European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Section 5 - Trade Unions and Associations

Example 1 Belgium, Extrême-droite non merci! Pour que vive Bruxelles
Example 2 Liechtenstein, Aktion Miteinander
Example 3 “The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Mak Tin magazine
Example 4 Netherlands, Migrants & the Media and STOA
Other examples of interest:

Example 1 Belgium, Extrême-droite non merci! Pour que vive Bruxelles 

Aware of the role of the media in determining their image for the public, extreme-right parties try to manipulate the media which is often unprepared to handle extremist discourse. To help journalists cover efficiently this topic, The “Extreme Right, no thanks!” association has published in 1999 a brochure with recommendations on how to deal with extreme-right parties in the news.

Aimed at media professionals, this brochure presents in four parts the most effective ways to present and comment on extreme-right positions. It explains first why extreme-right parties should be considered in a different way to other parties. Then the authors of the brochure give recommendations for both quantitative and qualitative covering of extreme-right issues. The last part stresses the relevance of giving a voice to the potential victims of extreme-right political choices, namely the immigrants.

The brochure was part of a huge campaign against the Belgian extreme-right party “Vlaams Blok” undertaken at different levels. First, at political level through the “Commitment Act” (Engagement) against extreme-right parties signed by 320 associations. Second, through a working tool handbook to provide organisations with efficient material to counter extreme-right ideas. Third, a newspaper was distributed to individuals before the elections with the provocative test “You and the Vlaams Blok”, that would convince the reader in 10 questions not to vote for that political party. And finally, the association produced several brochures for the media, communication organisations and schools.

Thanks to the campaign, the Vlaams Blok did not obtain the majority of votes. The association plans to carry out a similar multi-target action for the next municipal elections.

For more information:

Extrême droite, non merci! Pour que vive Bruxelles
Denis Grégoire
C/o 82 rue du Vivier
B - 1050 Brussels
Tel : +32.2.640.52.62
Fax : +32.2.640.42.12





Example 2 Liechtenstein, Aktion Miteinander 

In 1997, a group of nationals and foreigners created the association Aktion Miteinander to promote rights for foreigners in access to naturalisation and multiple nationality. The association lobbied for a easier naturalisation after 15 years of residence in the country - against the 30 years according to the 1997 law proposal - for long-settled foreigners and after 5 years for stateless persons. The association also promoted multiple nationality for foreigners as well as for foreign spouses of Liechtenstein citizens in cases of naturalisation. Until now, only nationals have the right to hold multiple nationality and foreigners are asked to abandon their own nationality to obtain naturalisation. It is worth mentioning that foreigners in Liechtenstein represent 30% of the population, mainly coming from neighbouring countries.

To reach their goals, Aktion Miteinander worked with the two dailies of the country, Liechtensteiner Volksblatt and Liechtensteiner Vaterland, by regularly publishing stories portraying foreigners living in the country. For the year 1999 for example, more than 50 clippings were published in the press, an average of one article per week. This strategy gave much more visibility to local migrants and promoted the issue of living in a multicultural society. Aktion Miteinander also edited a brochure “23 x identity” in 1997, wherein various personalities reflect on (national) identity.

In August 1999, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of lower Liechtenstein, Aktion Miteinander contributed to the programme of festivities and produced “The Little Prince”, featuring Swiss actress Yvonne Sury, the professional musicians “Compagnia degli Scalzi” from southern Italy and a picture exhibition on the topic “Friendship, neighbourhood” produced by Liechtenstein pupils.

Aktion Miteinander was sponsored by Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein, for the period 1997-1999 and closed its office as planned in December 1999.

For more information:

Veronica Marxer
Malarsch 4
FL-9494 Schaan
Tel: +423.233.12.46


Example 3 “The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Mak Tin magazine 

The Union of Secondary Schools of Macedonia (USM) created in 1998 the first and only monthly magazine for young people in the country. The primary goals of this magazine are to enable better communication among young people, to promote the spirit of tolerance and to strengthen relationships between different nationalities, more specifically between Macedonians and Albanians, through common activities.

This successful magazine reaches 150,000 readers who welcome its unusual design and high-quality content. Mak Tin deals with teenage issues, including tolerance, xenophobia, racism and relations between different nationalities. The editors regularly receive letters from Albanians and Macedonians.

Founded in 1991, the USM represents all high schools in the country and works for the promotion of school democracy, tolerance and multicultural understanding. There are 93,000 secondary school students who actively participate in USM projects such as Mak Tin, “School democracy”, “Stop AIDS” or “Drugs, no thanks”. As a non-political organisation, its action is based on the principles of equality and co-operation, for progress in human rights and tolerance in the Balkans.

For more information:

USM
Str. Jablanica n.24 B
91000 Skopje
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
E-mail: maktin@maktin.com.mk


Example 4 Netherlands, Migrants & the Media and STOA 

There are two main organisations to defend and promote minorities in the Dutch media: “Migrants and the Media” (Migranten & Media Groep) and the “Foundation for minorities in the audio-visual media” (STOA).

The working group “Migrants and the Media” (M&M) was set up in 1984, as a division of the National Union of Journalists (NVJ) to encourage a better coverage of minorities and pressure for a high quality intake of ethnic minorities in the media. For this purpose, M&M negotiates long-term projects with media organisations to give full training to minority journalists and organises information campaigns for secondary school pupils from an ethnic minority background, to give a better insight into the options available through journalistic education.

Among a wide range of activities are the popular “Journalists’ café meetings” where journalists discuss hot social and political events concerning multicultural societies. Some fields deserve special attention, such as the “Journalists’ discussions about Islam” to enhance understanding about Muslims.

Alongside its research activities, the M&M also publishes many brochures, including the “Handbook for Journalists’ Unions in Europe to counter racism in the media”, “Balance or blunder” with recommendations to help improve journalists’ attitudes towards racism and an “Experts’ Guide” listing more than 200 experts with an ethnic minority background in the Netherlands, specialised in many other topics than simply minority issues.

STOA (Stichting Omroep Allochtonen), founded in 1986 by the major national immigrant organisations, aims at encouraging the participation of ethnic minorities in the mainstream audio-visual media. This pressure group developed innovative projects for multicultural pluralism in the media which led to the drafting of general policies recommending equal opportunities for minorities.

STOA works in close co-operation with Dutch public and commercial broadcasters and organises a joint venture with the National Media Training Centre. It organises courses for programme makers, consisting of intercultural personnel management workshops dealing with the portrayal of minorities. It also publishes a quarterly magazine for all Dutch broadcasters. STOA co-ordinates the “More Colour in the Media” network, involving several European organisations working to promote minorities in the media, to develop projects and exchange expertise in this field.

For more information:

Migranten en Media Groep – NVJ
Postbus 75997,
NL - 1070 AZ Amsterdam
Tel: +31.20.676.67.71
Fax: +31.20.662.49.01
E-mail: menm@nvj.nl


STOA
Postbus 1234
NL - 3500 BE Utrecht
Tel: +31.30.230.22.40
Fax: +31.30.230.29.75
E-mail: stoa@stoa.nl
Website: www.stoa.nl


Other examples of interest: 

· Belgium, AGJPB, Recommendations for information relating to minorities and a directory of sources of information listing experts from minority communities

· France, SNJ-CGT, Events: “Suburbs and immigration” and “The media, the police and minorities”

· Ireland, Irish NUJ section, Refugees and Asylum Seekers Network to assist immigrant journalists to establish new professional lives in Ireland

· United Kingdom, NUJ, NUJ guidelines on race reporting, the Black Members Council and the pamphlet “Link up” describing European examples of media working groups against racism and xenophobia