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Lithuania: Coalition strengthens relationship with journalists

June, 2010 – Though it was Saturday, journalists met with SWAN representatives in Lithuania to talk about sex work. In hope to establish a closer and more productive relationship and to open a dialogue on the representation of sex workers in media, Coalition I Can Live invited journalists from various printed media for a discussion.

Gathered in one of the cozy cafes of the Old Town, the meeting organizers, Coalition I Can Live and DEMETRA, a drop-in center for sex workers, talked with journalists about types of sex work, regional and international sex workers’ rights movements, legal framework around sex work in Lithuania and main problems sex workers face in this country. In discussion of the possible stories for the news, the organizers used a list of articles that had been published over past years to show how actually narrow the covered topic had been. This short analysis showed that mostly sex workers were mentioned in criminal sections and in association with human trafficking. Through this discussion, the participating journalists admitted that issues of sex work and public health, rights, legal regulations were not covered in media.

The participants were quite advanced, aware about many presented issues, and supportive of sex workers position. The main argument why they keep using discriminative terminology was the necessity to meet the needs of their audience. “We speak the language ordinary people understand, and we use words that attract attention. Beyond those words and sensational titles we can put relevant messages and information,” - said one of the participating journalists.

As one of positive outcomes of such a meeting a new article about sex work appeared in DELFI, the biggest internet news portal in Lithuania. According to Coalition's opinion, the article was objective and comprehensive enough and rose a lot of good questions. (Article in Lithuanian is available here).

Contact person: Erika Matuizaite
email: erika.matuizaite@gmail.com
Coalition I Can Live

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