called on to work on:

2) Media level Bearing in mind that equal representation of female candidates has impact on the perception of voters and on the election itself, media could be encouraged to set up good practices aiming to:

3) “Political”/cultural level (political parties, research activities, etc.)

Political parties: Bearing in mind that gender equality is an overall issue which should be pursued in all the different phases of political process (pre-electoral, electoral and post-electoral), political parties could be encouraged to develop internal policies mindful of gender equality and to ensure a balanced representation on media for men and women in electoral campaigns, for example by:

Research activities: Research (by academics, civil society groups, etc.) on gender aspects of media coverage of politics should be encouraged. There are fields which could be further explored:

Background documentation

Venice Commission Guidelines on media analyses during election observations missions, CDL-AD(2009)031;
http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2009/CDL-AD(2009)031-e.asp

“Parity democracy: a far cry from reality. Comparative study on the results of the first and second rounds of monitoring of Council of Europe Recommendation Rec (2003) 3 on balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision-making”, prepared by Ms Regina Tavares da Silva, CDEG (2009) 17
http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/equality/03themes/women-decisionmaking/CDEG%20(2009)17_en_corrected.pdf

Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men “Women and Journalists first. A challenge to media professionals to realise democracy in practice, quality in journalism and an end to gender stereotyping”, prepared by Ms Joke Hermes, 2 December 2011, CDEG (2011)15 rev
http://www.coe.int/t/DGHL/STANDARDSETTING/EQUALITY/03themes/women-media/CDEG_2011_15_en_handbook.pdf

PACE Recommendation 1676 (2004) Women's participation in elections
http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/AdoptedText/ta04/EREC1676.htm
http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc05/EDOC10512.htm

PACE Report Women’s participation in elections, 7 June 2004, Doc. 10202
http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc04/EDOC10202.htm

PACE Best practices for promoting gender equality in political parties, 16 December 2010, Doc 12453
http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc10/EDOC12453.pdf

PACE Recommendation 1931 (2010) Combating sexist stereotypes in the media http://assembly.coe.int/main.asp?Link=/documents/adoptedtext/ta10/erec1931.htm

PACE Resolution 1751 (2010) Combating sexist stereotypes in the media http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/AdoptedText/ta10/ERES1751.htm

Recommendation (99)15 on measures concerning media coverage of election campaigns
https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=419411&Site=CM&BackColorInternet=9999CC&BackColorIntranet=FFBB55&BackColorLogged=FFAC75

Recommendation (2007)15 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures concerning media coverage of election campaigns
https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1207243&Site=CM&BackColorInternet=9999CC&BackColorIntranet=FFBB55&BackColorLogged=FFAC75

Recommendation (2003)3 on balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision-making
https://wcd.coe.int/com.instranet.InstraServlet?Index=no&command=com.instranet.CmdBlobGet&InstranetImage=1125235&SecMode=1&DocId=2154&Usage=2

UNDP Primers in Gender and Democratic Governance, Electoral Financing to Advance Women’s Political Participation: A Guide for UNDP Support
http://www.undp.org.ir/gender/electoral%20financing-EN-EBOOK.pdf

UNDP Empowering women for stronger political parties. A good practice guide to promote women’s political participation
http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/gender/gender%20and%20governance/EmpoweringWomenFor%20StrongerPoliticalParties.pdf

Portraying Politics Project - A toolkit on gender and television
http://www.portrayingpolitics.net/downloads/PP_EN.pdf