The Diversity management in journalism – Ukrainian task-force invited the Commissioner of Human Rights in Poland to co-organize a public round table debate on the role of the media in shaping attitudes of tolerance and respect for diversity in times of war and crisis.

Following an ad-hock meeting with the project’s Advisory board and the creation of the Diversity management in journalism – Ukrainian task-force led by Greta Gober we invited the Commissioner to organize a round table debate under the auspices of the Commissioner’s office. 

The round table would bring together representatives of the media, civil society, and researchers to consider what role do the media play in shaping attitudes of tolerance and respect for diversity – especially in times of crisis and war?

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the situation of people fleeing the war to Poland poses both on the media and the civil society various challenges and responsibilities. What role are the media and journalists to play in shaping attitudes of tolerance and respect for diversity in times of war? What role do we play in this situation – ordinary citizens, representatives of non-governmental organizations, local governments, local associations, and scientists?

Diversity and inclusion remains a challenge for the media globally, including in Poland. This has been clearly demonstrated by the latest Global Media Monitoring Poland 2020 report.  

The presence of women in news media in Poland remains practically unchanged since Poland first took part in the Global Media Monitoring Project in 1995. In 2020 women constituted 27% of those seen and heard on news media on a given day. Voices of minorities, be they ethnic, sexual or people with disabilities, are practically non-existent in news media narratives, even in stories that concern them directly. 

Probably no one today has any doubts that democratic media need to be diverse and inclusive. However, innovative examples and knowledge on how editorial offices and journalists can work to support diversity in the media is (still) hard to find. Is a civic-journalistic alliance the solution? And if so, how should it look? Are there more pitfalls or upsides to newsrooms’ engagement with grassroots and civil society? What other solutions exist to support diversity in times of crisis and war? We hope this debate will form a base for our collective aspiration for change, to support diversity in the media, especially with the dynamically changing situation in the whole of Europe, where liberal values continue being contested and, in some places, eroded or even eradicated.