Media wheel: Internet Portal Udar , Bosnia and Herzegovina – Completely different story from Rromani community

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    Foto: Flickr/Georgie Pauwels

    Rromani Internet Portal Udar was founded by the Media Initiatives, a non-governmental organization from Sarajevo as a direct response to Rroma exclusion from mainstream media, especially public services. On the other hand, even when these media report about the Rroma, this is mostly in a negative context, with an inevitable emphasis on nationality, using materials that, as a rule, segmentally display mahalla, muddy streets, children begging, and the like.

    The only way to resist this stereotype was to present a completely different story from the Rroma community, Dalibor Tanić, the editor-in-chief of the Portal, told us. He explained that the very name of the Portal itself is symbolic because in Rromani language it means the door. It was our idea to open the door to people who would then be able to see different Rroma communities, positive stories, educated, young and very successful Rroma, and everything else that is opposite to images and stories they relate to the Rroma.

    From the very beginning, they were very confident at launching the Portal, as they say, and the many years of experience in journalism made their work much easier. I have been involved in journalism for some ten years, and the chief executive of the Portal, Radenko Udovičić, for some twenty years. He used to work as a university professor, and there are dozens of media projects he participated in.

    At the beginning, finding up-to-date topics was their biggest challenge because no matter how big the Rroma community was, there were no daily events to report about. Still, the topics they generally wanted to deal with were inexhaustible. That is why they hired professional journalists and organized a newsroom where today, in addition to the editor-in-chief and the chief executive of the Portal, there are about ten journalists and external associates. News is produced every day, and during the week they publish a few texts with different thematic contents.

    Over time, Udar has acquired activist character through its texts and has turned into a platform that brings together young and educated Rroma creating a new movement of young people. They have raised numerous questions, from political participation, institutional discrimination, but also criticism of Rroma non-governmental organizations which often provoked problems. Their readers’ satisfaction shows them that they can be pleased with their work so far. Besides that, their readership is most interested in the stories of “ordinary people”.

    During the last decade of dealing with the Rroma issues, I have written other things as well, and perhaps the greatest experience I have brought to the Udar Portal was the one I gained writing for the diskriminacija.ba portal, Dalibor Tanić told us for the end of our interview. Even there we thought we would run out of topics at one point, and then we realized that the topics were inexhaustible. In the same way, there is a lot to write about the Rroma, and the space we have opened is intended for everyone, Rroma and non-Rroma.

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