Stimulated by Isa Maggi's reflection on The 27th hour of the Corriere della Sera and, more generally, from the articulation of the public debate – which, unfortunately, cannot fail to follow and adapt to emotional outbursts of the media system (Dominici, 2000 et seq.) - I decided to share this essay of mine, extracted from a Research report, knowing full well to take risks since little fits into the format of a blog post. In this regard, I could have obtained several posts from this single text which, as we will see, is the result of a rigorous and rather demanding comparative study; but I would have made the discourse fragmentary, losing the global and systemic perspective that I have always intended to pursue in my research and training activities. Therefore, I apologize to all for its length (I hope to find, in any case, some brave and motivated reader) - I repeat - I know I'm taking risks but the spirit, as always, is to share, include, involve, get topics and topics out of the "ivory tower" that are too important to remain the domain/territory of the so-called experts/insiders or, even worse, to be left to the drifts of media spectacularization and reductionist explanations.
The essay provides bibliographic references, the regulatory framework, codes of ethics, important documents on the issues under discussion. And a (modest) personal proposal of guidelines for those who work in the field of information and communication.
For those who are interested in reusing the contribution (in volume) or in developing ideas and projects in this regard: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS Reuse and share content, but always cite SOURCES. Copying/reusing without quoting is a serious misconduct (as well as a crime)
The complexity of the matter
This contribution, which intends to offer a critical and systematic re-reading of all the most significant documents produced by the Public Administrations. in the field of gender communication (specifically, manuals, guidelines, handbooks, etc.), it is essentially divided into two parts; in the first, the objective is to contextualize our analysis in the theoretical-normative reference framework, which can also be traced back to international regulations, deontological and self-regulatory codes, to verify "how" and "if" the issue of gender is addressed, and gender perspective, by the main professional categories in the world of information and communication. In the second part of the contribution, instead, the attention will be placed, in particular, on the Guidelines already adopted and disseminated by some Public Administrations, in order to provide a synthesis for problematic points capable of highlighting analogies, contradictions, ambiguity, perspectives etc. Therefore, we will proceed following this outline of discourse: (a) analysis and description of the international and European regulatory framework; (b) analysis and (brief) description of the ethical codes of journalists and communicators; (c) analysis and synthesis (by points) of the main documents produced by the Public Administrations. on gender communication.
The aim is also to try and enrich the classic "toolbox" by providing, starting from comparison, the decoding tools indispensable for the interpretation of a type of complexity which is by now the protagonist of the so-called public and/or institutional communication. Why the type it is undoubtedly a turning point also in the search for a less asymmetrical relationship between the PA and the citizen. In the background, the attempt to define a general theoretical approach, which takes into consideration the deontological issues - closely related to the representation and perception of the issues of type – and the ethics of communication itself, crossing them with concepts, values, practices and strategies attributable to gender institutional communication. Issues related to equal opportunities and others type – and their “publicity/visibility” – constitute an absolutely strategic area of social and cultural change underway at a local and global level where the most important game is played to try to get out of the crisis (not just economic) and rethink to a development paradigm based more on cooperative model than on the competitive one: the match of rights, of the fight against all forms of discrimination, of citizenship as cultural growth and vice versa (Balibar, 2012). This is evidently an area of practice which calls into question the fundamental question of theequality of opportunity and what a scientific literature - moreover, very sensitive to gender issues - now quite articulated, as well as authoritative, defines as the "capacity approach" (capability approach) (Sen, 1992,1999 and 2009; Nussbaum, 1997, 2002 and 2011). Where the capacity they are "substantial freedoms" constituted by opportunities to choose and act, which are themselves defined by the combination of personal skills and political, social and economic background (Dominic, 2005).
An attempt to make a synthesis
The fundamental assumption – we repeat – of our analysis consists in an acknowledgment which, moreover, does not concern only the area of studies and research on gender and equal opportunities: the deontological codes and/or the old ethics of intention – which, in the past, have also inspired documents such as guidelines and/or operating manuals – are no longer sufficient to embrace the complexity of communication and information practices. In terms of the (many) documents analyzed in the field of institutional communication of type, we undoubtedly register numerous analogies and elements of continuity: this aspect involves the multiple levels of discourse and analysis that are described in the texts viewed. Even public communication has to deal with the ethical dimension – not only because regulations and professional codes are a necessary but not sufficient condition – but also because communicating also means “training”, creating the conditions for building a social consensus relating to important social issues and issues, especially in the perspective ofgeneral interest and of public utility (Rolando, 2004); accompany social and cultural change, mediating conflicts and critical issues. And the problem is not only of "communication technique". It is necessary to provide the decision makers, but also to all those involved, the instruments necessary to better design and evaluate forms and ways of communicating, taking into consideration fundamental values and principles. In the field of gender issues and, more generally, of Equal Opportunities, it should be emphasized that, despite having made significant progress in the public discussion, there is still much work to be done and on several problematic levels which do not exclusively concern the non-sexist use of the language (European Parliament, 2009), in any case fundamental at a first level. Print and media, with their own tongue (Dardano, 1994), not to mention advertising, still make extensive use of rhetorical formulas, narration topics, images, clichés that contribute, sometimes unconsciously, to reinforcing stereotypes that are not easy to eradicate from our system of value and cognitive orientation. As already mentioned, then, from the point of view of equal opportunities, any communicative action must refer to some fundamental theoretical principles: equity, transversality And representativeness. Equal opportunities are, in fact, an absolute value to be promoted which calls into question many other fundamental issues. These instances must necessarily have "visibility", but above all be truly representative of the identified and analyzed targets.
Public communication, in addition to taking advantage of the socio-cultural change (Priulla, 2008; Rolando, 2003 and 2004, Rovinetti 2000) assumes, in this sense, an unprecedented strategic importance in the attempt to realize an undoubtedly ambitious project: to promote and develop , not just a gender-conscious institutional communication, but a gender sensitive culture. It is a question of carrying out projects and actions that see the actors involved (in this case, women) as "protagonists" of the change process. Communication campaigns obviously need to be accompanied, paying particular attention to the complexity of educational and socialization processes and involving formal and informal institutions, in a network logic. The actions and strategies of awareness and involvement, functional to the change of cultural climate, can no longer be "dropped from above": on the contrary, they must be built on the empirical knowledge of the recipients but, above all, they must be designed and created together with them (Bertolo, 2005), one could say, habermatically, in an intersubjective way. And this aspect, in our opinion, constitutes the real leap in quality – together with the question of a careful and rigorous evaluation (ex ante, ongoing and ex post) of each action – for a truly efficient Public Administration (Cammelli, 2004) close to the citizens (Mazzoleni, 2003; Priulla, 2008). Nothing can be improvised in communication, especially in such delicate sectors of public life and communities.
