Ethnic groups in the digital environment was the subject of the 28th European People's Conference hosted by the regional government of Carinthia this month.
There are currently 340 ethnic miniority groups (also called national groups) living in 47 countries in Europe. The majority of them were established in Central and Eastern Europe in the aftermath of the World Wars but more recent groups were set up after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia in the 90s.
While there is a commonly accepted view that globalism is endangering minorities, digitisation is actually creating unimaginable opportunities to preserve their identity and encourage their development. New media has provided a renaissance for minority languages, helped improve the visibility and wealth of diversity in Europe and motivated more minority groups to redefine their identity.
The congress featured contributions from the DG of ORF and the Deputy DG of RTV SLO and produced a new strategy on the 'digital agenda of the national groups/minorities' illustrating how new technology will help preserve their existence.
The event underlined the pivotal role of radio and television, and especially of public service media with our Members offering almost 290 services specifically for ethnic minority audiences.
The EBU has also instigated a number of projects to help support broadcasting to minority audiences. For example, it created a Roma Task Force and facilitated an exchange of news stories through the ERNO. It continues to work in this area, with the ambition of training journalists from minority groups to cover stories from their own communities.