Related human rights
The right of self-expression, the right of the criticized person to provide a public response to the discontent, accusations, criticism, discrimination of sensitive social groups in the media.
The peer educator should prepare several news video reports, analyse and discuss them with the audience in terms of journalistic objectivity and impartiality.
The peer educator begins by saying that journalists, being professionals of their field, must follow strict rules of their work – reveal as many sides of a conflict as possible, refrain from demonstrating sympathy, dislike or support to any of the sides, or distorting the material collected in favour or to the detriment of any of the sides.
It is very important to ensure that journalists wouldn’t distort the reality, because, in cases of conflict, one side may be more right than the other. In other words, differently from the proverb, justice does not necessarily ‘stand somewhere in the middle’. However, journalists should not ignore any of the sides – he (she) must collect the opinions from as many sources as possible and, if there is no possibility to contact someone, if the sources refuse to talk, it is also necessary to indicate that in the news report.
Professional journalists usually keep to these principles. However, exceptions are always possible. In many cases journalists talk about the sensitive groups of the society, such as the refugees or ethnic minorities, but never interview them. Sometimes the ‘other side’ or a representative of a perceived representative of a sensitive group is interviewed just for the sake of doing it, but the questions are inadequate or they have no competence to talk on the subject. This is also a sign of lack of professional attitude – a good journalist will know how to use the resources and select them, presenting the different opinions and positions without degrading or emphasizing them.
Examples of case analysis, which could be demonstrated during the seminars (in Lithuanian media):
The Townspeople of Rukla are Discontent with Refugees Taking Too Much Time to Pick Their Goods at Shops
The Poles Feel Discriminated by the Educational System
After each of the news reports, the peer educator asks the following discussion questions:
1) What is the essence of the issue in question? How many conflict sides are there in each of the conflicts and how does the journalist present them? What impression may it create to the audience?
2) How many and what kind of sources were interviewed by the journalist?
3) Is this news report objective? Why? Were the sources appropriately chosen and sufficient to create the picture of the issue? What do you think about the headline used?
4) What sources were lacking? Give suggestions on how could they be reached.
5) What could be done differently in this news report?
Further suggestions, additional material
You can continue with an exercise, which helps to differentiate between a press release and a journalistic report.
Other ways of using the material by peer educators
You can also analyse texts or radio reports, not only TV reports.