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News & Events
Twenty Years of MDI: What is the Media's Role in Reporting on Religion During the Populist Era? PDF Print

17 January 2019

Country: Belgium, Global

MDI20How does the press coverage of religion differ around the world? Has the media’s depiction of Muslims gotten better or worse over the last decade? Should journalists quote hate speech if the hate speech could incite a violent crime? These were just a few of the questions that were asked at our 20th anniversary panel discussion titled, “Is it the media’s fault? Reporting religion in the populist era."

Belgian journalist and long-time friend of Media Diversity Institute Jean-Paul Marthoz moderated the discussion between Auckland University of Technology’s Verica Ruper, Human Rights League Director Pierre Arnould Perrouty, French journalist and Rue89 co-founder Pierre Hasky and US-based reporter, and religion expert Kimberly Winston. Later, the European Commission’s David Friggieri responded to the panelists points, and added a few of his own.

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?”

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