Media4Diversity

Prague, Czech Republic,  EU seminar on diversity in the media. That’s where Farhan Cheema and I spent 3 days in February representing Radio Salaam Shalom.  We were talking about how the European media covers the diversity story – the story of our differences due to gender, racial and ethnic origin, religion and belief, disability, age and sexual orientation. Is the full range of diversity reflected positively and fairly in the media? If not, what are the barriers to full inclusion and fair representation and what recommendations should be made for further action?

The seminar brought together representatives of 30 media or civil society organisations with leading media professionals, academics, anti-discrimination NGOs and policy makers working in the field of diversity and media. Radio Salaam Shalom was one of the 30. We were selected out of 150 initiatives by researchers carrying out a large-scale study. One of the purposes of the seminar was to publicly acknowledge our achievements and to share experiences. Some of the other exciting initiatives that we learned about were:

Quick Response Media Monitoring group (Sweden) – monitors the Swedish media for racism and stereotyping against migrants and ethnic minorities and writes reviews for journalists.

Radiojojo European Children’s Radio (Germany) – radio station whose programming is entirely made by children and for children.

Mira Media Helpdesk (The Netherlands) – activities to improve links between the media and the immigrant population such as advice service to young journalists, network meetings, and intercultural media education.

Campaign Against Homophobia “Don’t Stay Away. React Against Discrimination” (Poland) – deals with all levels of discrimination against a wide range of social and ethnic groups, producing a website, an online Game of Life and a conference on teaching children about discrimination.

Another purpose of the seminar was to discuss recommendations about what all of us, the media, civil society organisations, and policy makers can do. The points raised in the presentations and workshops stimulated much lively discussion in the workshops as well as in the breaks and at meal times. There was a rich diversity of views and outlooks. Language was not a barrier as there was simultaneous translation.

At the end of March, the researchers will write a publication giving the results of the study and the recommendations from the seminar. More information is available from www.media4diversity.eu

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