Theme: Conflict (Resources)

Article: ‘Living together - Combining diversity and freedom in 21st-century Europe’: a report by the Council of Europe

In 2010, the Council of Europe’s Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, asked an independent “Group of Eminent Persons” (the Group) to prepare a report on the challenges arising from the resurgence of intolerance and discrimination in Europe. The report assesses the seriousness of the risks, identifies their sources and makes a series of proposals for “living together” in open European societies. The report is divided into two parts: “The threat” and “The response”. In the first part, the Group identifies eight specific risks to Council of Europe values: rising intolerance; rising support for xenophobic and populist parties; discrimination; the presence of a population virtually without rights; parallel societies; Islamic extremism; loss of democratic freedoms; and a possible clash between “religious freedom” and freedom of expression. Behind these risks, it suggests, lie insecurity (stemming from Europe’s economic difficulties and sense of relative decline); the phenomenon of large-scale immigration (both as actually experienced and as perceived); distorted images and harmful stereotypes of minorities in the media and public opinion; and a shortage of leaders who can inspire confidence by articulating a clear vision of Europe’s destiny. In the second part, the Group begins by setting out 17 principles which it believes should guide Europe’s response to these threats, starting with the statement that “at a minimum, there needs to be agreement that the law must be obeyed, plus a shared understanding of what the law is and how it can be changed”. It then goes on to identify the main actors able to bring about the necessary changes in public attitudes: educators, mass media, employers and trade unions, civil society, churches and religious groups, celebrities and “role models”, towns and cities, member states, and European and international institutions. In most of these categories, the report includes short pen portraits of particular groups or individuals whose work the Group finds “commendable and worthy of emulation”. The report then concludes with 59 “proposals for action”, the first 17 of which are labelled “strategic recommendations”, while the remainder, “specific recommendations”, address mainly the European Union, the Council of Europe, and their member states.

Article: ‘Muslims in Europe: A Report on 11 EU Cities’

The Open Society Institute Muslims in Europe report series constitutes the comparative analysis of data from 11 cities in seven European countries. It points out common trends and offers recommendations at the local, national, and international levels, including to the European Union and to international organizations. While not representative of the situation of all Muslims in these cities, this report does capture a snapshot of the experiences of Muslim communities in select neighbourhoods in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Antwerp, Berlin and Hamburg, Copenhagen, Leicester and Waltham Forest–London, Marseille and Paris, and Stockholm. For full report  see:      

Article: “Mission Possible”: A Gender and Media Advocacy Toolkit

Keywords: International, English, Spanish, French, guide, methodology, education, gender, gender identity, conflict resolution, ethics, advocacy, civil society organizations, resources for NGOs, all media formats   While the primary audience for this toolkit are organizations outside of the media that target the media for their gender activism, the toolkit can also be of value to professionals within the media as a means of self-reflection and analysis on how the gender biases of those who work within and own the media can and do find their way into media content and workplace conditions and practices.    Reporting on Gender and Media Advocacy Toolkit [EN].pdf  Reporting on Gender and Media Advocacy Toolkit [ES].pdf  Reporting on Gender and Media Advocacy Toolkit [FR].pdf

Article: “Racism on the Internet”, written by Yaman Akdeniz, published by Council of Europe

Yaman Akdeniz’s book Racism on the Internet, published by Council of Europe, offers a lucid and perspicuous insight in the growing problem. Racism was a pressing social problem long before the emergence of the digital age. The advancement of digital communication technologies such as the Internet has, however, added a new dimension to this problem by providing individuals and organisations with modern and powerful means to propagate racism and xenophobia. The use of the Internet as an instrument for the widespread dissemination of racist content is assessed in detail by the author. The problem of racist content on the Internet has naturally prompted vigorous responses from a variety of agents, including governments, supranational and international organisations and from the private sector. This book also provides a detailed critical overview of these regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives.

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