The Lab “Innovation for Inclusion” has awarded its winners. Four teams will promote inclusion through multimedia projects

19 participants, 9 projects on social inclusion and 4 winning multimedia projects – this is the result of the two-day Multimedia Lab “Innovation for Inclusion”, held by the Independent Journalism Centre (IJC) with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The event took place on September 15-16 in Chisinau and brought together journalists, teachers, psychologists, representatives of vulnerable groups, representatives of organisations active in the field of human rights promotion, IT developers and other people interested in getting involved and contributing to the promotion of social cohesion, diversity and tolerance. 

Opening the event, Ina Grejdeanu, Director of Strategic Development at the IJC, noted that the multimedia lab is part of an ongoing effort by the media NGO to promote cohesion, and the format of the event was not chosen by chance. “We aimed to connect journalists with various categories of marginalised and/or disadvantaged groups, given the role the media plays in society. We want to encourage this dialogue and create connections that bring about change for the better,” according to her.

On behalf of the Swiss Cooperation Office, participants were welcomed by Natalia Cernat, coordinator of the Programme for Small Grants and Social Inclusion, who explained why the organisation she represents supports such initiatives. “If you follow the studies measuring the level of acceptance of minority groups by the population of the Republic of Moldova, you will understand that the situation is quite worrying. At least in the last 8 years, the perception of acceptance of certain minority groups has not improved. For this reason, we consider it important to work with media institutions so that with their help we can create an environment that encourages an inclusive approach,” also noted Natalia Cernat.

Throughout the two-day working session, the participants were guided to produce multimedia content by two media experts in the field of new technologies. Gulim Amirkhanova, a journalist and author of TV and online journalism training programmes in Kazakhstan, familiarised the audience with what a multimedia project is and what the steps are for creating multimedia material from idea to final product. “Journalism is transforming. Texts that were once long and boring for the audience now come alive thanks to visual and interactive elements. A successful multimedia project must necessarily include visual elements,” explained Gulim Amirkhanova.

The journalist and executive director of the portal, Ana Gherciu, provided several examples of her own and media material, demonstrating how social issues can be presented in different multimedia formats and with different creative approaches. “The discriminated people don’t always succeed and dare to tell their story in public. This is something you should bear in mind when working on your multimedia projects. We will be there to help you find effective solutions and interactive ways to present information in a way that looks good to the public,” Ana Gherciu told them.

The programme of the Multimedia Lab “Innovation for Inclusion” included several meetings with special guests who shared their experience in the field, urging the participants to promote rights, skills, positive image to ensure equal opportunities for all categories of citizens. “When we talk about people with disabilities we have to think about what emphasis we put in these materials. How do we reflect people with disabilities in the public space so that from an approach that isolates the person to an approach that integrates,” noted Galina Climov, executive director of the Alliance of Organisations of People with Disabilities. She outlined a number of general rules for communicating with people with disabilities, drawing participants’ attention how important it is that our society be inclusive.

Positive practices to promote social inclusion in journalistic materials also brought Oana Sandu, reporter at the portal Decât o Revistă (DoR), special guest from Romania. With hundreds of interviews with people who have experienced different forms of domestic violence and gender inequality, different types of discrimination and disability, Oana Sandu talked about her experience, but also about DoR’s wonderful storytelling projects (The Power of Storytelling) built on the idea that stories have the power to change the world and heal us . She also talked about other initiatives, such as DoR Livethe biggest live magazine in Romania, conceptualized by putting 20-25 stories on stage, with the participation of various reporters, writers, actors, musicians, friends of DoR; Podcasts – DoR is among the pioneers of podcasting in Romania, Pe Bune being a podcast-interview about work and creative life; Satul Mădălinei – an audio serial about love, poverty and the costs of altruism.

“Disseminating best practices and success stories, dealing professionally, with dignity and respect, peer-to-peer, with the challenges faced by representatives of vulnerable groups in everyday life is what gives journalism its value”, said the reporter Oana Sandu.

On the second day of the lab, participants had the opportunity to ask questions and get answers from two other special guests who brought their expertise on the protection of minority rights in the public space (Nicolae Cheles, President of the National Youth Council of Moldova), as well as on the gender equality dimension (Alina Andronache, project coordinator at the Centre Partnership for Development). In their speeches, the guests expressed their conviction that freedom of expression and unrestricted access to any information of public interest are essential foundations of a democratic society. “I have been following what is happening in the media since 2016. In the beginning, we encountered many articles and headlines that discriminated, incited hatred. Today, the situation has changed. We are happy to see that there are institutions that have embraced gender equality and promote it. However, there are still things that hurt. For example, when it comes to the subject of violence, the focus in the material is always on the victim (usually the woman) and not the aggressor. It pains me that the life of a person going through a complicated time is exposed so much to the general public. Maybe you, journalists, having the magic power of the word, will be more creative and help change these stereotypes in society”, concluded Alina Andronache.

Winning multimedia projects

At the end, under the guidance of national and international trainers, the participants of the multimedia lab presented their project ideas and the jury chose the winners. In random order, they are:

  • Happy and informed till old age”, author Ludmila Adamciuc ( blog My Friend);
  • Your hands can talk too!“, authors Ala Bargan and Maxim Bargan (Republican House of Culture of the Deaf of Moldova);
  • Now and not in old age“, authors Cristina Ghermanschi and Elena Cioina (Sănă;
  • She / Take everything from life!”, authors Olga Afanas (NGO Women’s Network for Democracy) and Marina Afanas (journalist, TV producer).

The winning teams will receive a grant of EUR 1,500 each and will have six months to complete and publish their multimedia projects.

The multimedia workshop “Innovation for Inclusion” is held in the framework of the project “Building cohesion in Moldova through promoting social inclusion and diminishing discrimination” by the Independent Journalism Centre within the programme “Joint Initiative for Equal Opportunities – Phase II”, implemented from the resources provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


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