MEDIA: 'Getting the facts right - Reporting ethnicity and religion'

 [9 May 2012] - The interest in the way media report on ethnic and religious issues has increased in the last decade. The examples of unethical reporting on immigration, globalisation, economic insecurity, and multiculturalism have raised the burning question of whether journalists have done more harm than good when covering events and issues that touch upon ethnicity and religion. The ground rules of factual, fair and balanced reporting have been evoked to highlight the growing concern over the media’s role in reproducing prejudices, stereotypes and hate speech in an increasingly diverse Europe.

The study Getting the facts right: reporting ethnicity and religion explores how the core values of journalism, inscribed in international and national codes of ethics, are applied in everyday journalism practice as related to coverage of ethnicity and religion.

The study is based on critical analysis of 199 news reports and interviews with 117 journalists and editors in nine European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

Newsmakers’ awareness of the danger of discrimination based on, ethnicity, religion, and national or social origins, as well as their responsibility to avoid stirring up tensions, stimulating confrontation and intolerance is discussed by addressing the following questions:

  • What professional norms guide editors and journalists when reporting on ethnicity and religion?
  • What newsgathering tools are most commonly used?
  • What are the institutional constraints in producing reports?
  • What could be done better?
  • What makes excellent coverage?
  • What type of journalistic work fuels intolerance instead of providing information that supports intercultural understanding?

Europe is changing and journalists’ engagement with that change has become one of the pressing issues of today. The implications of media representation of ethnicity and religion are significant because it fuels nationalism, spreading fear and tensions instead of promoting tolerance and compassion.


Further Information:



Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.