Hotline launched to report racism in media

Camera focused on a studio audience
Camera focused on a studio Photos

A group of journalists and other media makers launched a hotline where Netherlands residents can report racism and discrimination in the media. They also published a manifesto on Monday, calling for more diversity and equality on Dutch television, radio and other media. By 11:40 a.m. on Monday, the manifesto was signed by over 340  media personalities and organizations.

The initiators pointed out that the media is an important power in society. “As journalists and media makers, we help shape society’s perspective. The programs, articles, films, podcasts, radio shows, and other productions we make influence the way our audience views themselves and others,” they wrote in their manifesto.

“The images and media reports are often stereotyped towards people of color and other marginalized groups.” And journalists, no matter how good their intentions, often show their biases in their work, according to the manifesto.

“The power that the media have must therefore go hand in hand with the responsibility to be critical of ourselves. It is time to recognize that we are upholding institutional racism and discrimination through the unilateral composition of our editorials, our reporting and choices. It is time to take action,” the initiators said.

They therefore teamed up with anti-discrimination foundation RADAR to establish a hotline, where Netherlands residents can report racism and discrimination in the media. Based on these reports, action can be taken against companies and persons guilty of racism or discrimination. The hotline is also meant to be a safe space where victims or whistleblowers can come forward.

In addition to the hotline, the media makers and journalists also want to tackle discrimination and racism in their workplaces. They want an investigation launched into these issues on their editorials and in their workplaces, and for the results to be translated into a concrete plan to tackle racism and discrimination.

They also called for an anti-racism and -discrimination protocol with which media companies and directors can be held accountable for the active tackling of racism and discrimination at the workplace and in productions. And they want more diversity among the top editors and in productions.

“We don’t want to remain part of the problem by staying silent any longer,” the initiators wrote. “We demand a safe and fair workplace without racism and discrimination. We want recognition for the objective reality that has a damaging effect on the lives of millions of Dutch people. Racism and discrimination are not ‘the other side of the story’, ‘an opinion’, or ‘a political standpoint’, but prohibited and punishable. It is not just the problem of bi-cultural makers, but of all of us. Change only comes if everyone takes responsibility.”