As we celebrate the achievements of women this week, and on the eve of International Women’s Day 2024, we also confront a serious issue: “Technology-facilitated Gender-Based Violence (TFGBV)”

Members of the Women in Media Fiji, with the support of our parent body, the Fijian Media Association, gathered in Lami, in a hybrid event, to reflect on the transformative power of technology and the challenges it brings with a panel discussion titled, “Empowering Women in the Digital Era – Combating Technology-Facilitated Gender-Based Violence.”

The event heard from femLINKpacific Executive Director Fay Volatabu, Acting Online Safety Commission Chairperson Tajewashri Devi, Dept of Women’s Reijieli Mawa, and seasoned journalist from PNG, Belinda Kora.

Volatabu shared real-life survivor stories. In April, FemLINKpacific will unveil their TFGBV research, focusing on Fiji and the Power Up project countries. She also elaborated on the kind of work her organization and others in the NGO space do to support and raise awareness about the issue at the grassroots.

Devi highlighted the digital space’s role in fostering inclusion and safety. She defined TFGBV and discussed cybersecurity measures, as well as legal frameworks and the gaps therein in efforts to address gender-based violence perpetrated via the internet/online.

Kora, representing Media Organisation/WiM and PNG Media, shared experiences of women in media facing online harassment, and ethical reporting practices, and discussed media literacy programmes.

Mawa, from the Department of Women, discussed government initiatives combating online gender-based violence. She also shared about the National Action Plan scheduled to be implemented gradually, starting this year, and how the media has been identified as a critical vehicle in addressing TFGBV.

More than 100 people turned up for the event, and we had the privilege of hosting the Deputy High Commissioner of Australia, Clare McNamara, and Sandra Kraushaar, The Asia Foundation Regional Representative Pacific Islands. Our Power Up project lead, James Sinclair, and journalists from all major media houses in Fiji and other guests were also in attendance.

Fiji TV’s show ‘Na Ketekete nei Nau’ was at the venue and aired live from the venue, a first for WiMFiji, to talk about our topic today with some of our members in the iTaukei dialect.

Our members came away enthused to Educate, Advocate, and Empower – from an insightful and inspiring discussion held at the Harbour Point Convention Centre today.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to our supporters—the Australian High Commission Australia in Fiji and The Asia Foundation The Asia Foundation—for making this event possible. We are grateful to the panellists for an insightful discussion on this “shadow” that blights the positives and good that come with these advancements in the digital landscape. We are also grateful to our Power Up project partners PINA PACNEWS for facilitating the participation of our colleagues from the region and other parts of Fiji including the North.

Together, we advocate for change and create a safer digital world.