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NOS Stigmatizing Gays?

by Editorial Staff in Media & entertainment , 12 februari 2009


The NOS ombudsman Tom van Brussel had received complaints and has conducted a study whether the NOS is stigmatizing gays on radio, television, teletext and internet.
His conclusion: not so much in reporting but in image the NOS stigmatizes.

On the 12th of November the NOS released the following statement on radio, television, teletext and internet: More and more young gay and bisexual men with casual sex partners have unprotected sex. Drug use and internet dating appear to play a large role in this development, a survey of Schorer shows


The complaint:

For the umpth time I’m shocked by the negative and one-sided, moralist and propaganda nature of the reporting of the NOS on gay issues. The NOS editors are always putting gays in a negative light by adding irrelevant and suggestive images to the spoken word and what’s worse, they stay silent or play down news on discrimination or even violence against gays. Why do we always have to hear about the sex life of gays? Why not show a bit of the straight sex as well.


Response of the editors

We reported on a large-scale survey of an expert organization. Schorer has publicized the results and we reported on it because we think it’s important. If Rutgers Nisso had done a research on the sex life of straight people and similar important information had surfaced, we would have reported on that as well (we’ve just had Minister Rouvoet’s comments on youth). The complaint that the NOS has a homophobe policy or attitude is simply not true.


Conclusion

The NOS is reporting on gay issues quite regularly. If you go to the archive on the internet site of the NOS-Journaal, you’ll find numerous reports with a great variety: about violence against gays, about the position of gays in the ChristenUnie and also about their sex life. You can’t say that the reporting is one-sided, negative or stigmatizing. Gays are a minority and their emancipation process makes them newsworthy more often then ‘straight’ news. The NOS would certainly report on the sex life of straight people if they were posing a threat to public health.

So is the complaint completely invalid?

Unfortunately not.

“Images of the Canal Parade are used too often to accompany reports on gay topics. This is very peculiar when there’s no relation between image and the report,” says NOS-Ombudsman Tom van Brussel this morning on the radio. The chief editor fortunately sees this as well, so we’ll only show images of the parade when where reporting on the parade. The signal is: “pay attention to these things!”

So last week a memo circulated the department of editors, saying:

Yesterday (Monday 17th of November) at eight o’clock we showed a short item on violence against gays. Amongst other material we also used images of the Canal Parade. It’s not the first time we do such things with similar subjects. This is a peculiar and wrong choice. It’s a choice that irritates a lot of our viewers, as shows in our mailbox. The two subjects have nothing to do with each other

• Are we talking about violence against the gays on these boats during the parade?
• Have these gays provoked the violence?
Homosexuality = Gay parade, is that what we mean?
These decisions irritate because we insinuate that being gay means dancing on a boat during a parade. A lot of gay people do not identify with this. Some even don’t want to have anything to do with the parade. To quote a colleague: “We don’t show pole-dancers when we report on violence against women either, now do we?

It’s often the reactions from the public that shake (and wake) editors up. A mail to publieksreacties@nos.nl can have influence and make a difference.
If you don’t think so, you can always contact the NOS-Ombudsman.








 







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