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News & Events
“Sanctions Would Show the Non-Democratic Governments that the International Community Cares About Independent Media” MDI at the United Nations Ministerial Meeting on Media Freedom PDF Print

9 October 2019

Country: United States, Western Balkans

By: Mikhail Yakovlev

AmalClooneyRecently, MDI Executive Director Milica Pesic attended the Ministerial Meeting on Media Freedom. Hosted in the margins of the 2019 UN General Assembly, the meeting brought together government representatives and other press freedom stakeholders. The key question was: how can we promote and protect media freedom worldwide?

Hosted by Tariq Ahmad, UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth, the United Nations and South Asia, the Ministerial Meeting on Media Freedom kicked off by recounting the rising work-related dangers faced by journalists around the world, from Saudi Arabia to Hong Kong.

The statistics are truly frightening. According to Researchers without Borders, 348 journalists had been detained, 80 killed, 60 held hostage and 3 had gone missing in 2018 alone. And this figure is an understatement. Crimes against journalists often go unreported due to censorship and media restrictions.

 
Naga Munchetty is Back On Air, But Questions About Diversity Still Remain PDF Print

3 October 2019

Country: UK

By: Anna Lekas Miller

Screen_Shot_2019-10-03_at_9.54.49_AMMost of the world can agree that Donald Trump’s now infamous “go home” tweet directed at four Congresswomen of color (three of whom were born in the United States) was more than just a little bit racist. However, when BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty said that the tweet made her “furious” and shared a personal anecdote about being a woman of color, she was accused of breaching impartiality—an accusation that could have cost her her position.

After a few days, the complaint was overturned—and Munchetty is even resuming her post today. However, the incident reveals many deep-set problems in the British media—particularly their approach to “diversity.”

First, the abysmal diversity record: British media is 94 percent white—and almost always recruited from elite schools. While the BBC is considered to be one of the better of a group of media outlets that collectively resemble a diversity nightmare, many of the ways it approaches diversity remain problematic.

 
Blackout in Kashmir: How Competing Narratives Obscure Human Tragedy  PDF Print

1 October 2019

Country: India

By: Mehboob Jeelani

thumbnail_Screen_Shot_2019-09-30_at_17.37.43On the evening of August 4, my cousin called me from Kashmir after several months. She asked me about my health, my job and if I was visiting my parents in Kashmir. Before we said goodbye to each other, she said: "I just wanted to call because I don't know when we'll be able to talk again. Rumour has it that phones and internet services will be shut down soon.

The phone call left me perturbed. I have been living in Istanbul since 2016 and I have navigated the indignation of frequent Internet and phone outages imposed by the Indian government in Kashmir. But this time it felt different. And from my cousin's voice, I could sense the feeling of helplessness, something I had never felt before.

A day earlier, India had put its air force and the army on "high operational alert", supplying 15,000 men to strengthen its military force of 700,000 soldiers in Kashmir, a disputed region nestled between India and Pakistan in the Himalayan mountains. It sent emergency alerts to Hindu pilgrims, asking them to terminate their spiritual journey in the far-off Kashmiri mountains and return to their home states, citing a 'terror' threat to them.

Kashmir quickly turned into a rumour mill. The talk of war between India and Pakistan was heard in almost every corner store and barber shop. Some said India was planning to kill a popular separatist leader Yasin Malik, who's been under Indian detention since April this year. Others said India would abrogate Article 35A of its constitution, which gave exclusive property rights to Kashmiris in Kashmir and barred outsiders from purchasing land. The law safeguarded both the fragile environment as well as demography of the only majority Muslim state of majority Hindu India, a state that has also been the centre of dispute between India and Pakistan since the end of British Colonialism in 1947.

 

 
Serbian Pride: Media Is Still Failing to Educate Public on LGBTQ+ Rights PDF Print

30 September 2019

Country: Serbia

By: Ivana Jovanovic

Serbian_Pride_Parade_11It is no secret that the way the media reports an event like LGBTQ+ Pride inevitably impacts how citizens interpret it. Language that journalists use, context they provide and what they choose to focus on can make the difference between educating someone on LGBTQ+ rights, and further entrenching stereotypes.

In Serbia, it is a slow, but evolving process. Five years ago, the 2014 Pride Parade was mostly reported as a security issue—with a strong emphasis on how much policing the parade would cost, a detail that could give homophobes ammunition to be against the parade. However, five years later most of the reporting was about logistical issues—which streets would be closed, and which route participants should walk. It is clear that celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride is now a fact of life.

 
#VeloSinEtiquetas: Breaking Stereotypes Around the Hijab PDF Print

24 September 2019

Country: Spain

Screen_Shot_2019-09-24_at_5.27.39_PMEarlier this month, MDI’s “New Neighbours” partner Al Fanar Foundation for Arab Knowledge launched a campaign called, “Velos Enquietas" or "Veils Without Labels."

The campaign is meant to target journalists, and help them avoid problematic tropes and stereotypes when reporting on Islam—particularly when it comes to Muslim women, who wear the hijab.

“We wanted to look at the hijab because there are all of these stereotypes that women are either being controlled by their husband, or they are this exotic woman who has been liberated [from the veil],” explains Pedro Rojo.

 

 
OSCE Releases "Freedom of Religion or Belief and Security" Policy Guidance, Mentions Media PDF Print

24 September 2019

Country: Global

ReligionEarlier this month, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) released the Freedom of Religion or Belief and Security Policy Guidance, a handbook intended for policymakers to better craft policies that further religious freedoms.

Three sections touched on the media’s role in ensuring religious freedom and mitigating the impact of hate speech. While they are quite general in nature, it is a welcome addition to the policy guidance, and will hopefully guide conversations on how to improve coverage of religion-oriented stories in local and international newsrooms around the world.

 
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