12.06.2017 Print

Press briefingOne of the categories of professionals we are working with are journalists. It’s not a secret for anyone that the mass media directly influence the formation of public opinion towards refugee problems. Materials published, as a rule, in electronic mass media, which today gained mass popularity in connection with the development of social networks, discussion of news in commentaries, blogs, etc. provoke a wide response from readers and users.

In general, the problems of migration, refugees, tolerance and intercultural relations in the Belarusian society are gaining popularity among the mass media. However, this topic is rather difficult in terms of terminology and legal nuances and requires a certain level of training on the part of professionals. But still, it cannot do without any problems: when we conduct a weekly monitoring of mass media on this issue, we often encounter incorrect terminology (different categories of migrants are confused), in general, journalists do not separate asylum seekers and officially recognized refugees in mixed migration flows, which undoubtedly precludes the perception of the material by the general public and distorts the facts.

Fortunately, there are more positive examples than negative ones. The Belarusian media is specifically observing a policy aimed at free development and promotion of the diversity of cultures, the formation of tolerance and respect for traditions and cultures of other nationalities. For example, increasingly positive stories about foreign students in Belarus, their initiatives and joint activities with Belarusians are described and rich traditions of representatives of national minorities living in Belarus, too. Also very often in the media we can see examples of how Belarusians help migrants, especially citizens of Ukraine who came from the Donbas and decided to build a new life in our country.

Press briefingTo maintain this positive trend on the eve of World Refugee Day we held a press briefing for journalists from Grodno and Grodno region. The information event was held with journalists in the form of a presentation-conversation, where we showed a presentation on the problems of refugees in the Republic of Belarus, as well as migration and tolerance issues. The information meeting took place on May, 29 in Grodno. Journalists’ questions were directed primarily at the study of the situation and problems of refugees in Grodno and the Grodno region. It was evident that not only we were interested in this meeting, but also the journalists themselves became imbued with the problem.

=Thus, during the press briefing we tried to understand as far as possible the essence of these concepts, gave many examples of misuse of terminology in the media and provided accurate statistics on refugees in the Republic of Belarus, namely, Grodno and the Grodno region.

And there remains an important point that every professional who works with persons who are of concern to UNHCR should understand: it is worth remembering that behind each individual refugee there is a long history full of tragic events. And in order not to complicate the difficult fate of this category of persons, we should not chase the sensation, but firstly understand what consequences this or that «loud article» may entail.

It is necessary to express gratitude to journalists from the newspaper «Grodno Pravda», «Vecherny Grodno», the «Grodno Plus» TV channel, and BelTA in Grodno for their participation and interest in this issue. We express hope that this event will be a successful example in a row of similar press events in other regions of Belarus.

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