Guidebook in handling sexual harassment for media houses: the trailblazer

Pham Ngoc Tien, Head of Gender Equality Department under Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Society says that he would use the book to discuss with Ministry of Justice in building the law. Photo: Hoa Ta

In a further development from Fojo Media Institute’s survey conducted at the end of 2017 revealed 27% of female journalists had experienced sexual harassment in Vietnam. The Online Archive and Press Assistance Center (OAPAC), Fojo’s local partner in Hanoi, proposed to translate WAN-IFRA’s Sexual Harassment in the Media – A practical guide for employers & employees, into Vietnamese aiming to provide a source of reference for Vietnamese media houses in dealing with the issue. 

The book launch on 29th November 2019 in Hanoi was widely welcome by the media as Vietnamese National Assembly has just approved the new provision in Labour Law with a definition of sexual harassment and punishments against these behaviours.

“This is what we should have had long time before. Better late than never. The material is the trailblazer to systemise the issue with detailed instructions for all relevant parties, and protect our journalists, especially female journalists”, said Dang Thi Phuong Thao, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Thanh Nien Newspaper.

Just a few weeks ago, the Vietnamese National Assembly passed the law with a new article defining ‘sexual harassment’. Detailed regulations and punishments will be submitted in the coming months. Pham Ngoc Tien, Head of Gender Equality Department under Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Society said that he would use the book to discuss with Ministry of Justice for the draft.

Dang Thi Phuong Thao, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Thanh Nien Newspaper, says she will discuss with managing board and HR department of the newspaper to train all staff and build an internal code of conducts base on the guide book. Photo by Hoa Ta

“I read through lunchtime without a break when I received it. It’s a great material and so helpful to our job. It will be brought into our coming discussions with ministry of Justice to legalise the system regarding to the issue,” said Tien.

Speaking at the launch, managing editor of Dai Doan Ket Newspaper, Nguyen Tien Dung shared that the guide was like the guiding star to guide people in reviewing their own manners.

“I have been so confident considering myself a decent man toward woman. As I went through the manual I realized some of the jokes we had at work should also be reconsidered. Vietnam is moving toward emerging to a global environment, there are some old habits in our culture has been rooted into people’s mind unconsciously. Having a handbook like this will be very important to help adjusting our behaviours toward our female colleagues,” he said.

Following the launch, OAPAC will conduct two trainings in Hanoi and HCMC in December 2019. The trainings aim to provide further assistance in understanding the issue for journalists, and help media houses in Vietnam building an internal code of conducts mainstreaming sexual harassment into their workplaces.

Report by Hoa Ta
Edited by Nai Nai

A journalist attending the launch event goes through the content of the guidebook. Photo by Hoa Ta