MDI Provides Inclusive Journalism Training in St Petersburg

Dates: 28-29 May 2013

Country: Russia

st peters smilesThe Media Diversity Institute provided the training curriculum and the trainer for a workshop on responsible journalism on 28 and 29 May 2013 in Saint Petersburg.

The two-day workshop, “Responsible Journalisms:  Setting the Standards for Reporting on Social Diversity,” was organised by the Norwegian Union of Journalists and the Russian Union of Journalists.

It was the tenth seminar in a series of similar workshops on reporting diversity held across the country over the last three years. By equipping all of them with its guidance and intelligence, Media Diversity Institute has proven its leading role in promoting inclusive and diverse media coverage around the world, including Russia.The participants at the conference were journalists and editors from the Leningrad region. They attended conferences and carried out interactive exercises on diversity in the media. Debates focused mainly on hate speech, particularly on the way journalists should balance freedom of expression with people’s right to be treated with equality and not to be discriminated.

The purpose of the workshops was to encourage journalists to see their societies as diverse, multicultural, pluralistic rather than homogeneous monocultures.

The level of xenophobia and racism in Russia is very high. Lack of education, poverty, unemployment and use of ethnic and racial scapegoats by local power-holders contribute in raising racial and ethnic tensions. Media reports tend to focus on sensational incidents, especially violence by migrants or ethnic minorities against ethnic Russians, in ways that reinforce readers’ preconceptions.

In a country where there is little responsible debate about issues facing migrants and ethnic minorities, MDI provided an opportunity for a better understanding of the role of journalists in solving problems of division and misunderstanding among different groups and cultures.

During the workshop, trainers and participants explored the core principles on ethical journalism: tolerance and anti-discrimination, impartiality and objectivity, codes of conduct, self-censorship, transparency, independence, eliminating prejudice, xenophobia.

Attendants had the chance to develop their professional skills to better represent diversity in society through fair, well-researched and sympathetic coverage, as well as to develop ideas for features that reflect the diversity of life experience throughout the region.