Report calls for anti-racist media coverage

January 27, 2022

Launched today, Media That Moves is a report from Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange, London Gypsies and Travellers, and research partner Public Interest Research Centre, which examines the systems that perpetuate negative stereotyping of Gypsies and Travellers in the UK media. You can read the summary report here..

We know the media environment around Gypsy and Traveller people is harmful, discriminatory and racist. This in turn fuels the damaging policy, exclusion and prejudice the communities face to this day. The bigger question is why? And what can be done to move towards anti-racism and bold change in the UK’s media? Our new research report seeks to give some answers.

Based on 30 interviews with journalists, editors and activists and workshops with the Gypsy and Traveller community, the report examines the key role of the media in systems that perpetuate negative stereotypes, what the main influences on the media and their narratives are, and where they come from.

Drawing on previous research into media coverage about Gypsy and Traveller people, the report found on average one story per national newspaper every three days, without counting local news. Daily Express and Daily Mail alone counted for more than half of the stories published. Rather than struggling only with lack of wider representation, this is a crisis of misrepresentation.

Leeds GATE and London Gypsies and Travellers are both organisations that work in partnership with the communities in West Yorkshire and London, and with staff who also identify as Gypsy and Traveller. Involving Gypsy and Traveller people from across the country, as well as both regional and national media was vital, to show this is a nationwide problem needing nationwide attention.

“Much of the UK media is failing Gypsies and Travellers. To create change, we need to tell stories that are rights-based and focused on values and emotions while also building up new networks of power to tell Gypsy and Traveller stories that matter,” said Rachel Trafford, Leeds GATE Communications Coordinator.

“The Media that Moves project is one of the best things we have been involved in,” said Mena Mongan, Community Engagement Officer at London Gypsies and Travellers. “It gives us the strength to go forward on the right road to tackle the negative news that journalists publish about us every day.”

“We hope this research contributes to the wider awareness of prejudice and racism perpetuated by media in our society, leads to more news outlets examining and improving their practices, and also gives Gypsies and Travellers and allies some practical tools to make positive and long-lasting change,” added Ilinca Diaconescu, Policy and Campaigns Coordinator at London Gypsies and Travellers.

This report is just the beginning. Our aim is for Media That Moves research findings to become the backbone for multiple projects and areas of much-needed change within the media for Gypsy and Traveller people. We must start telling a new story.

Read the summary report here.

Read the full report here.

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