The international and European regulatory framework
Therefore, once we have considered the complexity and intrinsic dynamism of the topics dealt with, we can try to develop our discussion starting, as mentioned, from the analysis and (synthetic) description of the documentation and regulatory texts collected and viewed: the aim is to subsequently arrive at a rational and systematic reading of this material. The first element, which is more or less common to all the documents analyzed – also at the level of text structure – is constituted by the fundamental normative references which legitimize and support the action and strategies undertaken in the matter. These are extremely important normative references which demonstrate how these issues must now be "read", analysed, interpreted from a perspective that can only be the international one, at least the European one. As a result of what has been said, one cannot fail to reiterate the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to one issue – the discrimination of type – which, almost paradoxically with respect to what we observe in the media (Capecchi, 2006), advertising and printed paper, constitutes a sensitive issue and is much treated in documents produced above all by the EU institutions:
–UN, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: the text was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 1979. It is a document of fundamental importance which declares, as crucial objectives of the convention, some principles and declarations of intent which will subsequently be adopted by the signatory countries: 1) the condemnation of all forms of discrimination against women; 2) guaranteeing to women, on a basis of full equality with men, the exercise and enjoyment of human rights (!) and fundamental freedoms; 3) the adoption by States of special measures, including the measures provided for in this Convention, aimed at protecting maternity; 4) the modification of schemes and models of socio-cultural behavior of men and women to achieve an elimination of prejudices and customary practices or otherwise, whether they are based on belief in inferiority or of the superiority of one or the other sex or on the idea of stereotypical roles of men and women; 5) the condemnation and repression of traffic and of exploitation of prostitution of women; 6) the elimination of discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country (right to vote, to be elected and to participate in the life of associations, etc.); 7) equal rights in education; 8) equal rights at work; 8) the definition of measures, by the States, against discrimination in the health field, in the economic and social life; 9) finally, particularly significant is Article 15 which reads: "The States parties recognize women's equality with men before the law". It is - as mentioned - a strategic and extraordinarily current document for the problems it embraces and which, unfortunately, still do not find a definitive solution (indeed!). However, the importance of these indications and principles approved and recognized at the level of the United Nations remains which, in that venue, also provided for the establishment of a Committee for the elimination of discrimination against women.
–Strategic objective J2 contained in the Platform for Action of the IV World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, in which the UN recommends the balanced and non-stereotyped representation of women in the mass media;
–Resolution of the European Parliament of 14 October 1987 on the representation of women in the mass media; the resolution underlines the relevance of the portrayal and position of women in the mass media
–Resolution n.1003 of 1 July 1993: approved by the Council of Europe, it focuses attention on the function of journalism and its ethical activity. The importance of the following principles is underlined: control, loyalty and ethical correctness.
–Resolution of the European Parliament (18 January 1994): iThe European Parliament reaffirms the importance of the right to secrecy of sources of information and freedom of the press and professional secrecy.
–Resolution of the Council of Europe of 5 October 1995 concerning the image of men and women in advertising and the media (OJ C 296 of 10/11/1995); this resolution promotes equality in all sectors of social life, explicitly condemning the presence of gender stereotypes.
–Resolution of the European Parliament of 16 September 1997 (A4-0258/97) on the discrimination of women in advertising;
–V Community program (2000-2005) for the promotion of equality and equal opportunities between women and men: the overcoming of negative and stereotyped female images in advertising messages, information and shows broadcast by the mass media is hoped for;
–EC Directive 89/552 Television Without Frontiers Directive (TVWF): the European Union underlines the issue of gender representations in the media, mainly as a need to protect minors. Responsibility of the media in the representation of gender;
–Articles 9 and 10 of the advertising self-regulatory code currently in force in Italy;
–Law 7 June 2000, n. 150 Regulation of the information and communication activities of the Public Administrations.: regulates external communication aimed at citizens, the promotion of broadened and in-depth knowledge on topics of significant public and social interest;
–Objective 3.5 of the Community Framework Strategy (2001-2005): the European Union addresses the issue of discrimination against women in advertising, emphasizing the concept of equality between women and men;
–Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: “A roadmap for equality between women and men” (2006), European Commission: fundamental European document which recognizes the media's strategic role in the fight against gender stereotypes.
–UNICEF, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Committee on the Rights of the Child: it is the Italian translation of the Convention adopted by the United Nations in 1979 and signed by Italy the following year. Explicit objectives of the important document: the elimination of all "forms of distinction, exclusion or limitation based on sex which have the consequence, or purpose, of impairing or destroying the recognition, or enjoyment or exercise, by of women, whatever their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, social, cultural, civil or any other field, on an equal basis between men and women".
–Resolution “How marketing and advertising affect equality between women and men” (2008), European Parliament. Document calling on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to take action against sexist insults and degrading images of women and men in advertising; also in this case, the reference to the use of stereotypes is explicit
–Vademecum to avoid sexist use of languages (March 2009), European Parliament. Document defined by the European Parliament with the aim of avoiding the sexist use of languages. The text Gender neutrality in the language used in the European Parliament, distributed by the European Parliament, places emphasis on “guidelines designed to ensure that gender-neutral language is used as the norm and not as an exception in all parliamentary documents”.
–Survey on self-regulation for advertising and the portrayal of women and men in Europe. Document drawn up by EASA (European Advertising Standard Alliance).
–Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul, 11.05.2011). The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, commonly called the Istanbul Convention, was approved by the Committee of Ministers of the member countries of the Council of Europe on 7 April 2011 and which was opened for signature on 11 May 2011 It is the first legally binding international instrument setting out a comprehensive legal framework aimed at protecting women against all forms of violence. In particular, the declared objectives of this fundamental document – the importance of which is also demonstrated by the significant involvement of countries such as Turkey – are the following: a) to protect women from all forms of violence and to prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women women and domestic violence; (b) contribute to eliminating all forms of discrimination against women and promoting concrete equality between the sexes, including by strengthening women's autonomy and self-determination; (c) prepare a comprehensive framework, policies and measures of protection and assistance for all victims of violence against women and domestic violence; (d) promote international cooperation to eliminate violence against women and domestic violence; (e) support and assist law enforcement organizations and authorities so that they can work together effectively, in order to adopt a integrated approach for the elimination of violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention therefore aims to identify a shared strategy for combating violence against women, but also for its prevention, the protection of the victims and the criminal prosecution of the aggressors. However, in the overall picture of the search for greater equality between women and men, it should be emphasized that the most innovative aspect of the text is represented by the recognition that violence against women is in fact a violation of human rights, as well as a form of discrimination . The Convention recognizes the urgency of coordinated actions, both nationally and internationally, between all the actors involved in taking care of the victims and, at the same time, the need to adequately finance the strategies for the prevention and contrast of the phenomenon . Several other issues addressed: the protection and support of children who witness domestic violence, the criminalization of forced marriages, female genital mutilation, abortion and forced sterilisation. Finally, the recognition of the fundamental role played by civil society and associations should be underlined: it is an important "indicator" of how awareness is gradually increasing that social change can (must) be determined or, better said, triggered by cultural change. Once again, repression and the related mechanisms adopted, while necessary, do not solve the problem, a long-term strategy is needed! In this regard, the Istanbul Convention attributes a strategic function to awareness-raising actions public opinions, with particular attention (a) to the role of the mass media and the information and communication technology sector, even if – perhaps this is a limitation of the document – no explicit reference is made to social media; (b) education actions and campaigns in schools and non-formal education structures; and, last but not least, the emphasis is placed on (c) the training of professional figures. In the background, the emphasis placed on prevention is very clear and particular sensitivity is required of the media in this sense. As known, the image of women provided by the media defines and reproduces numerous gender stereotypes, also providing degrading images. In this perspective, the governments of individual countries are required to push the media towards self-regulation in order to promote respect for and protection of women's dignity.
