Flanders: Public broadcaster confirming cliches about minorities

Flanders: Public broadcaster confirming cliches about minorities

Minorities in Flanders think that public broadcaster VRT presents immigrants in an incorrect and biased manner, in fiction and non-fiction. This according to Hatim El Sghiar in his doctoral dissertation at the Center for Media Culture and Communications Technology at K.U.Leuven.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com

"Minorities don't recognize themselves in what appears on the VRT screen," says El Sghiar on the basis of deep-interviews with 102 Flemings of Moroccan and Turkish origin.

"To effectively do pluralism, you should first understand minorities on more levels than just the ethnic and religious ones. Minorities now rarely appear on VRT on, for example, an economic or political issue. They seem to only appear in incorrectly framed religious and ethnic issues, which confirms the cliches," says the researchers. More immigrants on the screen is in itself no guarantee for improvement, as the interviewees were particularly concerned about what was said.

Together with adviser Leen d'Haenens, El Sghiar wants VRT to commit in its next contract with the Flemish government to measurable commitments regarding minorities.

El Sghiar says that the public broadcaster should provide independent, quality information and offer all Flemings Flemish fiction with which they can identity. It would be a step forward if the contact with the government would apply to minorities, with the proper monitoring and evaluation of functional quality.

D'Haenens calls for monitoring the commitments by including minority representatives in viewer panels.

Source: HLN (Dutch)

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