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News & Events
What Can Google Searches Tell Us About Cultural Appropriation? PDF Print

29 August 2019

Country: Global

by: Anna Lekas Miller

CulturalAppropriationIt is starting to feel like there is always a cultural appropriation scandal in the news. Just this week, Kim Kardashian was pressured to change the name of her most recent clothing line, whose original name contained the word “kimono” and a group of Jewish actors called out a production of Falsettos for not including a single Jewish cast or creative team member.

However, now that conversation might be taken one step further—Mexico is proposing a law that could take cultural appropriators to court for plagiarism.

By definition, cultural appropriation is borrowing elements of a culture that is not one’s own. The act of appropriation—whether it is in its original definition as property, or something less tangible like culture—has a negative connotation; it implies taking something without permission.

Many of the most outrageous examples of cultural appropriation unmistakably resemble cultural theft, but others are murkier. Disciplines like music, fashion and the arts have long-existed in a space of cultural exchange, influence and inspiration. Could this narrative on cultural appropriation—especially if accompanied with new legislation—curb creativity?

LGBTQ+ Creators Are Suing YouTube for Discrimination. Here is Why It Matters for Diversity in the Media PDF Print

21 August 2019

Country: Global

by: Anna Lekas Miller

27694615857_486b0fc743_bHow do you know you’re in love?

“You’re willing to try whatever diet is the new trend,” says Chrissy Chambers, one part of Bria and Chrissy, the YouTube dynamic duo, and lesbian couple that publish YouTube videos about everything from healthy relationships, comedy sketches, and LGBTQ+ rights.

Next, the video cuts to Chrissy counting her rock collection. You know you’re in love when you support each and every one of your partner’s crazy hobbies, Bria chimes in, as Chrissy balances rocks on their cat.

However, Chrissy and Bria found that shortly after uploading the video, YouTube had unlisted it due to “inappropriate” content. Chrissy suspects it is because it is tagged “LGBT”—a trend that has pushed Bria, Chrissy and six other LGBTQ+ YouTubers to file a lawsuit against YouTube, alleging discrimination.


How Do Media Representations Help and Hurt Women in India? PDF Print

15 August 2019

Country: India

by: Mikhail Yakovlev

Delhi_protests-India_Raped_says_one_young_womans_signDuring the last week of July, a lorry rammed into a car in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Tragically, two of the car’s five passengers died. Among the survivors was a 19-year old woman who had accused Kuldeep Sengar, an official from India’s ruling BJP Party, of raping her in 2017. Was Sengar behind this crash?

Ever since the allegations against him became public, the woman’s family has been "living in fear.” Her father died under mysterious circumstances in police custody. Legal proceedings into the allegations floundered for two years until India’s “Supreme Court took up the case suo moto” after the crash. Her case illustrates a deep-set structural problem – most rape victims in India face significant barriers to justice due to prejudice. Does media representation play a role?

A Tale of Misinformation: Deforestation of the Amazon in Five Tweets PDF Print

15 August 2019

Country: Brazil

by Andréa Doyle

Cultural tip:  To learn a bit more about Amazonia I strongly suggest you listen to a list called Amazonia Groove on Spotify while reading this piece.

Mouths_of_amazon_geocover_1990As a “Round Earth” believer, I take climate change very seriously.

One would think that hard statistics announcing an 88 percent increase in Amazon deforestation since June 2018 would make others take climate change seriously, as well. But in Brazil, it seems to be an occasion for Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing cabinet to crack down on hard science, in an exercise of pure nationalism. After the statistics were released, his government accused Ricardo Galvão, Director of the Space Research National Institute (INPE), the institution which gathered, analyzed and published the statistics, of being “unpatriotic” and spreading false information. When Galvão challenged the accusation, he was immediately fired.

These kinds of flagrant denials and misinterpretations are disasterous for diversity. Many indigenous tribe leaders native to the Amazon see Bolsonaro's policies as "genocidal," threatening the rainforest that they have called home for centuries. An increase in illegal gold mining has already lead to the death of a Waiapi indigenous leader, and occupation of the village. Bolsonaro, and the government-affiliated media outlets' disregard for indigenous lives is commonly seen as part of an ongoing crackdwon on these communities, many of whom have voiced that governmental policies have not impacted them this badly since the military dictatorship.

As the devastating impacts of destructive environmental policies become more and more difficult to deny, exercises in ignoring, contorting and completely rewriting the facts are becoming more common. Intrigued by this national exercise in creating, recreating and rewriting “the truth”, I set about looking at how the conversation is unfolding on social media, who is tweeting, who is commenting, what they are commenting and who has the most influence.

We Are Cracking Down On Discrimination in the Press. So Why Are Trans People Still ‘Fair Game’? PDF Print

12 August 2019

Country: UK

by: Mikhail Yakovlev

Screen_Shot_2019-08-09_at_10.59.48_AMWhen Garry Jones became editor-in-chief at the Daily and Sunday Express, he quickly called out these tabloids’ reputation for Islamophobic, anti-migrant headlines. He vowed that under his direction the papers would not be lumped along the likes of the notorious Daily Mail and Sun, and quickly went about rectifying the problem in the newsroom. His work paid off. Earlier this year, the Muslim Council of Britain acknowledged that the paper’s coverage of these communities had improved drastically, although problems remain.

Unfortunately, Johnson’s care to compassionately cover Muslims and migrants has not translated to other minority communities. Specifically, transgender individuals.

You need no more than a casual Google search to see a series of Daily Express articles that refer to transgender as an “ideology” or a “kind of lunacy.” What makes matters worse, the Daily Express gives a platform to Ann Widdecombe, a notoriously transphobic former MP, Government Minister and current MEP who voted against every single LGBT equality measure during her twenty-three years in Parliament. Do you see any similarities with the Times’s love of transphobic and racist Rod Liddle, or the Daily Telegraph’s generosity to Boris Johnson’s Islamophobia and sexism?

New Project, Countering Cyberbulllying Around the World PDF Print

12 August 2019

Country: Global

Screen_Shot_2019-08-09_at_10.44.15_AMThe Media Diversity Institute Global (MDI Global) is excited to announce FACE, a new project which aims to counter cyberbullying amongst young people.

The project, whose acronym stands for Fighting Against Cyberbullying & Exclusion will develop guidelines, materials, networks and multidisciplinary artistic approaches equip parents, youth workers and students to address the issue in their communities.

We developed FACE in response to the rise of cyberbullying and its extreme negative impacts. Earlier this year, the UK’s communications regulator OFCOM found that one in four children experienced a form of online abuse in 2018. Furthermore, they found that 80% of children surveyed said they were involved in a “potentially harmful online experience.”

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