Media Seminar in Prague Pushed for "Living Reality of Diversity" in European Media

Today almost 100 representatives from the European media, policy makers, experts and activists campaigning for the elimination of discrimination in Europe, met in Prague and agreed a package of measures to encourage more diversity in the media across the member states of the European Union & EFTA. Their recommendations say they will "make a world of difference" to the role of media in helping to create fairness and justice in European society.

Since May 2008, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Internews Europe, and the Media Diversity Institute have worked on a detailed Study on Media and Diversity, with the support of the PROGRESS programme of the European Commission.  In the process, they have identified initiatives involving media that counter discrimination and promote diversity in 30 European countries.

"Europe is a glorious mix of culture and diversity," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ. "But we have to guard against discrimination in all its forms. The initiatives and recommendations identified in this programme show media how they can help make diversity a living reality for all citizens. The media need to understand that if they don't engage with diversity they have a built-in sales decline".

The Prague meeting marked the end of a long process of research, survey and analysis of more than 400 initiatives in European media. A team of experts has short-listed 30 significant and innovative initiatives, drafted a publication on media best practice with recommendations to media, civil society organisations and policymakers for further action.

In her key note speech, senior British columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown said that "diversity is not a soft thing; it's not like hot chocolate. It must not obscure some of the real struggles for the rights of individuals and communities."

Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE Representative of the Freedom of the Media, declared that "not only diversity has to be promoted, but also dynamism, which has always been the source of all progress with its clashes between different voices, lively debates and disputes".

The study publication including the recommendations will be finalised by end of March 2009.

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