Guidelines for Local Media on (Non) Discrimination


PODGORICA, 27.09.2018. – In order to improve knowledge and professional reporting on vulnerable groups in Niksic, NGO Women’s Action published a Local Media Handbook on (non) discrimination, which focuses on reporting on women, Roma people, people with disabilities and LGBTI (Q) persons.

“The handbook was created precisely with the intent to strengthen the positive role of the media in Montenegrin society, by understanding the current moment and giving practical guidelines to media workers in the content handling of disadvantaged social groups. It brings together the challenges that these social groups encounter on a daily basis, which must be overcome by the synergy of all social actors, including the media”, it’s one of the preposition in  the publication, authored by Kristina Bojanović, Mirjana Vlahović Andrijašević and Marina Adžić.

The Handbook, according to the authors’ aspirations, should result, among other, opening a quality media space for the objective and affirmative presentation of women, Roma, disabled and LGBTI (Q) persons, freed from those social constructs based on stereotypes and prejudices.

Also, the result should be the use of a precise and (gender) correct language in media reporting, as well as strengthening social solidarity and creating an environment of respect for human rights and freedoms in which the rights of each person will be respected in the same way.

The preparation of the Handbook was preceded by an analysis of local media in Niksic on 11 July 2018, aimed at identifying the relationship of local media towards discriminated groups in Niksic society.

“The analysis of Montenegrin media shows that the media are still very little engaged in reporting on women in a true and quality way. Therefore, in the world of media, there is an unwritten rule that topics are divided into “men”, therefore, very important for men and for the rest of the population, and “women” that are usually concerned only with a woman and for a rare gender-sensitive man. Media should, as part of their socially responsible business, devote equally high quality to the promotion and participation of both women and men in political and public life, focusing on the expertise and results achieved by both”, is the one of the conclusions of the analysis.

It also showed that there was no content in the monitoring period in any media that treats the Roma population.

“Although efforts by the state and non-governmental organizations whose spheres of interest are Roma people, in recent years are making a lot of efforts to improve their status, primarily through facilitating access to educational, health and social programs and services, the fact is that Roma people live on the margins of poverty and are socially excluded. If we add to this the insufficient interest of the Montenegrin media to make this part of the community to come out of the shadows and allow its voice to be heard and echoed, then the problem definitely becomes bigger, more dangerous and noticeable”, authors said.

Another recommendation is that the media should avoid showing physical and mental disadvantages as the determining factors of persons with disabilities. On the other hand, they should, take care of their human rights when reporting. Treatment of persons with disabilities in the media as victims, protective,  should be avoided.

“Beside educational institutions, great responsibility lies with you as media workers to educate and inform the Montenegrin public about LGBTI (Q) in a professional, ethical, credible and objective way, and contribute to creating a climate of social tolerance of diversity and respect for human rights LGBTI (Q ) persons”, is one of the recommendations in the Handbook.

SMCG, Podgorica, 27/09/2018