The print media dedicates considerable space for gender discrimination and related issues, but are newspaper themselves free from such practices in their offices?

Lively debate

This formed the base for a lively debate among women editors at a panel discussion on “more women as editors-in-chief - more readers?’ here on Thursday. It was part of the 62nd World Newspaper Congress. Women editors from India, Sri Lanka, Russia and South Africa participated in the discussion, which was moderated by Pakistan-based South Asian Women in Media joint general secretary Mehmal Safraz.

Disqualified at the end

Senior journalist Bachi Karkaria from The Times of India lamented that women who effectively handled news and political bureaus, besides being successful resident editors, were being disqualified when it came to the last mile, the executive editor and editor-in-chief posts. “Owners are somehow uncomfortable with women editors,” she felt.

Maria Eismont, a columnist on civil society issues in Vedomosti of Russia, said women were well placed in some places while they struggled at some others. “We have to look for professionals whether male or female.”

Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror Editor-in-Chief Champika Liyanaarachchi said she was convinced the idea that there would be more readers for newspapers headed by women was not true. “In fact, there would be more readers if there are more photographs of women,” she pointed out.

Meanwhile, the 63rd World Newspaper Congress, the 17th World Editors Forum and the Info Services Expo 2010, will be held in Beirut, Lebanon, from June 7 to 10 next year. The meeting is being held for the first time in the Arab world. WAN-IFRA co-chief executive officer Timothy Balding said it was appropriate to hold the meeting in Beirut where independent press played a leading role for freedom and right to speak out, not only in Lebanon, but in the entire Arab world.

The 62nd edition of the newspaper Congress, which concluded here on Thursday, elected Ireland-based Independent News & Media PLC CEO Gavin O’ Reilly as the first president of WAN-IFRA. Mr. O’ Reilly, WAN president till the merger in July, oversees a leading international newspaper group with more than 200 titles in Ireland, the U.K., South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India.

Australia-based Styria Media chairman Horst Pirker was elected the vice-president. He is in line for the presidency when Mr. O’ Reilly’s term ends in December 2010.

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