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News item on Publika: “Coffin instead of cradle. The tragedies of women whose children the health system turned into angels”

10 Mar 2014
Media institutions: produced and published on Monday a large story on the deaths of newborns in Moldova ( The report was presented with a headline based on clichés, stereotypes and assumptions – “Coffin instead of cradle. The tragedies of women whose children the health system turned into angels.” This headline emotionally manipulates readers, without providing them with clear information and proof in support of such serious accusations. The headline also encourages gender stereotypes, suggesting that mothers are the ones who suffer more from the loss of a child – fathers are excluded from the report. According to the Guidelines on Style containing Ethical Norms („Ghid de Stil cu Norme Etice”), the headlines of news articles should present the information briefly, clearly, to the point, neutrally and without nuances. Also, they must present information without ambiguities or exaggerations. In terms of objectivity, the Guidelines say that “we shall try being objective at any cost. And that, despite the fact that absolute objectivity is impossible. Every reporter carries his or her own baggage of attitudes and views of the world and his or her own personality. But our readers are waiting for objective information. […] The people we write about have the right to be treated correctly, too.” The book also underlines the importance of separating facts from opinions – “News are facts and data. Opinions express the journalists’ and media outlets’ thoughts, ideas, convictions, value judgments. […] We shall insert opinions in an informative material only if they come from an interviewed or quoted source, and never from the reporter.” Last but not least, the Guidelines say that journalists must not allow discrimination based on social category, age, race, gender, ethnicity, etc. “We shall treat men and women in a balanced manner in articles, images, as sources or described social categories. We shall not write ‘A remarkable father takes care of his children alone,’ as parents are equally able to take care of them,” the Guidelines conclude.