25 November 2011
Delegates at FRA event in Kaunas, Lithuania - photo by Vanessa Edwards.
Senior Practice Fellow Vanessa Edwards has just returned from Lithuania, where she took part in an event aimed at improving the way journalism influences and reports on human rights.
More than twenty journalists and journalism lecturers from around Europe gathered at Vytautas Magnus University in the city of Kaunas to look at diversity in journalism and consider ways to widen participation in broadcast media. Countries represented included the US, Italy, Bulgaria, Lithuania and the UK. Along with formal training sessions, the journalists got the chance to share experiences, compare human rights issues in their home countries and consider ways to improve the portrayal of minority groups in their work.
The training course was organised and funded by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, which is the official body advising EU countries on improving human rights and diversity issues.
The event concluded with a visit to "The Ninth Fort", which was the site of mass executions of Jews during the Nazi occupation of Lithuania. Vanessa says it was a moving and highly relevant end to the trip:
"It's easy to think that the kind of hatred and prejudice seen across Europe during the 1940s is in the past, but for many minority groups discrimination is still a serious issue. It was a real privilege to take part in an event which focussed on the good that journalism can do in transforming such people's lives."