From multicultural perspectives to intercultural dialogue: A workshop for combing media production methods in Ukraine

 

To produce innovatory, differentiated information on intercultural issues and problems of discrimination or minorities, to combine the multiple approaches adopted by the mainstream and ethnic & diversity media in Ukraine to the aforementioned subjects, and lastly, to help establish a network of mainstream and ethnic & diversity journalists geared to combating discrimination and promoting intercultural dialogue in Ukraine: these were the aims of a workshop held in Odessa from 18 to 21 May 2010, in partnership with the NGO Democracy through Culture.

 

This workshop, which was a joint activity under the Intercultural Cities programme and the Council of Europeís Speak out against Discrimination campaign, was attended by over 40 journalists from Crimea and Kyiv, from the east and west of the country, and also from Odessa itself. These various regions sent professionals working in the mainstream and ethnic & diversity media (from the Carpathians, Bulgarians, Tatars, Russian-speakers, etc) for a four-day interactive course. They were asked to work in pairs or in groups of three on a press, radio, TV or internet report on discrimination and intercultural issues in the Odessa Region, the Russian-speaking part of the country, which is intrinsically multicultural and has a highly specific status in Ukraine. The inhabitants of Odessa consider themselves first and foremost as "Odessans" before being "Ukrainians".

 

The aims and content of the encounter Multicultural perspectives on intercultural dialogue: an initiative to combine media practices in Ukraine were based on the twofold finding that discrimination is still widespread in the region and that the actual or potential victims are still under-informed about their rights and the available remedies at the national and European level. In order to change this situation, the Speak out against Discrimination campaign is striving to forge special partnerships with the media and media professionals in order to foster the production and broadcasting of high-quality professional information. This information must also be provided at grass-roots level in order to reach the groups directly affected.

 

In connection with the Intercultural Cities programme, this methodology, which was originally tested in Seville (Spain, April 2009) and Bari (Italy, December 2009), should explore different modes of information production involving the local and national mainstream and ethnic & diversity media by using the many information and media consumer facilities which exist and/or are emerging today in Ukraine. More generally, such activities must include involving various Ukrainian media professionals in exchanges of experience and practice in the media in relation to intercultural questions and action against discrimination, who will produce media reports to be subsequently broadcast on their own specific media. These exchanges of experience and combined productions should help renew current modes of information conception and production, particularly at the local level, which should in turn cater better for the cultural diversity of Ukrainian urban environments while opening up and combining the approaches and perspectives from the multiple horizons of the many population groups and nationalities that coexist in Ukraine, of which the Odessa Region is a microcosm. This combination of practices and processes of opening up to the Other is now vital if the Ukrainians wish to develop and/or recover a sense of sharing, belonging and common destiny, enabling them to live their interculturalism to the full and turn it to the best possible account.

 

Reynald Blion

Official responsible for Media & Diversity, Speak out against Discrimination Campaign, Council of Europe