In the night from Sunday to Monday, 331 media makers and journalists announced in a manifesto that they would establish a Media Reporting Center for Racism & Discrimination. The signatories wish to actively register reports of racism and discrimination in journalistic media companies or productions and take action against companies in the sector that are aware or unknowingly guilty of racism and discrimination.
It is not yet known when the hotline will be operational, spokesman and co-initiator Natasja Gibbs tells NU.nl. “But there is urgency behind it, so it shouldn’t take months.” According to the initiators, there is close consultation with the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ).
The signatories, who work for almost all public service broadcasters, agree that the initiative stems partly from the mechanisms of racism and discrimination that the Black Lives Matter movement has denounced. “As experienced and committed media makers of color and allies in solidarity, we make an indictment in this statement against the same exclusive mechanisms that are also present in the Dutch media,” the manifesto reads. “We demand change and establish a Reporting Center for Racism & Discrimination for journalists and media makers.”
The initiators of the hotline are working on a ‘safe space’ where victims and whistleblowers of racism and discrimination in the media are assisted and protected psychologically and legally. They also want to address the tolerance of racism and discrimination in the workplace or in media productions. The signatories of the manifesto explicitly do not want people to be hired solely because of color or identity.
‘Also fear among media makers and journalists to sign’
According to Gibbs, there are also media makers and journalists who don’t dare to sign the manifesto. “Some respond that they are getting a lot of hatred in the current racism debate. They are afraid that by signing this manifesto they will have to collect even more.”
The spokesman for the initiative also states that there are also media makers who decide not to sign the manifesto for the time being because they are negotiating to eliminate racism and discrimination in their working environment. Signers would also participate under their real name rather than their stage name, fearing negative reactions.