European Parliament says stereotypical depiction of LGBTI people in media needs to be addressed

In a report adopted on 17 April 2018, the European Parliament calls for further measures to foster gender equality, including equality for LGBTI people, in media content and in the media sector.

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The report on gender equality in the media sector in the EU (Šojdrová report) calls for a greater focus on professional training and education activities as a way to combat discrimination and promote gender equality.

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Amendments were tabled by MEPs from the S&D, Greens/EFA, GUE/NGL, ALDE and EPP groups, including members of the LGBTI Intergroup, to ensure the report is inclusive of LGBTI people.

The report highlights in particular the need to foster media literacy and provide all relevant stakeholders with gender-sensitive media education, in the view of equipping young people with tools to identify and speak out against discriminatory content. According to the European Parliament, trainings on media literacy should identifying and speaking out against “hate speech and violence motivated by a person’s gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or sex characteristics” (Par. 23)

Similarly, the report underlines the role of stereotypes in advertising, who can “impact on children’s socialisation and, subsequently, the way they view themselves, their family members and the outside world”. Advertising can have a positive effect “in challenging stereotypes, such as gender stereotypes and stereotypes against LGBTI people”, report says (Par. 23).

The Šojdrová report also underlines the responsibility of Member States to collect data and conduct research to fight cyber violence, including against LGBTI people (par. 26). It points out in particular the need for training on how the media report on cases of gender-based violence, including violence against LGBTI people (par. 26).

Terry Reintke, co-chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, said: “I am glad to see a European Parliament report that is inclusive of LGBTI people when talking about gender equality.”

“The media cannot be a place that perpetuates harmful stereotypes and promotes violence against LGBTI people. We need more positive representation of LGBTI people in the media and advertising, to foster acceptance and delegitimise the discrimination and violence they are subjected to”.

One amendment put forward by the S&D group, which called on the Commission to propose “a Directive on sexism in advertising which will ensure that images of women, men and LGBTI people are not used in a stereotypical, degrading or discriminatory way” (amendment 5), was rejected.

Liliana Rodrigues, shadow rapporteur for the S&D group and member of the LGBTI Intergroup, commented: “The Media sector and advertising have a key role to play in fighting against discrimination and fostering gender equality and respect towards LGBTI people.”

“A Directive on sexism on advertising would enable to ensure a more positive representation of people in advertising, including LGBTI people, far from the harmful stereotypes we still see today. The fact that this will not be included in the report is to be deplored”.

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