Let's start with the first document: the 1979 UN convention provides the definition of discrimination against women but does not yet speak of "gender": «For the purposes of this Convention, the expression "discrimination against women" refers to any distinction, exclusion or limitation based on sex, which has the effect, or purpose, of impairing or destroying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political field , economic, social, cultural and civil or in any other field, on the basis of equality between men and women" (UN, 1979). The document condemns discrimination against women in all its forms and intends to promote a policy aimed at eliminating discrimination against them; to get toStrategic goal J2 – always mentioned in documents on gender and equal opportunities – contained in the Action Platform of the IV World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, in which the UN recommended a balanced and non-stereotyped representation of women in the mass media; equally significant are the documents of the European Parliament, above all the Resolution How marketing and advertising affect equality between women and men (2008) and the Handbook to avoid sexist use of languages (March 2009), to arrive at Survey on self-regulation for advertising and the portrayal of women and men in Europe, a document drawn up by EASA (European Advertising Standard Alliance): we can certainly state how much work and production has been done with a view to identifying and defining, in the first place, the forms of gender discrimination (initially, as seen , the term is not even mentioned) and, secondly, to the creation of a neutrality gender in the language and greater attention in the choice of images: attention and precautions taken up and increasingly observed, especially in the documents of the European Parliament. To the means of communication – already protagonists of the processes of social construction (Berger-Luckmann, 1966), of labeling and social inferiorization of diversity (Goffman,1961 and 1963) – a strategic function is evidently recognized also in the deconstruction and fight against gender stereotypes. In short, the European Union addresses the issue of discrimination against women in advertising and the media (and not only), emphasizing the concept of equality between women and men and showing great sensitivity and attention to the issue of gender representations in the media, also as a need to protect the new generations. It explicitly mentions responsibility of the media in the representation of gender (EC Directive 89/552 Television Without Frontiers Directive) and, from this, we unequivocally deduce the perception, as well as the awareness, on the part of the EU institutions, of the relevance of type as a fundamental junction of the economic, social and cultural change in progress. Specifically, it is important to remember that, in 2008, the Bureau implemented some guidelines defined by the EU Parliament – specific for each linguistic context – on the fundamental importance of adopting a neutral language (?) from the point of view of type. The document reads as follows: «Using gender-neutral language means avoiding the use of terms which, insofar as they imply the superiority of one sex over the other, may have a connotation of bias, discrimination or deminutio capitis, since, in most contexts, the sex of the person concerned is or should be irrelevant" (European Parliament, 2008, p.5). However, the same document, in the part entitled Specific guidelines for Italian, after having provided precise practical indications for the drafting of texts, ends with a formula which, moreover, seems to recall very closely those of the deontological codes of journalists on the right/duty to report, always referred to in the margins of all the principles and safeguards foreseen; a formula that highlights, once again, the complexity and ambiguity of these questions and the relative difficulty of identifying possible solutions or "best practices": «Finally, it should be borne in mind that, in the absence of an explicit official pronouncement, as noted above, often the use of masculine and feminine gender is a reflection of one particular sensitivity of the person concerned. There are, for example, women who prefer to use the masculine form of their office or profession. It will therefore be up to the author or the translator to comply with their wishes».
To arrive at today, i.e. the fundamental Istanbul Convention of 11 May 2011, which we have already mentioned, which in chapter III - dedicated to prevention – in Article 17 Participation of the private sector and the mass mediareads as follows: "1) The Parties shall encourage the private sector, the information and communication technology sector and the mass media, while respecting their independence and freedom of expression, to participate in the development and implementation of policies and in the definition of guidelines and of self-regulation rules to prevent violence against women and strengthen respect for their dignity; 2) The Parties shall develop and promote, in cooperation with private sector actors, the capacity of children, parents and teachers to deal with an information and communication environment that enablesaccess to potentially harmful degrading content of a sexual or violent nature".
It certainly appears evident that, beyond the sensitivity and awareness, more or less increased, with respect to the complexity of the problem, the problems raised in the various texts analyzed once again call into question a series of crucial questions importance, also for what concerns the critical issues related to the issues of citizenship and democracy ("equal opportunities" are, from this point of view, a decisive variable): we are obviously referring to freedom, responsibility, training and the skills of those who inform and those who make/produce communication; but also, and above all, to the literacy and skills of the recipients and, more generally, of the audience (on the topic of information and knowledge asymmetries and on the relationship between communication and citizenship, see Dominici 1998, 2005 and 2011). This is, at the same time, the strength and weakness, with the relative nuances, of normative and juridical texts, of professional deontologies and of other types of documents inspired, in any case, by principles of "must be": they are important because set limits/boundaries but show all their weakness in the moment of practical application, since communicative practice, and language itself, are extremely complex and attributable to arbitrary and conventional practices, in turn conditioned by the context (concept of ecosystem of communication), from the system of relationships and from particular situations (Wittgenstein,1953; Jakobson,1966; Searle,1969; Watzlawick et al.,1967; Habermas, 1981; Bandura, 1986) – as we will also see later.
The deontological charters of journalists
We will now review the main deontological codes of journalists, also in this case, in order to verify "how" and "if" the question of type be addressed and, above all, whether it is possible to draw useful indications from it with respect to our initial objectives. We proceed, as before, in chronological order, highlighting the salient features of the analyzed documentation:
–Information and Publicity Paper (April 14, 1988): approved by journalists, advertising agencies and public relations associations (OdG, FNSI, Assorel, Assap, Ferpi, Aisscom, TP), it deals in particular with the role of the journalist and with advertising. The following principles are sanctioned: recognition of advertising messages, prohibition of advertising for speculative purposes, obligation of correctness.
–Treviso Charter (October 5, 1990) - updated with the Vademecum of 1995 and, subsequently, on March 30, 2006 with observations from the Personal Data Protection Authority: approved by FNSI, the Order of Journalists and Telefono Azzurro, it is the first deontological self-regulation document that commits journalists to ethically correct rules and behaviors towards minors. Reaffirmed principles: protection of minors, respect for dignity and the human person, public order, morality and the free mental and moral development of minors.
–Journalist's charter of duties (July 8, 1993) - ref. Law 69 of 1963 – Very important text, it represents the complete statute of professional ethics. Approved by the Order of Journalists and the National Press Federation, it explicitly refers to the following principles/values: prohibition of publishing violent or gruesome images, the obligation to protect the privacy of citizens and, in particular, minors and disabled people or sick. Important are the reference to the distinction between information and advertising and the concept of incompatibility between journalistic work and interests or duties that are in conflict with the rigorous and exclusive search for the truth of the facts. This is the only code of ethics for journalists which, recalling the Constitution, invites the observer of various fundamental values, including non-discrimination by sex: respect for the person, privacy, non-discrimination by race, religion, sex, physical conditions or mental, political opinions, error correction and rectification, the presumption of innocence. Also significant are the references to the duty to maintain professional secrecy and the right of citizens to receive information that is always clearly distinct from advertising.
