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31 / 01 / 01

Uni research finds news bias against women

SCOTLAND's mass media is sexist and ignores women's views on political issues, according to Stirlong University researchers.

Hundreds of volunteers in 70 countries were involved in a scheme called Who Makes the News?, published by the World Association for Christian Communication.
And staff from Stirling University's Media Research Institute scrutinised the Scottish media.
The university's Dr David Miller said: "The Scottish media overall seemed to feature more women than its counterparts in the rest of the UK.
"However, the media have a long way to go towards representing the reality of women's lives and participation in society.
"Women make up more than half the population and are 37 per cent of our elected MSPs yet the Scottish media seem reluctant to solicit their views on political stories.
"The message here is that journalists need to rethink their approach to covering politics and feature women's voices as a matter of routine." In 1995 71 countries took part in the first global media monitoring project, which revealed that women made up 43 per cent of news presenters and reporters but were only 17 per cent of news subjects.
The 2000 study discovered that women account for 41 per cent of presenters and reporters of the world's news but only 18 per cent of news topics.
In the UK, where women have 37 per cent of news making roles, two-thirds of these appeared in stories on crime and more than half were portrayed as victims.
Women made up 17 per cent of politicians portrayed in the Scottish media, indicating a slight rise against the UK average.
But this remains much lower than the representation of women in the Scottish Parliament, which stands at 37 per cent.
Exposed WACC director Teresita Hermano said: "Who Makes the News? exposes a serious lack of diversity in the news and a media industry which has failed to address its own discriminatory practices.
"How many times have we heard the excuse that the media are just a reflection of what is happening in reality - yet how many times do we really see our views and lives reflected? "WACC hopes that the results of this important project, which has helped democratise and demystify research and demonstrated the strength of the international women's movement, will be used by educators and campaigners to challenge media producers and journalists on their idea of what news is."

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