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Taking the Pulse of Diversity in the MediaTaking the Pulse of Diversity in the Media

More on the Study


The powerful influence of the media on our societies is well known - it shapes our views and our behaviour.  The truth unfortunately is not what counts but, instead, it is what we are told that counts.  This was emphasised by a Eurobarometer survey on attitudes of Europeans towards discrimination, published by the European Commission in January 2007, which showed that, in terms of influence on society, the media rank in third position after parents and education.

In order to help deal with the challenge of diversity in our societies and counter discrimination in the media, the European Commission have commissioned this study. Its objective is to assist in the process of promoting diversity and fighting discrimination in the media on a pan-European level.

The Study will look for best practice in this area by identifying the most significant and/or innovative initiatives taken by or about the media to combat discrimination and/or to promote diversity. The initiatives will then be classified, their outcome and impact assessed, and any gaps identified.  Finally, based on this research, recommendations will be submitted to the European Commission for further action to be taken to help promote diversity and combat discrimination in the media.  A seminar will be held in Prague in January 2009 to debate and finalise the recommendations prior to publication and submission to the European Commission.

Groups facing discrimination covered by the Study

The focus of the Study is on groups that face discrimination on the grounds of:

And particularly the Gender Dimension help of any of the above types of discrimination.

‘National origin’: groups facing discrimination because of national origin would include, for example, Russian minorities in the Baltic States, the Hungarian minority in Romania, or the Romanian minority in Hungary.

‘Roma’ includes Rroma, Sinti, Ashkali, Gypsies and Travellers.

‘Religion or Belief’ excludes all sectarian beliefs and sects that are prohibited in EU Member States.

‘Disability’ covers all forms of physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairment.

‘Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity’ covers homosexual (lesbian or gay), bi-sexual and trans-gender people.

‘Gender Dimension’: this survey does not cover the media representation/participation of women in general, but only those women who are members of the groups covered by this survey (e.g. the multiple discrimination that a Roma woman might face).

What kind of best practice are we looking for?

We are looking for examples of good practice:

  • which successfully challenged discrimination and promoted diversity
  • in the broadcast, print, and online media, over the last five years.
  • in recruitment and in representation in factual subjects.

Countries covered by the Study

This is a pan-European Study covering the following 27 EU Member States & 3 EFTA countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

Who are we?

The study is being conducted, on behalf of the European Commission, by an independent consortium comprised of the International Federation of Journalists, Internews Europe and the Media Diversity Institute.

The four stages of the study

Stage 1: Identification of the most significant and/or innovative initiatives taken by or about the broadcast, print, and online media to combat discrimination and/or to promote diversity.

This mapping exercise will be carried out in the following way:

1. There will be a division of mapping between initiatives BY the media and initiatives/studies ABOUT the media that might involve CSO watchdog campaigns and multi-stakeholder initiatives (including the private foundation sector).

2. Mapping of initiatives BY the media:The Consortium and its team of experts have devised an online survey (accessed from this website) which will be sent to media organisations across Europe addressing two distinct areas:

a) Content in factual subjects: initiatives aimed at promoting fair and accurate representation of the groups facing discrimination covered by this Study in factual programming.

b) Recruitment: initiatives aimed at increasing representation of the groups covered by this Study within media organisations.

3. Mapping of initiatives ABOUT the media:The Consortium and its team of experts have devised an online survey (accessed from this website) which will be sent to civil society organisations (CSO) across Europe in order to collect information relating to initiatives and studies ABOUT the media and diversity, as well as key programmes undertaken by CSOs in this area.

4. Responses to the online survey on initiatives by and about the media will be followed up via email and telephone in order to gather more detailed information about initiatives of particular relevance either through their significant impact, innovative approach, transnational character, involvement of relevant groups, etc.

5. The information collected will be stored in an online database for future reference and knowledge-sharing. The database is designed to allow external contributions from media and CSO organisations.

Stage 2: Classification of the selected initiatives, assessment of their outcome and impact, and identification of existing gaps.

1. Selection of initiatives

Based on the research carried out during stage 1, the Consortium will select no less than 30 initiatives (10 from Radio/TV, 10 from print and 10 from the Internet), from the totality identified (expected to be over 50 in each media category), for detailed assessment of outcomes and identification of existing gaps. In selecting these initiatives the Consortium will use the following classification:

  • type of media
  • type/nature/content of the initiative
  • type of promoters/actors/partnerships involved
  • origin of the funding
  • country/countries involved
  • national/trans-national character
  • target audience
  • production of materials
  • existing recommendations for further action

In the selection process, particular attention will be paid to geographical representation.