–Charter of Perugia (January 11, 1995): approved by Council of the Regional Order of Journalists, Regional Federation of Doctors and Regional Order of Psychologists, it is a deontological charter specifically concerning the issue of health communication. Great emphasis is placed on the concept of responsibility.
–Charter Information and Polls (April 7, 1995): memorandum of understanding approved by the Order of Journalists, an association that includes market research institutes (ASSIRM), deals with rules of conduct for the correctness of information on surveys. The journalist must offer the reader all the elements that allow him to critically read the results of the survey.
–Code of ethics relating to the processing of personal data in journalism (26 and 27 March 1998) – ref. Consolidated law on privacy (Legislative Decree 196/2003). It is law as an attachment to 196/2003 and has been approved by the National Council of the Order of Journalists. In this text, the general principle is established that everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him. It deals in a rather ambiguous way with the question of the balance in the delicate relationship between the right to report and the protection of citizens' sphere of privacy. Among the reaffirmed principles: dignity of the interested party, confidentiality, personal identity, right to the protection of personal data.
–TV and minors self-regulation code (November 29, 2002): issued with the Communications Ministry Decree of November 29, 2002, this code protects the minor in his capacity as user and viewer of the television message.
–Europe and information: the Gubbio Charter (May 21, 2004): approved by the Order of Journalists, it establishes the principle of the separation of economic and media power from political power, to safeguard democracy; refers to the concepts of conflict of interest and incompatibility. The following principles are also reaffirmed: freedom of information, freedom of research, freedom of communication, freedom of cultural expression represent irrepressible civil rights for all citizens of the European Union. Recognized the right to access networks.
–Charter of duties of economic information (February 8, 2005): approved by National Council of the Order of Journalists and from Consob, regulates the rules of economic information and defines the principles of accountability and transparency in economic information.
–Code of self-regulation of commentary broadcasts of sporting events (July 25, 2007) – ref.Decree of the Ministry of Communications January 21, 2008 n.36, in Official Journal March 8, 2008, n. 58. Approved by the Ministry of Communications, the Ministry of Youth Policies, the Ministry of Justice and the National Order of Journalists, the Italian National Press Federation, the Italian Sports Press Union, the Italian Federation Publishers Newspapers. It is a code approved after the death of Inspector Raciti and deals with the self-regulation of sports information.
–Charter of Rome (June 12, 2008): approved by National Council of the Order of Journalists and the National Federation of the Press, it is a very important and significant code of ethics concerning information on refugees, asylum seekers, victims of trafficking and migrants. In the document, particular attention is invited to the adoption of legally appropriate terms, adherence to the reality of the facts, avoiding improper terms and the dissemination of information.
–Decalogue of sports journalism (March 31, 2009): approved by the National Council of the Order of Journalists, addresses the issue of the confrontation that journalists have with sports clubs and organizations and with the authorities.
–Code of self-regulation for TV trials (May 22, 2009): approved by the Communications Authority, Agcom, Rai, Mediaset, RTI, Telecom Italia Media, FRT, Aeranti-Corallo Association, Fnsi, Cnog, openly criticizes the show-trials transferred from the courtrooms to television and places the emphasis on the following principles: reference to the difference between news and commentary, between suspects, defendants and convicts, between prosecution and defence, always in full respect of the inviolable rights of person.
–Charter of Florence (November 8, 2011) – dedicated to Pierpaolo Faggiano, a precarious journalist who committed suicide and approved by the National Council of the Order of Journalists. It recalls all the fundamental deontological principles, placing the emphasis on: recognition and respect for the dignity and professional quality of all journalists, employees or external and freelance collaborators. The crucial theme is that of precariousness.
–Charter of duties of the journalist of the press offices (November 10, 2011): document which regulates the activities of the press offices of public and private entities and refers, in particular, to the following principle: autonomy of information regardless of the location of the Press Office within the public or private structure.
From the re-reading of the deontological charters elaborated by the journalistic category, it clearly emerges how the question of "gender" or, in any case, ofgender perspective not addressed in the slightest: only in a few cases (cf. Journalist's Charter of 8 July 1993) have we been able to record an explicit, but generic, reference to the non-discrimination by sex recognized as a fundamental value (also in the Constitution) or the reference to the protection of the sexual sphere of persons (cf. art.11 of the Code of ethics relating to the processing of personal data in the exercise of journalistic activity); for the rest, all the deontological codes (in many cases, this is also evident from the title of the document) do not deal with the gender perspective and related problems, and we are also referring to those elaborated and approved more recently; logically, older documents could not have considered the type – or be drafted from a gender perspective – being a topic, at that time, still little discussed and/or absent from media coverage, as well as from the Italian public debate. In the Charters examined, the reference is always to fundamental principles and values - also from an ethical point of view, as well as deontological-professional - and the emphasis is placed on the various safeguards provided, ranging from the "person" to the minor, to the immigrant, to the protection of victims of trafficking, mental and physical health, etc., with particular relevance assigned to the concept of dignity. Protections and principles that punctually collide, not only in the codes, with the right/duty of reporting. Dimensions, these, absolutely fundamental but - we reiterate - the deontological charters never enter into the merits of the crucial issue we are dealing with, on the contrary they often tend to use a language that some guidelines for gender communication (we will see later) they would have no difficulty in defining "sexist" or, at least, masculine.
However, the attention and sensitivity of the journalistic category to social problems which, from time to time, become central by virtue of the media coverage received: singular, in this sense, the absence of a specific text on gender discrimination which would represent a further step forward in building a shared awareness of type.
The contribution of advertising self-discipline and the communicators' charters
The sector of self-discipline and deontological codes of advertisers is undoubtedly the one that pays the most attention to the problem of gender, showing itself to be particularly sensitive to the relative problems. However, we cannot fail to underline how this aspect constitutes at least a paradox: in fact, while highlighting awareness of the problem and the sector's self-regulatory codes referring to the gender perspective being different, we cannot fail to note that the symbolic universe of advertising continues to use and promote stereotypes, clich?? cliche also concerning the world of work and institutional roles. However, the rules of advertising self-regulation, also promoted by international organizations, have had the indisputable merit of highlighting how advertising messages could, in a more or less correct and/or subliminal way, convey images harmful to the dignity of people, and not just women. In this sense, numerous institutions supervise the effective application of the rules of self-regulation, even if, often, one gets the impression that one is so accustomed to a certain type of advertising message that the threshold of social acceptability has significantly lowered. Here are some important documents in this regard:
–European Advertising Standard Alliance, 1996, Survey on Self-Regulation for Advertising and the Portrayal of Women and Men in Europe, EASA Report, Brussels: in 1996 EASA produced a comparative study on depictions of men and women involving 21 Member States
-Code of ethics for advertising technicians - Ass.Technicians for advertising (March 23, 1996): document that promotes the value of professionalism and correctness;
–Code of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC Code 1997): I point out, in particular, art. 4 “advertising should not permit any form of discrimination, including that based on sex”;
–Recommendation “Image de la Personne Humaine” – Bureau de Vérification de la Publicité, France (2001). The document openly promotes the fight against sexist stereotypes and proposes the concept of "cosification" (reducing women to the function of an object);
–Code of Italian Advertising Self-Regulation (56th ed. 2012) - edited by the Institute of Advertising Self-Regulation (IAP), which verifies the application of rules that are inspired by the Code of the International Chamber of Commerce. Fundamental principles promoted: no to violence, vulgarity and indecency, respect for moral, civil and religious beliefs; in particular, the art. 10 also states that "advertising must respect the dignity of the human person in all its forms and expressions".
