World Perspectives: Minority Voices
Media has the power to influence perceptions and to sway opinions. All the more it is important for media to be as fair and balanced as possible. However, media often is biased and reports in a one-sided way, sometimes without journalists even being aware of their own biases. Many times this is the case when it comes to reporting on minorities.
These issues were the reason for the development of the study session World Perspectives: Minority Voices (short: Minority Voices), held in Budapest from April 22-28 2013, bringing together 25 young journalists and activists from different countries and cultural backgrounds. During the six day training the participant worked on the topic of minorities in order to address possible problems and biases that can emerge and learned how to recognise biased information and how to avoid it in their own work.
The objective of Minority Voices was to raise the critical thinking skills of participants and to provide them with the tools necessary to assess information impartially, thoroughly, and above all, rationally. The study session was a common project by menac – the Middle East and North Africa committee of the European Youth Press, Concordia International and the Minority Rights Group Europe in cooperation with the Youth Department of the Council of Europe.
The programme of the study session consisted of three blocks The first block addressed the rules of logic, aiming to provide participants with the tools necessary to objectively analyse information they may come across and to identify and categorise possible biases in the media or in political discourse.
In the second block, the participants learned about minority and human rights, with the purpose of sensitise participants to the challenges and multiple forms of discrimination faced by minority communities and how these issues can be understood in terms of human rights violations. A second part of this block was an introduction to the Human Rights-based Approach to media. Participants increased their knowledge on the use of images when reporting about minority communities and elaborated their own code of conduct.
The third and last block consisted of practical media production. Participants were split up in three groups, each of them with a media facilitator to support them in their work. One group created the website iMinority.eu, another one used Storify and the third group produced media for the Orange magazine. Participants reported on topics such as the Roma communities, Afghan Refugees in Hungary and on the question what minorities are.
The diversity of the group, activists and journalists working together as well as different cultural backgrounds gave added value to the training and informal learning positively influenced the group dynamic. Minority Voices had different dimensions empowering and completing each other. This specific combination resulted in quality media outcomes as well as in a remarkable motivation of participants to further explore the topic and the presented methodologies. On different levels follow up activities of Minority Voices will take place. There will be a transfer and exploitation of the results in other environments and a focus on networking among other activities.