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IRIS 2010-10:1/5

Parliamentary Assembly

Potential Role for Media in Protection of Roma

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Tarlach McGonagle

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 22 June 2010, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted its Resolution 1740 (2010) and Recommendation 1924 (2010), both entitled, “The situation of Roma in Europe and relevant activities of the Council of Europe”. The texts were adopted in response to recent surges of discrimination and violence against the Roma throughout Europe. Indeed, “given the urgency of improving the situation of Roma in a wide range of areas”, the PACE has decided to revisit the topic “in more depth in due course” (Resolution 1740 (2010), para. 25).

Both texts examine a range of legal, political and other measures, as well as institutional arrangements, at the international and national levels, which share the aim of redressing the situation of the Roma. The Resolution is more expansive and more detailed than the Recommendation; it sets out priority issues and groups them along thematic lines. Its thematic focuses include education, housing, employment and health care.

It also contains provisions that are relevant for the media. For instance, the PACE urges Member States of the Council of Europe to, inter alia, “promote a positive image of diversity and address stereotypes and prejudices, including those linked to gender, using for instance the Dosta! campaign developed by the Council of Europe”. It also urges Member States to “react strongly to racist discourse by public officials; […] and tackle hate speech vis-à-vis Roma, whether occurring in the media, politics or in civil society” (Resolution, para. 15.8).

The Resolution states that “all action intended to improve the situation of Roma” should be based “at every stage of the process [,] on prior and genuine consultation and co-operation with the Roma themselves” (para. 15.9). Member States are also urged to “promote the use and development of Roma culture, language and lifestyle” (para. 15.11), which - although it is not explicitly stated in the text - could obviously be done via the media.

The Recommendation, for its part, does not contain any provisions focusing specifically on the media.

References
The situation of Roma in Europe and relevant activities of the Council of Europe, Resolution 1740 (2010), Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 22 June 2010 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=12738
 
The situation of Roma in Europe and relevant activities of the Council of Europe, Recommendation 1924 (2010), Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 22 June 2010 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=12739