–The representation of women on television - Authority for Guarantees in Communications, National Committee of Users (March 2, 2004). The document promotes a different representation of women in the media and invites broadcasters to pay attention to female figures, especially in advertising messages and entertainment programmes.
–Code of ethics and good conduct for public communicators - Italian Association of Public and Institutional Communication: the document underlines in particular the principle of equality of citizens, ensuring "impartiality and independence in the exercise of the tasks and functions entrusted, also in order to guarantee the full implementation of the principle of equal treatment of citizens". We are talking about the pursuit of the public interest and the communication produced must be aimed at this.
–Global Protocol on Ethics in Public Relations – Global Alliance (February 2003): it is a code of ethics and professional behaviour, in which the importance of professional training and awareness of responsibility are recognised.
–Professional principles and codes of conduct of public relations in Italy - Assorel (February 27, 2003): the document deals with the roles, functions and responsibilities of consultants and public relations agencies. Among the deontological principles promoted is respect for the rules and laws of communication.
Guidelines and documents on gender communication: the "Italian case"
Still about thenon-sexist use of language (Sabatini, 1986 and 1987; Lepschy, 1989), it should be emphasized that in our country the issue is still to be developed and this can be understood well from how the media and the press, despite numerous documents (institutional and otherwise) have been produced in merit, they still tend to produce stereotypes and clichés on the feminine gender and to use the masculine with a neutral function (as known, the Italian language does not provide for the neutral gender). From this point of view, in the field of institutional communication, the declination of female positions is already widely used in other European countries, while in Italy it is poorly regulated and, as we have seen, is left to the individual responsibility of the public administrations. Only in 2007, the Ministry for reforms and innovations in the Public Administration and the Minister for Equal Opportunities issued a Directive on measures to implement equality and equal opportunities between men and women in public administration, in which proposals for a non-discriminatory use of the language are defined. All the guidelines analyzed can be traced back to the same texts and documents produced at the European Union level and by professional orders and associations (journalists, communicators, advertisers, etc.). Although it must be remembered that in 1987, by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers - Department for information and publishing - it was published Sexism in the Italian language by Alma Sabatini, a text that provoked an important debate in the world of information and in the academic world, providing a discreet visibility and publicity within the public sphere: it was an analysis that clearly highlighted the link between cultural discrimination and semantic discriminations. It was also later republished by the National Commission for Equality and Equal Opportunities between men and women and is certainly one of the most cited and still adopted contributions. We will now review the most significant documents on guidelines for gender communication, trying to provide a rational and systematic interpretation that allows us to identify strengths and weaknesses, recurring elements and differences:
–Institutional communication and equal opportunities. Guidelines for orientation - ref. Women's Communication Project n. 157568 - Project financed by the Lombardy Region with the contribution of the European Social Fund and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies (http://bit.ly/1MFdc4D): It is a sort of research report, which also presents some data, declaring that it also wants to be a guide for orientation. Among the values promoted and the keywords we mention: overcoming stereotypes, cultural change, gender transversality, equity, representativeness of the targets, inclusive and respectful language of the two genders, involvement of women in the actions.
–Study aimed at the analysis of best practices and the drafting of Guidelines for institutional communication in a gender key, in implementation of Regional Law 7/2007 of the Puglia Region: it is a final research report (2009), complete and well articulated, which starts from the definitions of public communication to arrive at the actions undertaken with reference to gender institutional communication. Declared objectives: to represent and give visibility to both genders; use, in the elaboration of the texts, an inclusive language of the two genres; overcome the instrumental, offensive and outrageous use of the female image; introduce elements in communication projects that give visibility to migratory flows; stimulate the contribution and participation of professional women in the communication project.
–Recommendations for the development of gender-sensitive institutional communication, Koinética, May 2008 edited by REP (Rete Elette Pugliesi): these are agile and extremely concise Guidelines. The principles promoted are: transversality, fairness, representativeness. Practical indications: use multichannel, clarity of messages and, above all, not to disseminate and/or promote an instrumental image of women, paying attention to migrant women. The document speaks of providing "gender glasses".
–Guidelines for the enhancement of gender identity and the female image in institutional communication - Piedmont Region (http://bit.ly/1Awg5gz): also in this case they are Guidelines divided into points, the document is concise and effective; an inclusive language of the two genders is promoted; declination of feminine language and no discrimination, paying attention to multi-ethnicity; urgency to overcome the instrumental, offensive and outrageous use of the female image, understood as a sexual appeal: passive object of desire. We also recall the importance of avoiding offensive terms of gender identity.
–Vademecum for the use of non-sexist language - Province of Milan (http://bit.ly/1Ge2ePQ): in the document particular emphasis is placed on language, even "words to avoid" are indicated; in addition, advice is provided on how to indicate female professions. The language must be broad and flexible.
–I communico. Gender sensitive communication – Province of Milan (http://bit.ly/1FsvJz9): another text edited by the Province of Milan, written in clear language, the text is extremely concise even in declaring the objectives: overcoming stereotypes, promoting cultural change; gender transversality, equity, target representativeness; use of an inclusive and respectful language of the two genders.
–Guidelines on gender-oriented communication. Provincial Equality Councilor of Lodi (http://bit.ly/1Ljvtrc): it should be emphasized that this text was adopted by the National Network of Equality Counselors. These guidelines also return to the same arguments and principles: no to the instrumental use of female images, avoid any sexual reference; make visible subjectivity and female presence in reality; use inclusive language of the two genders; facilitate the inclusion of women of non-Italian origin and culture in the social fabric; stimulate the contribution and participation of professional women in the communication project.
–Guidelines for the enhancement of gender identity and the female image in institutional communication - Municipality of Macerata (http://bit.ly/1CnQwob): Guidelines presented in list form. Essential and practical, they promote the enhancement of gender identity and the female image in institutional communication, overcoming the instrumental, offensive and outrageous use of the female image. Among the indications: offer visibility to both sexes and use inclusive language of the two genders.
–Brief notes on non-sexist language - Commission for Equal Opportunities - Municipality of Sassari (May 25, 2009): these are guidelines that follow, in all respects, even the bibliographic references of the documents described above
The Guidelines and the attempt to make a synthesis: essential characteristics and analogies
The cataloging and analysis of the materials listed and described up to now, relating to gender institutional communication, has allowed us to identify analogies, differences and criticalities of the documents themselves. Meanwhile, there are three particularly evident and significant problematic areas, on the basis of which we have attempted to operate a more systematic analysis: (a) Language and contents (b) Channels and tools (c) Recipients.
