Media reporting on the LGBTIQ community mostly positive

After two-month monitoring of media reporting on LGBT community in Montenegro, Centre for Civic Education (CCE), ascertains the dominantly positive and neutral media reporting on the Pride Parade and related topics. CCE invites all media to report about the LGBTIQ community more profoundly and frequently, even beyond particular events regarding that community.

CCE has, from 21 August to 20 October 2019 within the framework the project ‘NO to Discrimination, YES to Diversity’, conducted a qualitative and quantitative monitoring of media reporting. More precisely, number of media announcements about the LGBTIQ community (by type of media and by media individually), number of announcements in relation to subjects talking about the topic, planning of announcements, number of announcements of different tone, number of announcements in relation to pre-specified topics, number of announcements with use of inadequate terminology or use of derogatory names, number of announcements by gender of interlocutor, ratio of information about the LGBTIQ community and other information contained within observed announcement (focus) and position of selected announcement (visibility) were observed. This research covered 15 media, of which were 3 televisions (RTCG, TV Vijesti and TV Prva), five daily newspapers (ND Vijesti, Dan, Pobjeda, Dnevne novine and Večernje novosti), seven portals (Vijesti, CdM, Analitika, Antena M, RTCG, IN4S and FOS media). The findings of the first monitoring phase, i.e. one month prior, on the day of the Parade and the day after the Pride Parade, were presented on the 23 September 2019.

During this two-month monitoring of media reporting about the LGBTIQ rights in the media, before, during and after Pride Parade, the total number of media announcements in the observed media was 357, of which the most was published on portals (64%), and least in the television content (9%).

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Observed by portals individually, portal Vijesti has had the most announcements (51), and also this portal has generated the most announcements in comparison to every other media, followed by Antena M (37), RTCG portal, Analitika and FOS Media (31 each), CDM (30), and IN4S (16), with the least number. In the printed media, Pobjeda and ND Vijesti have placed the most announcements (25 announcements each), subsequently Dan (24), Dnevne novine (18) and least of all Večernje novosti (6). In TV content, the LGBTIQ community has appeared in 12 announcements on both TV RTCG and TV Vijesti, while TV Prva reported the least on this subject (8 announcements).

The most announcements were placed the day before Pride Parade (20 September 2019 – 31 announcements) and on the day of Pride parade itself (21 September 2019 – 33 announcements). Significant publicity has also had the attack on a transgender person in Kolašin (31 August 2019 – 17 announcements), as well as presentation of Association SPECTRA’s research on transgender and gender variant pupils in Montenegrin secondary schools (11 October 2019 – 11 announcements).

In the observed period, media and other subjects have had a predominately neutral approach while placing information in regards to LGBTIQ community members. Of the total number of announcements, 54% has had a neutral approach, followed by 38% affirmative and 7% negative approach in regards to the LGBTIQ community.

On Vijesti and Antena M portals, most announcements have had a positive, and on portal IN42, negative tone. In general, IN4S portal has had the highest percent of negative in relation to total number of announcements (75%), highest percent of positive on public service RTCG (58,33%), and neutral announcements in ND Vijesti (68%). Negative publicity has not been identified in television content.

Members of the LGBTIQ community were mostly mentioned by non-governmental organisations that are dealing with these issues (131 announcements), followed by individualls (79% announcements), as well as state authorities and institutions (55 reports). Self-initiated media coverage of the LGBTIQ community was spotted in 19 announcements i.e. only 5% from the total number of announcements, of which most appeared on portal Vijesti (8) and in daily newspaper Vijesti (5).

Individualls and certain political parties’ members spoke in a negative context about this subject, while neutral mentioning has prevailed with state authorities and local self-governments. In unplanned mentioning of LGBTIQ community, men appeared as intercolutors in 66% and women in 34% of announcements.

In thematic review, promotional activities (Pride Parade and other events) were prevalent, as well as particular violence cases. Other significant topics for the LGBTIQ community, such as the legal framework, employment and so on, were hardly even spoken of.

When media are reporting about the LGBTIQ community, those thopics mostly appear as primary (77% of publications) and are visibly positioned (76% of announcements). Unfortunately, in 10 announcements, use of inadequate terminology (7) and derogatory terms (3) have been noticed, wherein most derogatory terms were found on portal IN4S‘s and in portal Večernje novosti.

In review of the research, Jovan Ulićević, Executive Director of Association Spectra, assess that ‘there are visible effects of intensive work on media education when it comes to human rights LGBTIQ persons, as well as our insisting on reporting that is respectful, informing and objective. Journalists recognize the importance of adequate coverage of marginalized groups, and with the increased visibility of LGBTIQ persons willing to share their stories, and the community’s joint effort on changing the negative image, and I think we are breaking down some of the prejudices‘. Highlighting the impact of media reporting on LGBTIQ community, Ulićević states the media space needs to be more opened for the visibility of lesbians, bisexuals, trans and queer women, who are rarely the focus of the media. ‘It is important to continue the work with journalists in order to improve media reporting  about LGBTIQ topics, especially when it comes to trans and inter topics, which still record a certain degree of sensationalist and sterotypical reporting’, concluded Ulićević.

The project NO to discrimination, YESto Diversity! is implemented by CCE with the support of the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights. Through project activities, it is sought to, among other things, improve quality of media reporting on LGBT issues, which would have impact on effectively increasing knowledge on LGBT human rights as well as improving LGBT persons’ quality of life. The professional part of the research for the purpose of the project was done by the company Arhimed.

Željka Ćetković, Project Coordinator