The Spanish press before the Roma People
The Union Romani denounces that still 31% of the news on roma in the Spanish media are negative


  "In the struggle against the racism does not fit the objectivity. The journalist can not fight in the same field of the racists", such be expresses Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia, president of the Unión Romaní, journalist and director of the study that this spanish organization has recently published on the treatment that receives the Roma people, half a million people in Spain, among the Spanish media 

    The professionals of the information often they are not conscious of the great social scope that can have the information they elaborate in relationship to the ethnic minorities. How it is written? Which are the topics in those which is impacted? What journalistic gender is used? With what photograph is illustrated the text? In what section the information appears? All these aspects can be fundamental to encouraging or avoiding the racist attitudes appearance between the information consumers. That is the real power of the journalists and the starting point of this investigation. 

"The Roma have said until the satiety that, without the collaboration of the social media, the way for our promotion would be extremely difficult. One of our most hard preoccupations is the need of changing the image that most of the society has of us" declares Ramírez-Heredia. With that objective, the Unión Romaní has completed out a study, unique of its kind, that analyzes the more than 7.500 texts that appeared in 124 media during 1995 and 1996. "¿Periodistas contra el racismo? La prensa española ante el pueblo gitano" is an exhaustive investigation work, accomplished by a group of gipsy journalists, that intends to impact in journalistic practices that generate topical images on this people to show it as example to reject. 

The conclusions of the investigation emphasize that the more Roma live in a land the best they are treated by its media. Andalusia, Catalonia and Madrid are located to the head of the texts production. Concerning the extension of the information, the study demonstrates that in spite that there is an increase of the published texts that "only make reference" to the Roma people (1996 had the double that 1995), the mean page extensions or more they have increased in 1996 and already surpass to the shortest texts. 

The Unión Romaní verifies in his study that the treatment that the Spanish press gives to the romi community still is, in general terms, concerned. In spite  that 61,15% of the information were treated positively, still exists a 31,10% of negative treatments. The land of Extremadura, in 1995 as well as in 1996, was the best which tried the Roma, while Balearic and Galicia they were worse those which made it. One must to emphasize a positive evolution because in 1996 the texts that were drafted from a negative vision were reduced to half. 
Other of the aspects that analyzes the study "¿Periodistas contra el racismo? La prensa española ante el pueblo gitano" are the topics most approached by the Spanish media. According to the conclusions of the investigation culture, housing, negative living together and the associacionism were the topics that more repercussion had in the media. The romi law and the language, on the other hand, they were those which less. For this reason, Sergio Rodríguez, journalist and coordinator of the study, denounces that "the journalists approach the Roma's reality from a point of view more social than cultural. This supposes a biased vision, accustoming the reader to think that Roma do not generate news on other topics". 


Information is much more abundant than opinion. Generally speaking there is a text of opinion by each informative nine. Yet smaller is the number of referring information to the Roma people that appear in covers, so only 3% front to the 97% that make it in interior pages. The conclusions of the study emphasize, finally, that the Spanish journalists use largely the news as gender upon speaking of the romani community (78%). The report and the article are, to much distance, the others genders more used. 

Another of the main aspects denounced the Unión Romaní is the nonexistence of the Roma as informative source. The time shortage of the journalists, the routines practice or the comfort causes that the journalists do not contrast the data with its protagonists and appeal, in occasions, to topicals. In this sense, Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia asserts that "the ignorance is the principal source of our informative misfortunes. I support that it makes time that the Roma is one of the communities less studied, not already in this country but in the Europe rest". Thus the study recommends thus the creation of press cabinets in the bosom of the romany organization to make the work of the journalists easier. 

Respect to the stereotypes, Sebastián Porras, another of the authors of the study, asserts that "is presented to the Roma as artists or delinquents". These stereotypes, on those which are built the prejudices that hinder the living together, also are detected in the images that "tend to illustrate the information on Roma with barefooted children, with mucus and the rear to the air in a hut" declares Ramírez-Heredia. But what is not sayed is such important as what is sayed. The study also acuses that exists a partial treatment of the information and, for example, is spoken of high illiteracy rates without citing the almost three hundreds youth university roms and  romis. 

Other of the conclusions of the study of the Unión Romaní is that the Spanish press tends to a morbid treatment of the information, because "is prioritizing topics that tend to the sensationalism. In many occasions, though it of 'individual of gispsied aspect' almost may have disappeared, the utilization from the term 'Gipsy' is still perverse" acuses Sergio Rodríguez. 

"¿Periodistas contra el racismo? La prensa española ante el pueblo gitano" ends with a series of recommendations to the professionals of the information, to the associations of the press and to the institutions in order to improve the image that the media reflect of the Roma people. The critical readers training, the creation of press cabinets roms, the editors training specialized in human rights and ethnic minorities, the self-regulation professional and the institutional commitment are some of the ideas that outlines the Unión Romaní. Without doubt, according to the study, the profession must make a reflection exercise if we want a most just and respectful journalism with all the citizens and especially committed in the struggle against the racism.



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