On the level of language and content, the Guidelines and the various texts analyzed (on gender communication) have highlighted various elements of continuity, recurring aspects, repeated formulas and, in some ways, themselves stereotyped. We have been able to detect a constant and repeated reference to particular expedients, very similar also in the choice of terms and, even, of adjectives. Below are the most recurring indications and suggestions, real "formulas" characterized by conceptual categories which are also repeated several times:
- use clear and direct language, consistent with the reference target;
- use an inclusive language, avoiding expressions that could be (involuntarily) even offensive, and not only of gender identity (considering ethnicity, culture, etc.);
- avoid terminological incorrectness, paying attention to the exact meaning of words;
- pay attention to the monotonous and repetitive use of crystallized forms and the usual terminology;
-limit the use of rhetorical figures and periphrases;
- limit the use of excessively technical terms and, in any case, explain them;
- pay attention to excessive emotionality in the choice of terms, slogans, titles and comments;
- the structure of the arguments must be clear and logical;
- be careful in the choice and use of images (photos and videos).
- be careful in the choice and use of designs and colors (often, they are always the same, eg pink, purple, etc.);
- the female figure must be presented and depicted not only in traditional roles (interchangeability of roles) and attention must also be paid to the choice of clothing and colors;
- no longer present the female figure as a "sexual attraction" or as an "object of desire" - avoid the "cosification” of the woman;
- the female figures present in the texts must not have a "decorative" function: it is advisable to refer to people, roles, professions, concrete, real situations.
-Also constant is the call to valorise female figures as "independent subjectivities", with an active role in society: it is necessary to avoid stereotyped roles and situations of segregation;
- make the presence of women visible in the decision-making area, enhancing their skills and experience
With respect to communication channels and tools, we have once again found numerous analogies and correspondences also in the adopted vocabulary. Also in this case, we report the most frequently noted and significant points:
- the choice of communication channels is fundamental and must be carried out from a multi-channel perspective;
- the choice of communication channels and tools must be made knowing the behavior and cultural consumption of the reference targets;
- communication actions must use old and new media, online and offline materials;
- it is necessary to be aware of the multiplicity of communication tools that can be used; give precedence to the use of those most accessible to all types of targets;
- the role of the Internet and, in particular, of Web 2.0 is fundamental;
- consider and exploit the opportunities and potential of the new social networks (already used by many public administrations to do customer satisfaction and involve citizens in decisions – for now, especially at the local level);
-in any case, use communication channels capable of reaching all women, paying attention to the most vulnerable groups (elderly women, immigrants, etc.)
With reference to the recipients, the documents analyzed and produced by the public administrations also converge on the definition of medium and long-term strategies:
-stimulate a more in-depth knowledge and sharing of information, themes, actions undertaken among all the institutions and services involved (network logic);
-stimulate a more in-depth knowledge of the phenomena, also on the part of audiences;
-promote theaccess of women to the media both as users and operators;
-involving the protagonists of communication actions and/or campaigns in their planning, implementation and evaluation;
-involve the responsible subjects in the decision-making processes, in a systemic logic.
Beyond deontology. The centrality of the ethical dimension
The description and analysis of the collected documentation certainly puts us in a position to try to provide a critical reading of what emerged; a functional re-reading, why not, also to an approach to complexity that intends to provide elements for a possible evaluation of the numerous texts collected and catalogued. When, in a research of this type and with these aims, the question of identifying possible guidelines for communication on a theme (the type) so historically controversial, one evidently enters an area of practice – not only communicative – whose borders appear less and less defined and recognizable. The problematic area - as we have seen - becomes even more complex in the moment of comparison and confrontation with the deontological codes of journalists, advertisers and communicators. It is a complexity linked to multiple dimensions that requires, in any case, a approach to complexity and a logic that can only be systemic. Because the "gender communication" object is multidimensional and calls into question multiple levels of discourse: in other words, it requires a new epistemological perspective and an analytical capacity more centered on the system of relationships between the variables involved than on the variables themselves (Bateson, 1972). Furthermore, beyond gender communication, that of ethics andAnd deontologistsAnd (intention vs responsibility), it is in itself an extremely slippery and bumpy terrain that does not lend itself in any way to recipes or once-and-for-all solutions. However, that shouldn't stop you from finding a qualitative raising of the level of awareness - by operators and recipients of the actions - with respect to the complexity and critical issues that the information and communication practice entails and which urgently requires broader training. It is not simple, even more so when dealing with the problems of type and, more generally, the implications of a equal democracy still unfinished: there is a concrete risk, as well as not considering all the intervening variables, of confusing the rules in the technical sense with the rules in the ethical sense of informing and communicating (Dominici, 1998); on the other hand, technological innovation tends to increasingly condition the planning and implementation of any communicative action, not only within the gender perspective. Also on this point, attention must be paid: there is a risk of confusing the half with the end, to believe that communication technologies are not only the fundamental organizational infrastructure, but communication itself, losing sight of the problem of skills and power relations.
In other words, the crucial question of a responsible communication watch out for type has become even more urgent but, at the same time – we realized this in our journey – the risk of reducing such a complex and articulated issue to a purely linguistic or technicality in the use of words (Holmes – Meyerhoff, 2003) even if the urgency to identify more adequate and pertinent conceptual terms and categories for the object considered – with the related operational definitions – is real.
This is one of the most recurring elements not only in the guidelines analysed. Moreover, some operating manuals seem, almost paradoxically, in a certain sense to favor the proliferation of stereotypes and prejudices on type, or in any case their strengthening and their capacity for symbolic and cultural mediation. The solution - in our opinion - certainly cannot be in the definition of a "neutral" communication (which would empty the very meaning of communicating), in the adoption of a politically correct language or, even worse, in the identification of new forms of censorship or perhaps "licenses" (Popper, Condry 1994) to be assigned to "correct" communicators, operators and/or journalists; solutions of this type, on the contrary, would be at least misleading and could take the form of a worrying downsizing of the fundamental freedoms to inform and be informed. There are - in our opinion - no other ways out or shortcuts: the crucial point is the rigorous and multidisciplinary training that must go to integrate the traditional technical and technical-linguistic skills, which should already be possessed by the aforementioned professional figures. considerations and having assessed the delicacy of the topic, it is certainly not a simple undertaking - as mentioned - to think about the complexity of informing and communicating, all the more so, in a gender perspective starting from a type of analysis which, in the first instance, has the objective of reducing this complexity, also providing some operational indications for a more professional and concretely responsible exercise of the information and communication activity. Basically, it is a question of identifying the "boundaries" of that communication which, in addition to being clear and effective, must be able to emancipate us, removing the risks of a communication based on dissimulation, that is, oriented towards a particular and partial vision of reality.
There are multiple levels of discourse and levels of analysis to keep together, as confirmed by the analysis of the materials collected; just as there are many disciplinary approaches that allow you to maintain that systemic perspective necessary precisely by virtue of the elusive and ambiguous nature of the object of study. As known, the complex processes of perception (individual and collective) and of social construction/representation of reality – in our case of “genre” – are symbolically mediated by language and communication.
