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Journalists Should not Offend Religious and National Feelings in Their Writing

Religious and ethnic tolerance on the part of the media has recently been under discussion in Moscow.

The leadership of the Federal Services for the Observance of Legislation in the Sphere of Mass Communications and the Protection of Cultural Heritage met with experts for a working meeting on February 21st. They stated a concern that there has been a growth of religious and national intolerance on the part of the Russian mass media, according to the press office of the Slavic legal centre. The meeting was devoted to the theme of Not allowing the abuse of the freedom of the press. Methods of public counteraction to infringements of the legislation of the Russian Federation about mass media ".

The head of the Russian Organization for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, Boris Boyarskov, noted that his department has lately begun to react more strongly to the stirring up of religious and interethnic hostility in the mass media as well as to the propagation of pornography. Boyarskov emphasized the necessity of discussing ways to improve the situation.

The danger of stirring up religious and interethnic hostility in the mass media has also been noted by the senior public prosecutor of the State Prosecutors office of the Russian Federation, Valentina Zamyshlyaeva, who has stated that the Prosecutors office is now paying particular attention to such cases.

A concrete example of the incorrect portrayal of the clergy was pointed out by Professor Michael Gorbanevsky, chairman of the board of the Guild of Expert Linguists on Documentary and Information Disputes. He pointed to a case where one edition published a caricature of an orthodox priest who, at the end of lent, takes a beer from a refrigerator and drinks it. Michael Gorbanevsky cited the information-analytical center "Owl" and its internet-site as being the most highly qualified organization that regularly collects data relating to displays of interethnic and religious hostility.

In addition, the secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists Mixail Fedotov and the president of the Foundation for the Protection of Openness Alexey Simonov spoke of the necessity for the observance of legislation in the mass media.

Source: Religion and Media


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