Since 2016, I have been injecting knowledge about the harmful impact of hate crime into training workshops for Belarusian journalists and editors in contributions to ‘Tolerance Schools’—human rights training schools held in Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine. The Schools are organised by the civil society organisation Journalists for Tolerance (J4T).
To date, around 60 journalists and 20 editors have participated in the hate crime workshops. They are asked to critically evaluate examples of news media reports of hate crime given the understanding introduced about the harmful impact on victims and communities. Then, when asked to think about how they might advise rookie journalists, they work together on producing tips to sensitive media reporting of hate crime.
Participants have reported in evaluations of the workshops that they appreciated more than before the significance of sensitive reporting of incidents of hate crime. For instance, one editor stated in feedback that it really made her think about the words used in articles and the need to avoid what she called 'clickbait' headlines, and other sensationalized language, to avoid vicarious victimisation of readers.
The tips suggested by journalists and editors have been developed into a guide for ethical journalism that can be downloaded here in English and Belarusian. The aim is that when writing about hate crime, the guide might help journalists and editors to avoid adding to the harmful impact of hate crime by thoughtful reporting.
The guide was launched in Vilnius in December 2019 with news of the launch disseminated by the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
We now plan to extend this work to other European countries, continue to develop the guide, and translate it into more languages.
If you are interested in supporting this pro bono work please contact Paul Iganski at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2015 I contributed to two consultative symposia organised by RAA Sachsen in Berlin involving hate crime victim support workers from 14 EU countries plus Macedonia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.
RAA Sachsen recruited me to present research evidence on the harmful impact of hate crime and to contribute that evidence to a guide for Hate Crime Victim Support in Europe. I also served as copy-editor for the guide.
400 hard copies of the guide were distributed to crime victim support organisations across the OSCE region—with electronic copies published on the websites victim support agencies and the OSCE.
I joined the RAA Sachsen team in presenting the guide to a side-event, Support for Victims of Hate Crime in Europe – Standards and Tools, at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation meeting in Vienna in 2016: Support for Victims of Hate Crime in Europe – Standards and Tools
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