Some reports reproducted ‘stereotypes and racist attitudes’
Ombudsman Kalliopi Spanou calls on the state broadcasting watchdog and main journalists’ union to issue guidelines to the press on the use of images and personal information of children and on how not to ‘encourage racism, xenophobia and intolerance’ in the reporting of certain events
The country’s media has been rapped by the ombudsman over its reporting on the case of Maria, the 4-year-old Roma girl taken by police in October from the family that were raising her and who she believed were her parents.
In a letter to the national broadcasting council ESR and the Athens press union Esiea, the ombudsman, Kalliopi Spanou, said many press reports contained “stereotypical characterisations and developed a syndrome of fear against population groups, leading to a vicious cycle of intolerance and inability to respect difference”.
She expressed her concern at the negative generalisations and the “extensive reproduction, by certain media, of stereotypes and racist attitudes” about the Roma.
Her letter, however, contained no examples of such media reports.
It added that the publication of images of the child, as well as details of her personal life, for the sake of generating audience figures, constituted violations of the child’s rights.
It called on the ESR and Esiea to issue guidelines to members on the use of images and personal information of children and on how not to “encourage racism, xenophobia and intolerance” in the reporting of certain events.
It also called on seminars to raise awareness among journalists on the ethics and proper handing of cases involving minors.
The ombudsman said his office would be able to bring its expertise in defending and promoting children’s rights to the seminars.
Reposted from Eleftherotypia newspaper