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European Commission - Press release

EU co-funded Roma stories project wins digital media award

Brussels, 24 August 2011 – A European Union co-funded project aimed at countering Roma stereotypes through film has won a prestigious award from the US-based Society of Professional Journalists. The 'Colorful but Colorblind' project brought together Roma and non-Roma journalists to produce a series of 25 short films telling the stories of Roma communities living in central and Eastern Europe. The aim was to encourage a more nuanced coverage of Roma issues and a greater participation of Roma journalists in mainstream media operations. The project equally sought to strengthen inter-cultural dialogue and journalists' mutual understanding of one another. The project was chosen for the Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in journalism in the digital media presentation (independent) category.

"I am proud to see an EU-funded project countering age-old prejudices against Roma receiving acknowledgement across the Atlantic. This proves that the European Union's unprecedented efforts and commitment to promote the social and economic integration of Roma are paying off," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "Roma people contribute to social and cultural life all over Europe and I am happy to see that their contribution is acknowledged by the 'Colorful but Colorblind' project."

Most Roma in Europe face persistent poverty, social exclusion and discrimination and in the wake of the financial and economic crisis their situation is getting even worse. These problems can be exacerbated by stereotypes about their communities, which can in turn be fed by less-than-balanced media reporting. The Colorful but Colorblind project aimed to help remedy anti-Roma stereotyping through the creative use of multimedia in reporting minority issues. It brought together 50 Roma and non-Roma journalists and trained them with the help of specialists in multimedia storytelling.

The project focused on Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia – all countries with significant Roma populations. It was co-funded – with EUR 303,040 – by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme.

Background

Europe's 10-12 million Roma face discrimination, exclusion and the denial of their rights, while governments lose out on increased revenue and productivity because potential talent could go to waste. Better economic and social integration is an imperative – but to be effective, concerted action is needed at all levels to address the multiple causes of exclusion.

Many of the areas for improving Roma integration – such as education, employment, health and housing – are primarily national or regional responsibilities. However, the EU has an important role to play in coordinating action by Member States. On 5 April 2011, the Commission proposed an EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies (IP11/400, MEMO/11/216). It focuses on four pillars: access to education, jobs, healthcare and housing. Member States have been asked to set individual national Roma integration goals that reflect each of their population sizes and the current status of their integration policies. The Framework will help guide national Roma policies and mobilise funds available at EU level to support integration efforts.

On 24 June 2011, European leaders endorsed the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies (IP/11/789). Member States will have to submit national Roma strategies by the end of 2011. They will have to specify how they will contribute to achieving the overall EU level goals for Roma integration. The Commission will then assess the national strategies and report back to the European Parliament and the Council in spring 2012. This exercise will be repeated on an annual basis, thus launching a regular review of progress made at national level within the EU framework.

For more information

European Commission – Roma:

http://ec.europa.eu/roma

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:

http://ec.europa.eu/reding

Contacts :

Matthew Newman (+32 2 296 24 06)

Mina Andreeva (+32 2 299 13 82)


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