Survey says media discriminates in coverage of Roma minority

Newspapers blame ethnic group for trouble, says report
Milan, 07/05/2013 - Media reports show only the negative side of Roma and Sinti in Italy, according to a survey of newspaper articles released Tuesday. The survey by Naga, which often focuses on health care services for foreigners, found that "discriminatory statements" were made in 37.2% of articles studied. Another 32.3% of articles differentiated between "us" - meaning Italians - and "them," referring to Roma and Sinti, said Naga, a non-profit organization working for better treatment of foreigners in Italy. For 10 months, beginning last June, Naga followed numerous newspapers, including local and national journals including Il Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, La Stampa, Il Sole 24 Ore, Il Giornale, Libero, La Padania, and La Prealpina. The survey suggested that some newspaper reports on negative events made reference to Roma people even when they were not directly involved in the story. Naga called on the Italian media to improve its work. The press "can be not only a tool of exclusion, but also of knowledge and approach," said Naga president Cinzia Colombo.
A 2012 report on racism and intolerance by the Council of Europe said that the situation in Italy has worsened over the last five years. ECRI, the human rights body of the Council of Europe that monitors problems of racism and xenophobia, criticised a climate of "intolerance, especially regarding Roma, immigrants and Muslims" in a report examining the situation in Italy from 2006 to 2011. Inflammatory media and "security measures" adopted by Italian authorities came under fire in the report for allegedly creating a climate that refuses integration and acceptance of immigrants and foreigners. Roma, sometimes referred to as Gypsies, are considered Europe's most discriminated minority.