2. Assessment of outcome and, where possible, impact.

In the first instance, further information will be collected from the selected initiatives about already existing evaluations of outcome and especially impact. It is expected that some initiatives will not have carried out sufficient evaluation to allow for an in depth assessment, in which case the Consortium will undertake its own evaluation of between 5 to 10 initiatives depending on available information.

3.  Identification of existing gaps.

Finally, the assessment will identify existing gaps which would need to be addressed to give these initiatives maximum visibility, as wide a geographical coverage as possible across Europe, national/trans-national impact, inter-connection between the discrimination grounds addressed, and networking possibilities.

Stage 3: Recommendations

Based on the results of Stage 1 and 2 the Consortium will prepare recommendations for further action. These recommendations will address different key areas:

  • Initiatives aimed at raising awareness among media professionals
  • Initiatives aimed at promoting fair, sensitive and accurate portrayal undertaken by media themselves
  • Initiatives dealing with recruitment within media organisations
  • Initiatives for further studies about impact of programmes undertaken by the media
  • Initiatives for further studies about media and diversity
  • Initiatives targeting the media, undertaken by groups outside the media
  • Initiatives targeting short-comings identified by the study

The recommendations will address further action to be taken both at EU and at national level. For each recommendation the key target group, main actors and expected outcome will be identified.

Through the expertise represented in the Study team, the recommendations will be prepared within the context of the European Union's work in this area and link back to existing initiatives outside the media field that have relevance to promoting diversity in media.

Stage 4: Follow up Seminar and Publication

A one day seminar will be organised, in Prague, January 2009, with key representatives from the European Commission, media and CSO organisations from across Europe.  The findings of the Study will be presented, and the recommendations debated and finalised.

As the final step of the Study, an illustrated publication will be prepared in English, French and German, with the study's findings and recommendations.  This publication will be submitted to the EC, and will be made available on request, and on the Study website, to any interested parties.

The Study website:

The Study website supports the work of the Study and will act as ongoing resource following the completion of the Study.  It fulfills the following roles:

  1. It provides a platform for people to access and complete the Study survey. 
  2. It provides background information on the Study.
  3. It will serve as a resource for the media and the diversity community - during and after the completion of the study - providing news on developments in this area, examples of good practice, links to media and civil society organisations who are working to counter discrimination, and a platform for the creation of networks and partnerships for future work.

Financing of the study

This study is financed by Progress, the European Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity (2007-2013). This programme was established to support the implementation of the objectives of the European Union in the employment and social affairs area, as set out in the Social Agenda, and thereby contribute to the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy goals in these fields. The seven-year Programme targets all stakeholders who can help shape the development of appropriate and effective employment and social legislation and policies, across the EU-27, EFTA and EU candidate and pre-candidate countries. The Programme has six general objectives. These are: (1) to improve the knowledge and understanding of the situation prevailing in the Member States (and in other participating countries) through analysis, evaluation and close monitoring of policies; (2) to support the development of statistical tools and methods and common indicators, where appropriate broken down by gender and age group, in the areas covered by the programme; (3) to support and monitor the implementation of Community law, where applicable, and policy objectives in the Member States, and assess their effectiveness and impact; (4) to promote networking, mutual learning, identification and dissemination of good practice and innovative approaches at EU level; (5) to enhance the awareness of the stakeholders and the general public about the EU policies and objectives pursued under each of the policy sections; (6) to boost the capacity of key EU networks to promote, support and further develop EU policies and objectives, where applicable.

What stage is the Study at?

We are currently in stage 1 of the Study.  The survey has been disseminated to media organisations and civil society organisations across Europe and we are waiting for responses.

What is YOUR interest in participating in the Study?

By taking part in the survey, your work may be chosen as a good example to publicise across Europe and thus, you might be invited to the high-level seminar in Prague in January 2009, where the best media practice to fight discrimination and/or promote diversity will be debated.

What do you need to do?

Please could we ask for 10-15 minutes of your time to contribute to this important Study. The Study survey can be accessed from the website homepage. If you have any queries about the Study please contact Farid Littleproud at the Media Diversity Institute ( / +44 (0) 20 7255 2473).