4 Jan : Hindus have demanded immediate setting-up of an independent “media watchdog” by European Union to monitor the frequent media discrimination and bias against Roma people in Europe, who migrated from India many centuries back, and who reportedly face apartheid like conditions.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, alleged that instead of highlighting their plight, media of Europe often strengthened the deeply embedded prejudice and social exclusion against Roma by recycling the stereotypes, thus leading the public to believe that they were some kind of sub-humans.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that this proposed “media watchdog” should see that media acted responsibly and ethically on Roma issues. Did the fairness ideals taught in journalism schools only apply to non-Roma population in Europe, he asked.
Rajan Zed further says that it is like an undeclared apartheid in Europe where Roma reportedly continue to face institutional discrimination and severe maltreatment and everybody admits it and knows about it except the media. Media has apparently failed in their moral obligation to bring the continual sufferings of Roma to the desired limelight.
Zed argues that on the other hand, real Roma issues appear to be non-subjects for the European media and there is apparently excessive under reporting or selective reporting. Media often dehumanizes them, treating them as social outcasts undeserving the same treatment and respect as due to other Europeans, and is many times hostile.
Moreover, media being powerful and capable of creating stereotypes in the minds of some audiences, European media persons should be retrained to handle Roma related issues, which should be dealt with very carefully. European Union should support Roma media and staff of media outlets should at least reflect the percentage of European Roma population, Rajan Zed stresses.
Zed suggests that media instead needs to help and highlight the plight of Roma, who reportedly regularly face racism, substandard education, hostility, social exclusion, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, unusually high unemployment rates, etc.
Rajan Zed points out that European media should work to end the centuries of severe discrimination and abuse of Roma and attempt at achieving their social inclusion. It is simply immoral to let this around ten million population of Europe continually suffer and face human rights violations. Media should show more responsibility in handling complex Roma issues. Their alarming condition is a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world.
It is moral obligation of European media to take care of its frequently maltreated population of Roma people who unfortunately reportedly continue to suffer from brazen structural discrimination, Zed adds.