Katalin Barsony on empowering Roma with technology

Romedia Foundation aims to disseminate an insider’s view of Romani issues, empower Romani activists and challenge stereotypes through new media.

Romedia Foundation’s executive director Katalin Barsony discusses how her organisation uses media to promote a positive perception of Romani ethnic identity and challenge centuries-old stereotypes. Barsony says Roma are the worst discriminated minority group in Europe “not just because the image and connotation when they appear in mainstream media is mostly associated with crime, but because of a lack of self-representation” (1min 52secs). She says the new popular television show American Gypsies’ “patronising” depiction of Roma as a “romantic, tribal, crime-related community doesn’t help us at all” (5mins 18secs). To combat such stereotypes, Romedia teaches young people to use cameras as tools against discrimination. The I’m a Roma Woman Campaign aims to help women combat internal and external discrimination by telling their stories (11mins 30secs). Another initiative called BUVERO teaches Romani youth the tools of citizen journalism to report on problems in their communities (14mins 10secs). “By prioritising the discourse with our values instead of reacting to racist statements, we’ve been able to create new ideas,” Barsony says (15mins 2secs).

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