Phralipen newsroom is in charge of the online portal and magazine of the same name, and was established in 2017 as part of the Croatian Rromani Union “KALI SARA“, a non-governmental organization. The fact that the Union brings together the largest number of the Rroma, Rromani organizations, representatives and presidents of the Council of the Rroma national minorities in municipalities, towns and counties in Croatia, initially represented a big advantage to us as a publisher because it was easier to cooperate with our members in the field. There was a justified mistrust in the media among the Rromani community because, as they initially told us: The media are only after scandals using an attacking tone. Nowadays they consider “Phralipen” as their publication, and we are trying to justify their confidence.
According to various professional studies, such as the research carried out by the Office of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Croatia, reporting on the Rroma in Croatian media space is most often sensationalistic. They are mentioned mainly in the context of scandals or crime, whereby the nationality of an individual is unnecessarily pointed out before all other information. As the Office of the Ombudsman concludes, remarks on social networks give impetus to such news supporting them: Negative role in creating a majority distorted perception of the minority is also given by users’ comments below articles that are often filled with unacceptable speech and hate speech and often remain unsanctioned. Therefore, our vision from the outset was to improve the quality of media reporting on the Rroma. On the one hand, we wanted to achieve a better understanding between the majority population and their Rromani neighbours and, on the other hand, to strengthen the homogeneity of the Rroma minority itself. During our two years of work, our newsroom, consisting of three editorial directors, five journalists and several external associates, has written about numerous minority issues and wrote about a wide range of human rights issues. The magazine containing texts in four languages, Croatian, Rromani, English and the Bayashi language, is a quarterly magazine. We are especially proud that we have achieved great freedom in expressing authors’ attitudes, resulting in the personal satisfaction of journalists who are looking forward to writing about a new topic. For the end of this brief presentation, let us give a word to our journalist:
What I like about the work in Phralipen magazine is openness, criticism, but also a self-criticism, a combination of concrete and abstract, thematic scope involving analysing the past from multiple angles and perspectives, as well as a try of aspirational deliberation on the future.
The work in the Phralipen newsroom encourages creativity, is flexible and free, but at the same time very instructive. Although I have been allowed to link my own knowledge and other interests with the main theme, I have been motivated to further explore the problems affecting the Rroma, thus deepening my own knowledge of international, European and Croatian politics.
Fran Radonić Mayr
Freedom in the wide selection of topics as well as in the selection of journalistic expression, along with critical reflection of society, as well as self-reflection, is what distinguishes the work in Phralipen magazine. But also daily and continuous education both of journalists and associates on the ground as well as readers by changing the content of stereotype about the Rroma in the media.