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Media Against Hate

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Respect Words

RESPECT WORDS: guidelines on reporting about migrants and minorities

Published on 2017-10-15

With the motto, ‘Ethical Journalism against Hate Speech’, the RESPECT WORDS project addresses the need to rethink how the media represents migration and ethnic and religious minorities.

On 12 October 2017, the project presented their guidelines for reporting on migrants and minorities in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Generally, current negative practices in the media include sensationalism, a failure to include the voices of those affected, and a failure to critically address narratives about migrants and ethnic and religious minorities. The guidelines suggest some best practices for journalists reporting on these communities.

General recommendations include:

  • Choosing language carefully, and bearing in mind the ideologies and connotations behind words
  • Challenging stereotypes and generalisations
  • Acknowledging the complexity of stories, stressing the importance of context
  • Avoiding sensationalism and hate speech

The guidelines also suggest that reporters only provide sensitive information such as ethnic origin and religious belief when it is necessary for understanding the story.

Reporters should not include extremist perspectives for the sake of “objectivity”, but instead include voices of migrants and minorities.

According to the project, reporters have a responsibility to highlight positive contributions of migrants and minorities to society, and continually develop their knowledge, skills and awareness of migration and minority issues.

The RESPECT WORDS guidelines aim to ultimately encourage news coverage that challenges stereotypes and provides context when discussing migrants and minorities. It is hoped that this will play a role in combatting hate speech, and the negative experiences faced by migrants and minorities as a result of public opinion.

“Reporting on migration and minorities, approach and guidelines”: available here.


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