Shocking and Inaccurate Headlines in Reports on Trafficking in Human Beings, Domestic Violence and Migration
[ 2012-03-22 comments | 1501 views ]
The reports on trafficking in human beings, migration and domestic violence are presented by most newspapers through the angle of the sensational, having headlines that aim to shock. In other cases, the headlines are inaccurate and do not suggest that they refer to domestic violence, migration or human trafficking. Generally, as in the previous monitoring period, newspapers limit themselves to short news without documenting the subject more broadly and investigating the context of appearance of the cases of human trafficking, domestic violence or migration. These are the conclusions of the sixth press monitoring report on the coverage of trafficking in human beings, migration and domestic violence, launched today by the Center for Investigative Journalism.
The topics monitored are rather well represented on the pages of the newspapers and generally cover the complexity of the problems even though not all the items comply with the ethical standards. Most of the items on the subjects monitored do not observe the two or more sources principle; most of the times journalists got their information only from the releases issued by the law-enforcement bodies. The tendency to present human trafficking as a profitable business is maintained; many items indicated the amounts taken by the traffickers or the alleged traffickers.
In the period from december 2011 to February 2012, the 18 newspapers monitored published a total of 307 stories on migration, domestic violence and trafficking in human beings, by 8 stories more than in the previous monitoring period (September - November 2011).
More than half of the subjects focusing on the topics investigated (179 of 307) were presented in the form of news stories. Investigations, reportages and interviews are more rarely found in the reports on trafficking, violence and migration. At the same time, in DecemberFebruary, a number of journalists tackled the topics monitored in editorials.
The authors of the report recommend to the journalists to take a more responsible and professional attitude in tackling the subjects about domestic violence, trafficking in human beings and migration. Editors and reporters should protect the identity of the victims of domestic violence and human trafficking as well as the data that may lead to identifying them (town, age, relation rank, and other relevant details), and also they should take into account the presumption of innocence principle. Newspaperpersons should give up sensational approaches of the subjects on trafficking and violence and should give priority to detailed and in-depth analyses of these phenomena.
The press monitoring on the coverage of trafficking in human beings, migration and domestic violence started on 1 September 2010.
Media outlets monitored:
The media monitoring report has been prepared with the support of the International Organization for Migration as part of the partnership program among the media, civil society and public institutions in preventing and combating trafficking in human beings that is part of the project Prevention of Corruption and Impunity in the Fight Against Trafficking by Empowering the Media and Encouraging Cooperation between Civil Society and Law-Enforcement Bodies, funded by the US State Department.
Center for Investigative Journalism
22 March 2012
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