Therefore, in order to be able to reflect on the issue of information and communication ethics (Apel, 1973, 1992, 1997), then providing indications of an operational nature, it is absolutely necessary, not to say preparatory, to first try to clarify some questions concerning the relationship between language and reality and, secondly, the functions that language and communication fulfill within social systems: reduction of complexity, conflict mediation, risk/uncertainty management (Dominici, 2011). To enter into the merits of the analysis, it is possible to immediately substantiate these questions, asking ourselves questions that - we would like to clarify - do not want to represent, and in fact do not represent, the simple reformulation of the well-known aporie of communication ethics (Fabris, 2004) and, more generally, of studies on language and communication. These are questions whose possible answers prove to be, in our opinion, as well as functional, absolutely fundamental for the type of critical reading that we intend to offer. Otherwise, our analysis would risk remaining anchored on a purely descriptive level, inevitably linked only to one (alleged) technical correctness And formal. Even if – it should be clarified – it will not be a question of exhaustive answers, but of suggestions and ideas that would have deserved much further study.
There public communication, not only with respect to gender issues, can no longer afford to neglect the ethical dimension relating to the actions and communication strategies one wishes to undertake. Without calculating the strategic value of the assessment of communication which, in fact, constitutes the real qualitative leap towards a Public Administration that is closer to citizens. It is – we repeat it forcefully – a level of analysis that goes beyond the codes and/or deontological charters of journalists (Viali, 2001) and communicators (Scandaletti, 2003). There are numerous variables to consider: let's try to recall them through a list of questions – absolutely transversal with respect to the various sectors of communication – formulated not in a theoretical-abstract way but on the basis of the analysis of the texts carried out. These are questions that aim to highlight where ambiguity and ambivalence lurk, the extreme difficulty of deontological proposals and guidelines in defining an inevitably complex conceptual, theoretical and methodological framework of reference:
– is language that takes shape starting from the objects to which it refers or is it language that makes its own objects exist, defining them and making them “subjects of knowledge”?
– What is the relationship between language, words and named objects (genre, forms and methods of discrimination, etc.)?
– And to follow: what is the relationship between words, objects and meanings?
– It is possible, in the light of an intrinsically complex and multifaceted nature, to arrive at definition of a "neutral" and equidistant language and communication, absolutely "objective" and able to preserve the principles of correctness, objectivity and responsibility?
– How can we guarantee - specifically, with respect to gender and equal opportunities issues - the values of representativeness, transversality and equity?
-And what can be the contribution (added value) of the ethical perspective and, in particular, of the ethics of responsibility?
- And again: it is possible to find an agreement on the not only semantic but pragmatic dimensions of communicating the type ?
-Finally, and the question is strategic: is there a correlation – we are convinced of it – between training/possession of skills/continuous updating and communicating in an ethically responsible, as well as effective, manner?
For careful communication type: between arbitrariness and ambiguity
As known, the reality in which we live and act is a reality that we tend to perceive as "natural", just as we often identify as "natural" processes which, on the contrary, are "cultural" - outcomes of a process of social construction (Berger – Luckmann, 1966) – and arise from complex dynamics of social production shared codes and symbols. We can certainly say that this empirical reality is the result of a process of unlimited semiosis in which this is totally and completely "labelled": in other words, the world around us comes covered of labels loaded with meaning which in fact activate continuous and incessant interpretative processes even in the absence of an interlocutor. We could say, recalling a famous metaphor by Baudelaire, that we find ourselves projected, almost thrown, inside an immense forest of symbols, in which the decode (interpretation) of simple and complex meanings, manifest and latent, is an operation that is anything but obvious. When we try to to interpret a behaviour, a situation, an image or a text of any kind, perhaps we are never sufficiently aware of the numerous implications and steps (logical, cognitive, semantic and social) that this operation entails. It seems to become an almost instinctive process which, however, follows pre-codified modalities within cultural models hegemon (Dominics). This already happens at a first basic level where words and concepts, in giving a "name" to objects and processes, make it possible to define them in their absence. The statements, on the other hand, perform the function of relating these denominations, creating connections between them that increase the interpretative complexity: in fact, words can only be thought of and decoded within the sentences, texts and concrete situations in which they are used. Therefore, it is not possible to think of isolating and decontextualize words and terms in order to identify a more correct interpretation and/or more convincing semantic dimensions. Likewise, we must be aware that the moment you share a linguistic code, any word, any meaning of the word is in fact a "social product". Conversely, the textual meaning it tends to take the form of precise and concrete, even if defined within the system of rules and values shared in a historical-social context. Another important aspect concerns the different informative value contained in each statement: that is, the relationship between word and “labelled” (named) object never exhausts the fundamental question of its meaning. Also, individual words don't just have a relationship of denotation (name) or reference with the objects they designate, they in a much more articulated way express a sense. These variables cannot be underestimated (De Beaugrande –Dressler, 1994; De Mauro, 20006). Language and communication, therefore, by allowing the sharing of information and knowledge resources, represent the true added value of social action which is essentially characterized as a problem of knowledge and information management. In this sense, the existence of a ethical void (Jonas, 1979) which must necessarily be filled with "new" responsibilities and with a renewed one awareness of the power and functions performed by communication and information within social systems and complex organizations (Invernizzi, 2000).
In the case of our research, it is essentially a challenge that the PP.AA. they cannot afford to lose, perhaps by neglecting their role educational and of aaccompaniment to social change. Communication – together with the affirmation of a culture of communication – can make a decisive contribution to promoting a culture attentive to the type and to the enhancement of differences which could open up further scenarios and perspectives (Bimbi, 2003); but it can also determine the strengthening of those same stereotypes and clichés, not considering the specific characteristics of recipients, tools, situations, contexts, etc.
Before going into considerations and indications of a more specific nature, let us make a general consideration: compared to the analysis conducted on female public communication produced by the Public Administrations. – but the discussion could easily be extended to other problematic areas – there still seems to be a lack of both a true and proper “culture of communication”, understood as service and how sharing of information and knowledge, which, from the point of view of the organizational model, the ability to network, Of make system. Despite some encouraging signs, linked to innovations and regulations on the subject of transparency And access, there are several reports and studies that testify to a delay even in the application of 150/2000. Specifically, the perception, with reference to the materials analysed, is once again that of a substantial weakness or, at least, an inefficiency of communication strategies with reference to type. In the background, the lack of a more general and systematic reflection on institutional communication is evident, which constitutes further confirmation of the cultural lag of the country-system with respect to these issues. It's not just a “communication problem,” the matter is cultural ! With particular reference to institutions, complex organizations, even politics, a reflection on the sense profundity of communicating, a discourse that directly calls into question the guiding principles of public communication (Faccioli, 2000; Grandi, 2001): listening, simplification (Fioritto, 1997), transparency, access, participation, sharing (Arena, 1999), inclusion (Bobbio, 2004), citizenship (democracy). Consequently, a critical analysis must also be made on a type of communication which, too often, seems improvised (at all levels, institutional and otherwise) and can be inscribed in the well-known (unfortunately) emergency logic, which has always marked our country-system. This essentially depends on the fact that communication, in general, and, in our case, public communication (institutional, internal and external, political, social, etc.) still continues to be seen, recognized and, above all, perceived – by operators and not – as one emergency and crisis management tool: a fundamental tool, perhaps indispensable, but to "make/advertise", to promote one's image or, even worse, as a tool to cover the inefficiencies of the organizational systems and/or strategies adopted. We are still far from awareness that "communication is organization" (Dominici 1998 and following) and that any communicative action must be targeted, calibrated, continuous over time (above all) and that it must be subjected to assessment ex ante and ex post. We are still far from being aware, therefore, that public communication can and must certainly inform, educate, raise awareness, determine more correct behaviours: but it can also – and this is the most complex and fascinating aspect – increase the mobilization capacity of vulnerable/discriminated subjects (women, immigrants, homosexuals, the disabled, precarious workers, workers, etc.), providing them with information, knowledge and, more generally, tools to be fully citizens; this, evidently, by increasing the share capital and theempowerment of all the subjects involved (Dominici 1998 and following).
