On 5 November every year, the Roma community celebrates the International Romani Language Day. As part of the Media for All programme, we are working with several media outlets that produce news about issues affecting the Roma community and also create content in the Roma language. An important tool of the programme, an online platform Engaged Citizens Reporting (ECR) tool that connects media outlets with their audiences, helps these outlets to develop stories that are of interest to the local community. Check our selected stories below and learn how using ECR tool helped media outlets to reach to a larger audience and to better engage with their readers and how creative and effective their media strategies:
International Romani Language Day
Informin.al is a web portal that was set up by a group of young Roma and Egyptian activists in the city of Elbasan. Their focus is mainly on the social and economic rights of the community. They have reported that they had doubled their audience figures and saw an increase in the number of female readers having used the ECR tool. However, because many people do not have access to online media, the team set up community events across six cities to gather the stories, opinions and experiences to help develop articles that would reflect the needs and interests of their audience.
The team published twenty articles and videos using the ECR tool. They were able to gather more diverse content, feature different voices talking about the same subject and gain more in-depth and detailed information about the issues concerning the Roma-Egyptian community.
For the International Romani Language Day, the portal created a video with professors of Romani language at the University of Elbasan.
One significant success was when the outlet highlighted that disabled members of the Roma and Egyptian community who cannot read or write are unable to obtain a car licence as the theory test is in written form. After the article was published, the outlet met with the Directorate of Road Transport and it was agreed that in future the test will be offered in audio rather than written form.
The team at Informin.al plan to carry on using the ECR tool in the future as it helped them to develop stories and gather information from different sources and people. They are working with mentors from Thomson Foundation and BIRN to create a series of podcasts to inform and encourage the Roma population in the country to register during the upcoming National Census in 2022.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Over 70 percent of Roma Portal Udar’s content is dedicated to minorities, mainly the Roma community. The portal connects with the Roma community by working with correspondents and activists who report on the problems they face. The portal also now produces podcasts which focus on minority and human rights issues.
The Portal has produced over thirty articles, the most notable being two audio and two video podcasts with three prominent Roma women and a TV journalist editing a programme on minorities. They have also produced the first in a series of ambitious multimedia stories about the opening of the European Roma Arts and Culture Center and the Roma education fund in Belgrade.
Through using the ECR tool, Portal Udar has developed closer links with the Roma community and regularly features stories and topics suggested by them.
Romtegra used its show called ‘React’ to advocate for solutions to help address the problems faced by the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Kosovo. The show is in a debate format.
The team were able to use information from the questionnaires that had been completed by citizens to question the guests in the studio. They also recorded interviews with citizens, political representatives and people from civil society organisations that represent the three communities.
Originally Romtegra broadcast its shows on the website of its partner outlet, Radio Romano Avazo as they did not have a website. As part of the Media for All programme they now have their own website (www.romtegra.com) but continue to share content with www.radioromanoavazo.com
To celebrate Romani language, Romtegra organised a week of programmes which includes famous Roma personalities, dances, songs and poetry in the Roma language and explored the history, use and values of the Roma language.
The MINA News Agency, based in Podgorica, significantly improved its connection with the Roma Community in Montenegro.
As a news agency, stories produced by MINA are picked up by other media outlets. By producing content for and about the Roma community, more stories were featured in the mainstream media.
The agency worked with non-governmental organisations and activists to identify key problems and topics to cover. They published articles and videos about access to education, healthcare and employment.
There was an added benefit to both the news agency and the portal Roma.net as they co-produced most of the videos. This meant the content was recognised in the Roma community in Montenegro. The team at MINA News were also able to share their professional knowledge and experience about production techniques with their younger colleagues at the portal.