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Training on “Roma” issues: journalists learned about incompatibility between objectivity and stereotypes
History of Roma in eyewitnesses’ memoirs. Photo by Human Rights Information Center.
History of Roma in eyewitnesses’ memoirs.

It is really hard to tell and write about Roma. At the same time it is interesting and very important. Participants of training "Peculiarities of coverage of “Roma” issues in the media" were convinced of it. Training for journalists took place on October 17-18 in Odessa.

The first discovery of the seminar appeared the fact how many Ukrainian journalists are interested in the Roma theme. 25 members of different media gathered in Odessa - radio, television, printing and online editions - from 10 cities of Ukraine. Among participants there were both those who had experience of creation of “Roma” materials and those who only start showing interest in Roma communities.

Except knowledge of Roma history and culture, journalists were interested in the follows issues: how is it correct to start conversation with Roma? How to avoid offending Roma? Is there a leader in Roma communities? Are there Roma stereotypes concerning NOT Roma? What is the difference between Roma and Sinti?

The trainer, journalist Olga Vesnianka helped participants reveal these and many other issues.

Within two days members of Roma communities were guests of training that added real-life communication and new knowledge to it. Director of Romani Radio Chiriklo Fedor Kondur told the audience about Roma history and enriched their vocabularies with Romani words.

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Fedor Kondur told about Roma history and helped journalists learn a lot of Romani words. Photo by Human Rights Information Center.

Lawyer of Community Law Center at Odessa Roma Human Rights Center  Roman Romanov attended the event on the second day. Journalists asked him about Roma customs and traditions and the most acute legal problems Roma face.

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Roman Romanov, Lawyer of Community Law at Odessa Roma human rights. Photo by Human Rights Information Center.

Executive director of the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine, trainer Anna Lenchovska told about the facts and stereotypes relating to Roma in Ukraine. When working in groups it helped participants resolve difficult questions, for example, concerning Roma education. She also gave valuable psychological advice that will help with in further activity.

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Anna Lenchovska, director of the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine. Photo by Human Rights Information Center.

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Work in groups. Question of the day: does the state have to force Roma to attend school? Photo by Human Rights Information Center.

Theoretical knowledge and practical tasks were combined with video records: testimonies from Ukrainian Roma on genocide and discrimination; social videos about stereotypes that took deep roots in our society; stories of successful Roma, heroes of the known film "Roma Dream" - the joint project of Information Resource Centre "Legal Space" and Docudays UA.

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Fear, pain, neglect, suspicion - subconscious feelings that pursue Roma through suffering and genocide endured by these people. Photo by Human Rights Information Center.

Sharing experience and addresses of resources that will help journalists find information about Roma became an important point of the seminar. In particular, the editor of Legal Space web portal Olena Orlovska presented the "Empowerment of Roma Communities"heading. It is one of the most powerful Ukrainian Internet resources where with the support of Roma Program Initiative of International Renaissance Foundation information about life of Roma communities and protection of the rights of this ethnic minority is collected, systematized and published. Journalists will also be able to find requisites of Roma NGOs on the website and through watching permanent updating of the heading to learn news about life of Roma of Ukraine.

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Editor of "Legal Space" Olena Orlovska presented the "Empowerment of Roma Communities" heading as a powerful information platform that contains materials on Roma issues. Photo by Human Rights Information Center.

At the end of the event Chairman of Human Rights Information Center Tatiana Pechonchik told journalists about information campaign of the Coalition for Combating Discrimination in Ukraine. Discussion of the question how to combat discrimination not only against Roma, but also in society in general was the logical completion of training.

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Participants made this common photo specially for Yevgenia Navrotska – journalist, historian, one of the best Romologists, author of several unique scientific and methodical tutorials on Romistics, teacher of Romani studies at Uzhgorod National University. In the center of the photo is journalist Olga Vesnianka with the book on history of Romani people by Yevgenia Navrotska. Photo by Human Rights Information Center.

It is curios that as a result of training many journalists recognized: to learn to write objectively on Roma issues it is necessary to break first of all own stereotypes about Roma.

Organizers of the event are Human Rights Information Center in partnership with the No Borders project of the Social Action Center under the auspice of the Coalition for Combating Discrimination in Ukraine with the support of the European Union and Human Rights and Justice Program Initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation.

The opinion of the International Renaissance Foundation cannot coincide with the point of view of authors of publication.


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