The Journalists took part in Mass Media to Fight Discrimination training

There Are Deeply Rooted Stereotypes Associated with Certain Groups and Phenomena among Journalists from Marzes

On August 28-31, New Generation Humanitarian NGO held training on Mass Media to Fight Discrimination for Mass Media Representatives in the city of Gyumri. The training was organized within the framework of  CSOs and Mass Media in the Front Line for Elimination of Discrimination against LGBTI+ people in Armenia project.

10 journalists from Yerevan and other marzes with the help of experienced trainers studied Human Rights, International and Local Legislation and Conventions; Freedom of Speech and Hate Speech; Stigma and Discrimination; Torture; topics that are more than relevant today as anybody any time can fall a victim to discriminatory attitude or their rights can be violated due to the unawareness of the journalist.

As trainer Haykuhi Harutyunyan, the president of Protection of Rights without Borders NGO mentioned, the journalists play a key role in the prevention of discrimination and hate speech within their professional activities and at the same time they themselves can become disseminators of such discrimination and hate speech if they do not have enough knowledge and capacity to estimate the phenomena and events,

“Mass media representatives of RA marzes participating in the training were expected to be more open to the acceptance of demands for tolerance and to the exclusion of dissemination of discrimination. Actually, it turned out during the training that there are deeply rooted stereotypes associated with certain groups and phenomena among journalists from marzes. They do not hold back from making their personal emotional judgements during their journalistic professional activity too and show discriminatory attitude and manifestations of hate speech. It is necessary to make such trainings and retraining of journalists repetitive both at instate and international levels.”

The training not only provided full theoretical information but it also included practical activities and during the team work mass media representatives were able to express correct and impartial attitude in accordance with the situation.

Journalist Ofelia Simonyan mentioned that at the training she was taken aback by the opinions expressed by the journalists participating in a training on the protection of the rights of homosexual people,

“I thought that people, who had expressed readiness to participate in such training, let alone people of such fundamental profession such as journalism, would have overcome the barriers and would have developed tolerant attitude towards people and phenomena different from them. Unfortunately I was wrong. Even long-experienced journalists have an issue of reconsidering their ideas on human rights. In this context, New Generation Humanitarian NGO has a lot of work to do. One cannot change people’s convictions with one or two trainings, there is a need for long-term activities which the organization is successfully implementing.”

Trainer Hasmik Harutyunyan, legal expert at Protection of Rights without Borders NGO, mentioned that the participants of the training would hardly be able to change their viewpoints or maybe even discriminatory attitude towards the rights of LGBT people in a few hours,

”I don’t think my 6-hour training could make a fundamental difference as it  is impossible to notice such a change in one day, in any case awareness raising trainings and retraining are very important especially for journalists.”

During the training, lively conversations, hot discussions continued even during the breaks and leisure hours, which is already indicative of the success and impact of the training.

At the end of the training the participants were awarded with certificates of participation.

Roza Vardanyan

The content, views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of New Generation Humanitarian Non-governmental Organization.