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Slovakia: First media sensitization seminar takes place in Bratislava

On September the 4th the first seminar for journalists was held in Slovakia to help media reporters understand better human rights issues, stigma, violence, corruption and health problems that sex workers encounter on a daily basis. Similar seminars will soon be organized in other countries in the SWAN network. More

C.A. Odyseus, SWAN member from Slovakia, organized the media sensitization event with a programmatic help from SWAN and financial support from the Slovak branch of the Open Society Fund. The aim of the seminar was to sensitize media to the issues pertaining sex work and to ultimately contribute to better quality of media coverage of sex work and less sensationalism. At a programmatic meeting held in June this year in Belgrade, representatives of SWAN members from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia and Slovakia, together with SWAN consultants, developed basic curriculum for a 3-hour sensitization seminar with media representatives, that is then going to be further developed in-country to fit local circumstances.

Slovakia is the first country where a pilot seminar was organized – similar events will follow in other five countries until the end of the year. If the project turns to be successful, it will be multiplied in 2009.

“We invited a number of journalists from various mainstream media – national, local, printed and TV. The seminar covered topics like terminology, myths and reality about sex work, and ethical issues in reporting sex work.

We also spoke about possible stories that would be newsworthy for media but would avoid being sensationalistic, would not hurt anyone and would provide an interesting angle”,
says Lubica Tornoczyova, the seminar leader from C.A. Odyseus.

“The greatest point was that we could learn from each others. Journalists had very good recommendations and ideas how we can cooperate in the future. Atmosphere was very friendly and we had time to really answer all possible questions and clarify lots of problems that appeared in the past”, adds Tornoczyova.

The Belgrade event and the seminars to follow were organized with financial support from the Health Media Program of the Open Society Institute.

More info: Lubica Tornoczyova, podchod@ozodyseus.sk
More about Odyseus