The journalistic articles concerning vulnerable groups, such as persons with disabilities, LGBT people, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, older persons and women, most of the times are not placed on the front pages of newspapers or at the beginning of TV and radio newscasts, shows the first monitoring of media outlets from the angles of diversification and inclusion that was carried out by the Association of Independent Press (API), IPN reports.
The monitoring covered ten media organizations. Natalia Porubin, a member of the Press Council and author of the study, said that most of the editorial offices chose to take news items from another media outlet or to produce news based on radio and TV programs and original articles were seldom found.
“Most of the media institutions monitored chose to publish news about the concerned vulnerable groups rather than to write thematic articles, investigative articles and features. In the case of the monitored newspapers, most of the articles were published in the social section and few of them could be found on the front page. The TV and radio stations broadcast mostly features and news. In most of the cases, these were placed in the social section and were presented at the end of news bulletins, before the sport section,” stated Natalia Porubin.
In some of the news items, especially in online publications, the authors revealed details about the identity of persons or provided shocking details that do not bring valued added to the news articles. “The used terminology sometimes does not respect the journalistic deontology. There are terms that the press should not use, such as “invalid” or “retarded”. Sometimes the terms are uttered not by journalists, but by those who are interviewed. But this is not yet an excuse and the journalists should be attentive and should use the correct terminology,” stated Natalia Porubin. She recommended the press to identify original subjects and not to hunt for sensational titles as social subjects can improve the rating only if they are treated correctly.
API director Petru Macovei noted the political statements prevail in newscasts even if the politicians do not say something relevant. “There are many uneducated politicians who speak indecently and when they say some extravagant things, they appeared in titles of news items. The journalists’ mission is to educate and form opinions,” he stated.
Viorica Țîcu, dean of the ULIM Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences, said the journalists should develop correct skills while at the university. “These social groups should be regarded as a component part of society and should not be treated with pity and compassion. I know the university curriculum and see that such moments were overlooked. We must cultivate full inclusion,” stated Viorica Țîcu.
As a result of the monitoring, the authors formulated recommendations for the journalists who chose to write about vulnerable categories. “We recommend the journalists to follow the comments on the published news items and to moderate them. We should try and cover all the groups living in the Republic of Moldova. The press should wider treat the problems and successes of those from vulnerable groups. We should not speak about singular cases, but in a broader context. We urge the mass media to protect the identity of persons who are subject to violence and other vulnerable categories and to give up treating the subjects as sensations. Another recommendation is to ask for the opinion of members of the vulnerable groups when articles about them are written and attention should be devoted to the used terms,” stated Natalia Porubin.
The first monitoring of media outlets from the angles of diversification and inclusion was conducted by the API. In September and October 2022, it covered Ziarul de Gardă, SP Bălți, Agora.md, NewsMaker.md, Știri.md, Canal 3, Moldova 1, NTV, Pro TV and Radio Moldova. In 2023 and 2024, the API will carry out similar monitoring activities.
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