The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, in cooperation with the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, organized an online training on 13 October 2021 for journalists on the topic of gender-sensitive reporting and affirmative presentation of vulnerable groups.
The goal of the training was for journalists to acquire knowledge on terms regarding discrimination, to recognize discriminatory and stereotypical journalist practices through examples of positive and negative practices in reporting on vulnerable groups in media in Serbia, and be empowered in their future work to present members of vulnerable groups in an affirmative manner.
The representative of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Antigona Andonov noted the role of this institution in protecting equality, but also underlined the importance of manuals intended for media and journalists that can be a starting point for changing current negative practices in this field. “The media do not always understand what discrimination is, precisely, but likewise that it need not always be the result of clear intent, but often also fear, ignorance, etc.”, said Andonov and explained that the institution of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality acts based on complaints, through a procedure that lasts for 90 days, followed by the adoption of an opinion and recommendations regarding discrimination.
The training facilitator Danica Balaban presented the results of multiple studies focused on the presentation of Roma in media in Western Balkans countries, and individual examples of positive and negative practices in the construction of minority identities. A special part of the training was dedicated to media practices regarding reporting on groups vulnerable on multiple grounds, such as girls victims of violence. Furthermore, part of the training focused on laws and codes related to media in Serbia, presenting in particular the normative framework for reporting on vulnerable groups.
The training was attended by 15 journalists from national and local media from Serbia, and the training is envisaged by the Action Plan for chapter 23, of particular importance for the process of accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union.