Montenegro, MINA news agency: Raising awareness on the Roma and Egyptian community issues

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The private news agency MINA focused its work on informing the public about the issues that the Roma and Egyptian (RE) community in Montenegro are facing.

By using the Engaged Citizens Reporting (ECR) tool, an online questionnaire that gives citizens opportunity to suggest topics, provide documents, and testimonials, and with the help of non-governmental organizations and RE activists, MINA News Agency identified the key problems that the communities are facing - access to education, health care and employment – and offered possible solutions.

The agency issued three callouts and produced 8 articles and 5 videos. Another important result is that all stories were featured in the mainstream media.

“The callouts and the articles reached 30000 people via web and 355000 people reached on social media networks,” said from the agency.

The first survey was related to RE community access to health services. The results showed that these communities should be priority groups for vaccination. The second callout was related to education and the results showed that what is needed is better organization of transportation to schools and involvement of RE mediators in the education process. The last survey was related to the employment issue the RE population is facing. The possible solution is seen in a literacy programme and involvement in vocational training to be equipped with skills in order to respond to labor market demands).

“With the introduction of the ECR tool, MINA has increased its capacity to deal with topics of social importance in addition to the usual agency reporting. This also affected the visibility of the agency in the public as a new source of information that is not intended only for the media,” said from the agency.

MINA News Agency, an ECR grantee, is the only news agency in Montenegro. It is privately owned and operates independently in line with the highest global editorial and reporting standards. The media outlet began providing services in 2001 based on the foundation set by the first news agency in Montenegro, Montena Fax, which was established in 1994. Since 2004 MINA has been financially self-sustainable and relies on paid subscriptions for the news service.

Media for All, a UK supported project, took particular care to include minority language media in the project or to address the issues that minorities are facing.

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