There are inconsistencies between commitment to gender equality in national policies, and to gender equality in media policies and legislation, according to a report of Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI).
Widespread interest in general gender equality at national levels does not appear to filter into State media regulation to the same extent, added the report.
Fojo Media Institute of the Linnaeus University, Sweden, initiated the global study on Gender Equality and Media Regulation in collaboration with the Gothenburg University's Department of Journalism, Media & Communication (JMG) to understand how gender equality and women's freedom of expression are integrated in media regulation, self-regulation and within media inhouse policies.
MRDI conducted the Bangladesh part of the global study. It was titled "Gender Equality and Media Regulation Study Bangladesh" and was published in April this year.
According to the research findings, transnational policies with gender and media provisions tend to remain at the level of generalities, focusing commonly on gender-based discrimination, gender stereotypes, the role of stereotypes in socialization of children, and violence against women.
In the five in ten national media policies with provisions related to gender equality sampled, it is the right to non-discrimination on the basis of a list of identities, including sex or gender that is protected, making this the single most common issue at which State regulators draw the line on media freedom.
Only a fraction of media organisations have in place gender equality, equal opportunities or gender-diversity policies.
The global study considers the scope and obligations derived from the protection of gender equality and freedom of expression as human rights by international and regional systems. It assesses how such supranational principles inspire national legal systems regulating media.
An alternative method to promote gender equality in media would be to establish proper and efficient self or co-regulatory mechanisms, which can also be promoted through appropriate media policies and legislation.
It is important for civil society and academia to pay particular attention and increase research and advocacy regarding gender equality on social media platforms. It would also be necessary to promote and/or regulate increased transparency of platforms with regards to the impact of their content-moderation policies on gender-justice, reads the report.
The report suggest that where legal restrictions are not acceptable, alternative positive policy measures to address possible societal risks could be applied. These include: Establishment of reinforcement of codes of ethics for journalists, specifically covering gender treatment issues; promoting media pluralism and reinforcing the role and mission of public service media; training of journalists and media professionals on freedom of expression and the right to equality and nondiscrimination.