uloga medija“Even when women who have survived violence perceive the media as being supportive, the media must still be even more sensitive and aware of their responsibility when reporting about violence against women and domestic violence”, Tanja Ignjatovic, from the Autonomous Women’s Center said on the “How Media Covers Domestic Violence” panel, organized at the UNS Press Center by the weekly magazine “Vreme”.

She emphasized that media plays a vital role in determining society’s attitude on violence, and that they are currently sending out a message that there is no violence if there is no brutality involved. Also, media frequently misdiagnoses the cause of violence, they blame the women and misdirect responsibility from the violent perpetrator. The media don’t cover the topic of violence enough, don’t instruct on how it can be recognized and what options women have when they begin the process of leaving a violent relationship, Tanja noted.

Tamara Skrozza and Gordana Novakovic from the Press Council discussed complaint cases that reached this body’s Commission, and that were centered on the issue of violence against women. They noted that a disproportionately small number of such cases reaches the Commission compared to how frequently the Journalists’ Code of Ethics is violated. In relation to violence against women, journalists most frequently violated the Code’s provisions pertaining to the victim’s identity and the identities of their family members, and the presumption of innocence; they also made too many presumptions and interpreted data incorrectly. Jovana Gligorijevic, from “Vreme”, and Miljana Neskovic, from “Nedeljnik”, talked about the constant sensationalist approach employed by media, even when the coverage is a part of campaigns that aim to combat violence against women.

Panelists agreed that media have a responsibility to be guided by public interest in their reporting, and to not re-traumatize and additionally victimize women who have survived violence with their reporting, and that they must be aware of this even in cases when women are the ones who seek them out to share their stories.

The panel was organized as part of the “Vreme against Violence” (Time against Violence), organized by the weekly “Vreme”.