Iniciativa proti Misogynnímu přístupu médií v Srbsku a Černé Hoře
About the Initiative
The initiative against misogyny in media is an ad hoc coalition involving women’s organizations and individuals, as well as other members of civil society who perceive the role of media in creating the image of women in public and the importance of sanctioning the hate speech in public sphere.
The initiative has been started by the Association for women’s initiative, SOS hotline and center for girls and Women at Work from Belgrade. Around 70 women’s and human rights organizations have joined the Initiative, as well as a large number of individuals from public and cultural life.
About the Appeal
The most commercial Serbian television, RTV Pink was broadcasting short entertaining show called “It can not hurt” has used very misogynic depiction of women. The show has been broadcasted in prime time, several times per day, before the news flash during the period of one month. The portrayal of women was very insulting, referring to their sex organs, age, weight and their submission to men. The author even pointed out that women are obliged to respond to any sexual demand by men, saying that they “don’t have a church between their legs”, they all serve the same regardless of “being young or old” etc. This show was the starting point of the campaign that includes, among other direct actions, a Law Suit. However, this is not the only example of hate speech in the media – several other TV shows have contents that are eligible to sanctioning.
The ratio behind the decision to take this TV sow and this particular TV station in focus is that they are very strong, have the highest ratings and promote the culture of stereotypes and intolerance. They had a significant role in maintaining the previous regime by offering a false image of reality and Serbian society.
The appeal was filed on 20th November 2003 to the Second District Court in Belgrade. The appeal is signed by 55 women NGOs and initiatives and a number of individuals from Serbia and Montenegro. It is important to emphasize that this is the first appeal to be filed according to the new Law on Public Information, which sanctions hate speech in its article #38.
About the Reasons for the Law Suit
The reasons for this action are two pronged. One of them is to promote the responsibility for public appearance and speech, as well as making media in Serbia aware of standards for public TV and the second is affirmation of new legislature related to Public Information and the frame for legal action against hate speech.
The Law on Public Information, valid since April 2003 is very progressive in terms of defining hate speech in its article #38 and forbids it.
The article #39 gives legitimacy to the registered organizations dealing with human rights to the appealing party in a Lawsuit. The only downside of the Law is the absence of financial sanctions and in this moment the only sanction is the public apology and termination of problematic contents.
What Do We Want?
Concrete goal of this particular action is termination of misogynic content in this TV show and public apology and the long-term goals are the monitoring and reactions to discriminatory contents in the media. The essential aim is to start a public debate over the issue of misogyny in the public sphere and to start building public consensus over this issue.
Association for women’s Initiative firstname.lastname@example.org
Women at work email@example.com
Center for girls firstname.lastname@example.org
ZENE NA DELU / WOMEN AT WORK
Address: Milesevska (Save Kovacevica) 7 / 6
11000 Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro
Tel/Fax: +381 11 2455 846
Mobile : +381 63 455 845
E-mail: email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org