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News & Events
European Elections: How To Combat Hate Speech & Disinformation? PDF Print

16 May 2019

Country: Europe

by: Anna Lekas Miller

FakeNewsEarlier this week, news broke that twenty “fake news” Facebook pages had been removed for spreading Italian far right propaganda, ahead of the European Union parliamentary elections next week.

“There is more proof that lies designed to sow hate are being deliberately spread on social media ahead of the EU elections,” said Christoph Schott, the campaign director of Avaaz, the US-based non-profit that flagged several of the websites.

One of the Italian pages showed a video of migrants bashing a police car—even though the video is actually a scene from a movie, that has been debunked a number of times. Another one quoted Italian journalist Roberto Saviano as claiming that he would rather save migrants than Italian earthquake victims—even though there is no proof that he ever said anything of the sort.

 
New Projects from Disability: A Matter of Perception PDF Print

15 May 2019

Country: Macedonia

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We are excited to share that our “Diversity: A Matter of Perception” project in Macedonia has begun implementing 16 new projects, funded by sub grants from the European Commission.

“By targeting one of the most vulnerable groups in the society, people with disabilities, the project builds relations between journalists and media through most of the implemented activities,” the Macedonian Institute for Media wrote in a statement.

“By joining the journalists and representatives from people with disabilities, CSOs to work together, to hear each other and discuss common issues, the project enabled the problems, the interests and the challenges of the people with disabilities come in the journalists’ focus."

One of the projects is a children’s book, where some of the characters are children with disabilities. Another is a creative campaign which trains hiking guides in how to make their hikes accessible to blind people.

Macedonia has ratified Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, however trough one of the sub-granted projects we have made it accessible to key target groups by making it available in Braille and audio version.

Some of the projects relied on arts to challenge common perceptions of disability, including graffiti art, music and theatre. The performance of Cinderella which builds the story on relation between people with and without disability, has been prepared and performed already, including in front of the British prince Edward, but more performances are to come to make this unique inclusive play accessible to more people across Macedonia.

“We want to support media campaigns that increase the visibility of people with disabilities, and change societal perceptions,” said Ivana Jelaca, MDI Western Balkans coordinator.

“Language matters,” she continues. “We encourage journalists to say that someone has a disability, rather than ‘suffers’ a disability—we want to show that disability can be a normal identity, that doesn’t have to prevent anyone from living a normal life.”

Over the past year and a half, “Disability: A Matter of Perception”—co-ordinated by MDI alongside the Macedonian Institute for Media and the National Council of People with Disability Organizations of Macedonia has flipped the concept of disability on its head by running media trainings that challenge journalists in how they cover disabled communities.

Each of the trainings has brought journalists, CSOs and disability activists together to come up with creative story ideas and campaigns that challenge perceptions of disability.

“Before, many journalists only reported on sensationalist stories about disability, after these trainings, they’re focusing on a more positive approach,” said Vlado Krstovski, who runs the National Council of People with Disability Organizations of Macedonia.

“I hope it will have a lasting effect.”


 
#ChristchurchCall: What About Mainstream Media? PDF Print

15 May 2019

Country: UK

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After the Christchurch massacre, social media companies came under fire for allowing the terrorist’s livestream to spread across their platforms. However, in the UK, mainstream online publications like The Daily Mail and The Sun also played footage from the terrorist’s livestream on their front pages, reaching millions of viewers.

Why is no one holding these publications accountable for spreading violent content online?

Media Diversity Institute and Hacked Off are calling upon IPSO, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, and body responsible for regulating each of the above publications to re-evaluate its role in amplifying the spread of far right hatred online. Earlier this week, we started a conversation with policymakers and other stakeholders to discuss how this could be done  without compromising freedom of expression. We pointed out that if the primary role of the media is to keep the authorities accountable, then they themselves need to be accountable, which is not the case with the media outlets listed here.

 
#SilenceHate: Countering Hate Speech Against Migrants PDF Print

11 May 2019

Region: Europe

Screen_Shot_2019-05-10_at_3.22.29_PMWe are excited to share that our #SilenceHate participants are starting to publish their articles after several months of hard work.

Our #SilenceHate project kicked off more than one year ago in London, with a five day “Media Camp,” training thirteen participants in the intricacies of how hate speech is used to target migrants, and what journalists can do to counter it.

“Hate speech against migrants is really connected to the rise of the far right narrative,” said Dasha Illic, the project coordinator. Illic ran the training in her capacity at Media Diversity Institute (MDI), while the project was lead by COSPE and run alongside European Federation for Journalists (EFJ), Amnesty Poland, Amnesty Italy, Karpos, Affiria, and the Cyprus Community Media Centre.

 

 
We Talk About Newsroom Diversity. What About Audience? PDF Print

10 May 2019

Country: US, Global

by Boer Deng

Screen_Shot_2019-05-10_at_11.29.21_AMAs a young graduate hoping to break into journalism, I started my career at a left-leaning, well-meaning media company that published articles about spotting under represented cultures  and pushed a message of inclusion in the newsroom. However, when a scathing magazine piece accused them of not practicing the progressive credo that it preached, the response did not quite match the editorial line.

To refute the claim, an internal email was sent amongst the editors, naming each minority who worked there. By an unfortunate accident, one of them inadvertently circulated it to the entire newsroom. Awkward private apologies ensued.

 
Fake News: Who Should Determine Truth from Falsehood? PDF Print

10 May 2019

Country: Singapore, Global

by: Grant Williams

Screen_Shot_2019-05-10_at_9.53.51_AMFake news is a “serious problem”—or so says Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong.

It is so serious that he has just passed a law that gives government ministers the power to order major social media platforms to flag posts that they deem “fake” or misleading. In other words, the government—not the social media companies or independent auditors—will determine what is true, and what is not.

What could possibly go wrong?

Singapore is not the only country that has proposed the government is the arbiter of social media. Last year, Malaysia passed a similar law, which imprisoned the first perpetrator within a month of its passing. Egyptian President Abdel Fateh el-Sisi gave “fake news” a whole new meaning by equating it with treason, subsequently arresting journalists and social media users for articles and posts that criticized the Egyptian state—or, in Sisi’s terminology, fake news.

 
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