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News & Events
Bias (Fatigue) in Britain: Where did the Media Go Wrong? PDF Print

2 January 2019

Country: UK

By: Safiya Ahmed

RacialBiasIt is difficult to find a subject that elicits more of an inward and outward grown like that of racial bias. One of the main factors causing this fatigue is the redundancy of the media narrative. A Times article pointing out that Britain has become more racist after Brexit varies little from a Guardian article four years earlier that reports that racism is on the rise in Britain.

That brings us to the most recent version of this article, the Guardian’s “exclusive” Bias in Britain investigation. While it is exciting to see the Guardian give a significant platform to an important topic, the actual investigation does little to differentiate itself from previous coverage there is much to criticize in both the methodology of the study and the litany of articles that emerged from its “revelation” of evidence of everyday racial bias in Britain.

The Conundrum of Women’s Awards: Do They Really Achieve Inclusivity? PDF Print

2 January 2019

Country: US, Worldwide

By: Emilyn Kowaleski

TheatreIn spring of 2014, I was glancing through the Tony nominations to be met by a sea of predominantly white men’s faces. I wasn’t shocked. I was angry.

As a female director and theater-maker, even a white one, it felt like a slap in the face. Enraged, I took the headshots of the fifteen men (14 of them white), and one white woman that comprised the nominees for best book, best play, best director of a play, and best director musical (categories most relevant to my disciplines) that year, cobbled them together into an art project and posted them to my Facebook with the caption “Let’s talk about this.”

While I can’t say that this particular project sparked a whole lot of conversations beyond “f*****ck,” I do think that the industry is talking about it. I’m witnessing an uptick, especially Off-Broadway, in shows written, directed and designed by women, people of color, and to a much smaller degree, trans and non-binary folks.


Google in Russian: What Does An Algorithm Say About Bias? PDF Print

2 January 2019

Country: Russia

By: Mikhail Yakovlev

GoogleRussianTwo years after Donald Trump was elected President, the Kremlin’s “online hand” appears to have meddled in everything from his election to the 2016 attempted coup in Montenegro. Having first appeared during the 2015 Ukrainian crisis, Russian bots have become an important part of Kremlin’s efforts to increase its ‘soft power’ internationally. Inspired by The Guardian’s journalist Carole Cadwalladr’s 2016 exposé on the power of Google Search to insidiously spread hate and misinformation, MDI decided to replicate her Internet search-engine experiment, only this time in Russian.

First, we repeated Cadawalladr’s English-language queries. During her experiment Google had yielded a number of problematic suggestions. For example, when she started typing the question “are women” into its search bar, Google’s first prediction was “are women evil.” Similarly, Google’s fourth prediction for a question starting “are Jews…” was “are Jews evil.”

Media Literacy in the Age of News Overabundance PDF Print

Date: 18 December 2018

Country: Macedonia

Screen_Shot_2018-12-28_at_4.34.50_PMIn Macedonia, only five percent of media literacy teaching processes encourage criticism of the media—a serious problem in a country known for its notorious role in the “fake news” industry leading up to the 2016 elections in the United States.

For this reason, Media Diversity Institute (MDI) partnered with the School of Journalism and Public Relations and national newspaper Nova Makedonija to respond to this research, and create “Media Literacy in the Age of News Overabundance,” a three-year program designed to encourage media literacy among high school students through a student-run monthly newspaper publication called “Medium” and a series of media labs, where students met once a month to explore questions ranging from, “How do we know when journalists are trying to manipulate us?” to “what can we do if someone illegally publishes our photo or video without our permission?”

You're Invited: MDI's 20th Anniversary Gala PDF Print

Date: 16 January 2019

Country: Belgium

Screen_Shot_2018-12-24_at_9.12.14_AMThe Media Diversity Institute cordially invites you to its 20th anniversary event titled, "Is it the media's fault? Reporting Religion: The Role of The Media in the Populist Era."

What are the challenges of reporting on religion in the current media landscape? How can journalists balance freedom of expression with media ethics in the context of rising extremism and political polarisation around the world? Our expert panellists will debate these questions, followed by responses from representatives of the European Commission and US State Department and a Q&A session with the audience. Full invite below.

While attendance is free, space is limited. Please register on our Eventbrite registration page if you are interested in attending.

International Migrants Day: Narratives On Migration PDF Print

18 December 2018

Countries: Worldwide

InternationalMigrantsDayToday, there are more than 258 people on the move around the world. While many move freely, taking jobs or pursuing other opportunities in foreign countries, others take dangerous journeys across seas or deserts, in search of a better life for themselves and their families.

Many are quick to point out the legal differences between a migrant and a refugee—the latter is fleeing persecution, and typically eligible for protection, while the former is moving for a better life or economic circumstances—the reality is far more complicated. In Honduras, many flee after they are displaced by multinational corporations, which use their land and exploit their labor. Legally they are migrants, but are they actually refugees? In the South Pacific, inhabitants of island nations like Fiji and Palau are already preparing to have to migrate due to climate change. However, according to current international legislation, they would be processed as migrants—not refugees.

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