Silence Hate: Final Conference PDF Print

Event: 18 November 2019

Country: Brussels, Belgium

Screen_Shot_2019-12-09_at_10.41.00_AMThe Media Diversity Institute (MDI) and its partners marked the end of the project Silence Hate by gathering at the final conference in Brussels on 18 November 2019.

After two years with five national workshops in schools, 30 young journalists and civil society activists have been trained and produced 14 journalistic pieces which are available online. The final event concluded that partners and participants should continue raising awareness about the issues surrounding online hate speech against migrants and refugees in a more systematic way.

During the panel moderated by MDI’s Dasha Ilic, one of the journalists involved in the project, Sotiris Sideris sharply pointed out the problem:

“Too often journalists talk about refugees, but they don’t listen to them and don’t give them a voice,” he said. Sideris and his Greek colleague Aristea Protonotariou were both trained at the beginning of the project at the Media Camp in London, and went on to produce a series of podcasts titled, “A voice to the voiceless” focusing on stories that are unseen, underreported or undocumented by the mainstream media.

One of the panelists at the conference in Brussels was the Al Jazeera European correspondent, Laurence Lee, who emphasised journalists’ responsibility when reporting politicians’ discourses. He said that hate speech was used for profit-making like a viable business model.

“Editors consider the stories interesting only if there are some elements of threats and jeopardies in it,” he said. However, Milan Zubíček from Google denied the fact that hate sells and can be used as a business model. Initiatives like Stop Funding Hate were showcased as successful practices encouraging advertisers to stop funding newspapers that produce hateful content targeting migrants and refugees.


On the wider scale, MDI Executive Director Milica Pesic called for greater stakeholder involvement in fighting hate against refugees and migrants. Tommaso Chiamparino, the European Commission’s coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred, confirmed the institution’s commitment to fighting hate speech. Chiamparino made an open call for collaboration with journalists to continue raising awareness of the impact of hate speech on media freedom and communities.

At the final conference, and throughout the project, many shared good practices with how to deal with hate speech, particularly from an educational point of view. At one point, MDI organised two master-classes at City University in London for journalism students, as well as a panel featuring journalists and media experts. MDI has also produced a module for journalism students, civil society activists and those who want to combat hate speech against migrants and refugees.

The Silence Hate project was led by COSPE and alongside with MDI, other partners were Amnesty International Italy, Amnesty International Poland, KARPOS, Zaffiria, IKME. Check out the resources here.

Final Conference - Disability: A Matter of Perception PDF Print

Event: 2 December 2019

Country: Macedonia

EKx-9AqWwAAtk85One day before the International Day of People with Disabilities, Media Diversity Institute (MDI) Western Balkans hosted the closing conference of our project, Disability: A Matter of Perception.

Disability: A Matter of Perception is a two year project in Macedonia, where we worked with Macedonian Institute for Media, National Council of People with Disability Organizations of Macedonia to train journalists and civil society organizations to revitalize the media as an essential space for marginalized groups. Over the course of two years, we organized trainings that resulted in numerous media articles and broadcasts, inspired interactive performances, and orchestrated campaigns that challenged stereotypes in Macedonia.

MDI at ARIJ 2019: Storytelling to Cure Social Divisions PDF Print

Event: November 22-24

Location: Jordan

Screen_Shot_2019-11-28_at_2.19.49_AMLast week, Media Diversity Institute gave a workshop titled, “Storytelling to Cure Social Divisions” to the ICFJ (International Center for Journalists) Fellows at the ARIJ (Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism) conference in Amman, Jordan.

“How does disinformation play out in your countries?”, asked Communications Manager Anna Lekas Miller, who lead the workshop. In recent months, both Iraq and Lebanon have experienced social uprisings which has lead to unprecedented levels of both disinformation, and disinformation debunking.

“Let’s talk about how this is playing out—and how it impacts diversity?

The discussion that ensued showed the diversity of the ICFJ MENA fellows present. In Yemen, the local media promoted rumors about Jewish minorities so much, that most of Yemen’s Jews fled to Israel, shared on participant. In Sudan, rumors about female journalists circulate on WhatsApp groups, making it almost impossible to get any accountability if something happens to them, shared another.

After the workshop, participants were equipped with the skills to recognize the ways in which disinformation preys on social divisions in their countries.

MDI LIVE: Reporting on Refugees and Hate Speech PDF Print

Date: 7 November 2019

Location: London, UK

Screen_Shot_2019-11-05_at_9.53.07_AM“I grew up under the war, I’m 29 years old and we’re talking about war.” These are the words of Kurdish journalist Zozan Yasar, shared at a live recording session of City, University of London’s The Knowhow Podcast. The event was part of a a special symposium held by ESRC Festival of Social Science which looked to tackle the topic of reporting refugees and hate speech and questions. Specifically: where are the refugees’ voices in the coverage?

Hosting the podcast were Dr Lindsey Blumell and Dr Glenda Cooper. Abdulwahab Tahhan was a guest alongside Zozan. Abdul is a refugee from Aleppo and a visiting lecturer at the London College of Communication. During the live recording, Zozan and Abdul discussed the importance of voice; specifically, the need for more regular and authentic refugee voices in the media. Abdul stressed the need to talk to locals when reporting on a refugee story: “When you get someone from the country, you get an authentic voice and the full picture.” He recounts a piece he wrote on Syria; he ended up talking to locals in the country via Facebook and Twitter, gaining a true local perspective on the issues at hand without having to go to Syria. He feels this is something that is often lacking in reporting, especially in the UK.

Berlin: New Neighbours Media Training for CSOs PDF Print

Dates: 10-12 October 2019

Location: Berlin, Germany

Screen_Shot_2019-10-21_at_9.29.32_PMMedia Diversity Institute (MDI) recently completed the fourth New Neighbors media training for CSOs in Berlin, Germany.

New Neighbours is a European Broadcasters Union-led project designed to bring positive stories of refugees, migrants and assimilation to local and community media. Media Diversity Institute is supporting the project by training civil society actors to create campaigns and more effectively communicate with journalists and media organizations to spread constructive stories about migrants and refugees.

Given Germany’s unique position as home to the highest number of refugees in the European Union, Berlin was the perfect location for such a training. Eight participants representing legal, cultural and economic development initiatives joined, each contributing their unique expertise working closely with migrants and refugees.

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