Empowering Roma

9 December 2011, Brussels
ERIO organised a conference “Empowering Roma through Participation and the Media” on 9 December 2011 in Brussels.

Living primarily on the margins of society, Roma communities are subject to overt and covert discriminatory and racist discourses in the media whose reports continues to identify them as ‘outsiders within’ and as a threat to the fabric of the European society. The media tends to reinforce and reproduce existing stereotypes of the Roma and constructs them as useful scapegoats in times of economic crisis. These representations greatly influence individual attitudes and strengthen anti-Roma sentiments. The role of the media as a tool for anti-Roma sentiment should be inverted and used to fight racism and anti-Gypsyism. This can be achieved with an ethical and critical journalism which aims to raise awareness and provide a greater understanding regarding Roma issues and bring to the fore the crucial factors that prevent the integration of these communities. Active participation of the Roma is also crucial to fight discrimination and prejudices towards this minority.

The conference addressed the dual role of the media as an instrument to fight discrimination and change attitudes as well as an instigator to anti-Gypsyism. In addition, ERIO shareed its media activities and resulting outcomes. Finally, the conference provided a platform for discussion of the importance of Roma participation.
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