On 7 May 2020, JUSTROM3 Romania consultants, in collaboration with the Ecological University of Bucharest, delivered a webinar, an online course and debate, on the “Representation of the Roma community in the media/online during the state of emergency in Romania”.
The webinar targeted students from the Faculty of Communication Sciences as there is a need to raise awareness among future journalists and other media professionals regarding non-discrimination and its relation to the freedom of expression.
There were 33 participants overall, including Ms Janina Mihaila, Pro-Rector of the Ecological University, Ms Elena Banciu, Dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences and several professors within the faculty: Ms Daniela Caravan, Mr Flavius Pana and Ms Iulia Anghel.
The aim of the online event was to familiarise the students with the concepts of freedom of expression, media responsibility and non-discrimination through the lens of the current sanitary crisis, especially considering the anti-Roma mentions in the Romanian online sphere since the outbreak of COVID-19.
The course started with a brief introduction on the mandate and work of the Council of Europe, followed by a short presentation of the JUSTROM3 programme and the work in Romania.
Furthermore, topics such as freedom of expression, its limitations, as well as the duties and obligations pertaining to journalists in reporting certain news and events were covered through an analysis of the European Convention of Human Rights and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.
Similar national provisions were brought to attention through the study of a concrete example of news article, which was fined by the National Council for Combating Discrimination.
Following the speakers’ presentations, the students and the professors, started a debate on topics such as racism, political correctness and thoughts on appropriate policy responses. The conclusions of the meeting were that there is a need to continue this kind of meetings, to inform and also to raise awareness among future specialists in communication about discrimination phenomena in the public sphere.