Poyraz Tutuncu

International Romani Day on 8 April celebrates Romani culture but also raises awareness of the issues facing Romani people. 

In Montenegro there are over 8,000 members of the Roma community. However, analysis of the media by the MINA News Agency showed that topics concerning the Roma population are rarely reported or only covered by Roma outlets. 

With support from the Media for All project, MINA News is working with Roma community organisations to bring the topics that affect the Roma population more widely to the Montenegrin public. Using online polls, surveys and working with non-government organisations, Roma journalists and community members, the Agency is creating stories that capture the concerns of the Roma community. This allows the Agency to feel the real pulse of the community, and aims to engage with the younger generations of the Roma population.

The legal status of the majority of the displaced Roma is not regulated, which impacts on  fundamental living issues, such as employment, education, health and pension insurance. UNICEF’s MICSC 2018 research reported that 90% of the Roma community members experience some form of material deprivation.

By working with a Romani journalist, the Agency is producing articles that highlight the problems faced by the Roma community and explores ways of overcoming them. This citizen journalism that engages with the community and addresses their issues shows “both sides” and gives a voice to the Roma population in wider mainstream media. 

MINA News Agency’s Project is focussing on public health, education and employment and all content, articles and videos produced are in Montenegrin and translated to the Romani language. These stories are distributed through the Agency’s service to all Montenegrin media outlets and also made available through their social media channels to attract younger readers. The Agency has promoted the video and stories over YouTube and Facebook and have reached nearly 5000 people on the social networking site. 

The MINA News Agency has produced two articles and a video on topics affecting the Roma community in Montenegro . These are available on MINA News Agency. They are in Montenegrin. 

Jaša Jovicević, MINA News Agency managing director, said; “We are confident that the production of high-quality content and engagement of the Roma population can positively affect the public opinion, raising awareness among the Montenegrin public and further advancing the Roma social inclusion process. With the community engaged in the creation of the content, they will be interested in keeping up with the stories and promoting the issues further.”