In conclusion, the hope is that communication and training (the Legislator has provided, even recently, some important answers/indications in this regard) can increasingly represent, in the near future, the resources and intangible assets which allow, in general, institutions, social systems and complex organizations and, in the case of our research, public administrations to address social, political and cultural problems by carrying out those vital functions of mediation/management from the forms of conflict and of discrimination. To protect the principle of equal opportunities, also recognized at the constitutional level, and for the concrete realization of a culture attentive and sensitive to gender. All the more reason, in a historical-cultural context such as ours, where the rules and the various forms of legal protection have not been able to eliminate - probably never will be - or, at least, to reduce the various forms of discrimination and, above all, violence against women (the "different", the weak, etc.), communication and training remain absolutely strategic dimensions for social life, politics, for the awakening of a civility capable of affecting perception (individual and collective) and the phenomena of representation and self-representation. There are three levels on which to affect with equally specific strategies: opinions, attitudes and behaviours.
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-A.Rovinetti, Public communication. Know and do, Milan, Il Sole 24 Ore, 2007.
-TO. Sabatini, Recommendations for a non-sexist use of the Italian language. For school and school publishing, Rome, Presidency of the Council of Ministers, 1986.
- A. Sabatini, Sexism and the Italian language, Rome, Presidency of the Council of Ministers, 1987.
-P. Scandaletti (edited by), Codes of ethics for communicators, Rome, Ed. IUSOB UCSI, 2003.
-JR Searle (1969), Speech Acts. An Essay in the Philosophy of Language, trad.it., Speech acts. Philosophy of language essay, Turin, Bollati Boringhieri, 1976.
-A.Sen (1992), Inequality Reexamined, trad.it., Inequality. A critical review, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1994.
-A.Sen (1999), Development as Freedom, trad.it., Development is freedom. Because there is no growth without democracy, Milan, Mondadori, 2000.
-A.Sen (2009), The Idea of Justice, trad.it., The idea of justice, Milan, Mondadori, 2010.
- R. Stella, Media and ethics. Rules and ideas for mass communications, Rome, Donzelli, 2008.
-European Union, White Paper on a European communication policy, 2006.
-A.Viali, Journalist. The profession, the rules, the jurisprudence, Rome, Journalistic Documentation Center, 2001.
-U.Volli, IThe book of communication. What it means to communicate: ideas, tools, models, Milan, The Assayer, 1994.
-U.Volli, Semiotics manual, Rome-Bari, Laterza, 2004.
-P. Watzlawick, J. Helmick Beavin, D. D. Jackson (1967), Pragmatic of Human Communication. A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies, and Paradoxes, trad.it., Pragmatics of human communication. Study of interactive models, pathologies and paradoxes, Rome, Astrolabe, 1971.
-L.Wittgenstein (1953), Philosophical Investigations, trad.it., Philosophical researches, Turin, Einaudi, 1967.
Guidelines and documents on gender communication
- Municipality of Macerata, Guidelines for the enhancement of gender identity and the female image in institutional communication – http://bit.ly/1CnQwob
- Municipality of Sassari, Brief notes on non-sexist language - Commission for Equal Opportunities (May 25, 2009) http://bit.ly/1BpQ9SV
- Provincial Equality Councilor of Lodi, Guidelines on gender-oriented communication. http://bit.ly/1Ljvtrc
-Province of Milan, I communico. Gender sensitive communication http://bit.ly/1FsvJz9
-Province of Milan, Handbook for the use of non-sexist language – http://bit.ly/1Ge2ePQ
-Lombardy region, Institutional communication and equal opportunities. Guidelines for orientation – Women's Communication Project n. 157568 – European Social Fund, Ministry of Labor and Social Policies http://bit.ly/1MFdc4D
-Piemonte region, Guidelines for the enhancement of gender identity and the female image in institutional communication http://bit.ly/1Awg5gz
-Puglia region, Study aimed at the analysis of best practices and the drafting of Guidelines for institutional communication in a gender perspective, in implementation of Regional Law 7/2007.
-Elette Pugliesi Network (edited by), Recommendations for the development of gender-sensitive institutional communication, Koinética, May 2008 http://bit.ly/1Ekbj7i
International and European regulatory framework
–UN, Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women: text adopted by the General Assembly on 18 December 1979.
–UN, Strategic objective J2 contained in the Platform for Action of the IV World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995.
-Resolution of the European Parliament of 14 October 1987 on the representation of women in the mass media.
-Resolution n.1003 of 1 July 1993: approved by the Council of Europe.
-Resolution of the European Parliament (January 18, 1994) on the right to secrecy of sources of information and freedom of the press and professional secrecy
-Resolution of the Council of Europe of 5 October 1995 on the image of men and women in advertising and the media (OJ C 296 of 10/11/1995).
- Resolution of the European Parliament of 16 September 1997 (A4-0258/97) on discrimination against women in advertising;
–V Community programme (2000-2005) for the promotion of equality and equal opportunities between women and men.
-European Union, EC Directive 89/552 Television Without Frontiers Directive (TVWF): highlights the issue of gender representations in the media.
-Law 7 June 2000, n. 150 Regulation of the information and communication activities of the Public Administrations.
-European Union, Objective 3.5 of the Community Framework Strategy (2001-2005): on discrimination against women in advertising
-European Commission, Communication to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: "A roadmap for equality between women and men” (2006).
-UNICEF, Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2006. (Italian translation of the Convention adopted by the United Nations in 1979)
-European Parliament, Resolution How marketing and advertising affect equality between women and men (2008),
-European Parliament, Handbook to avoid sexist use of languages (March 2009),
-European Advertising Standard Alliance, Survey on self-regulation for advertising and the portrayal of women and men in Europe.
The deontological charters of journalists
–Information and Publicity Charter (April 14, 1988): approved by OdG, FNSI, Assorel, Assap, Ferpi, Aisscom, TP.
–Charter of Treviso (October 5, 1990) – updated with the 1995 Vademecum and, subsequently, on 30 March 2006 with observations by the Personal Data Protection Guarantor: approved by FNSI, Order of Journalists and Telefono Azzurro.
–Journalist's charter of duties (July 8, 1993) - ref. Law 69 of 1963 – Order of Journalists and National Federation of the Press
–Charter of Perugia (January 11, 1995), approved by the Council of the Regional Order of Journalists, the Regional Federation of Doctors and the Regional Order of Psychologists.
–Paper Information and Polls (April 7, 1995): memorandum of understanding approved by the Order of Journalists, an association that includes market research institutes (ASSIRM).
–Code of ethics relating to the processing of personal data in journalism (26 and 27 March 1998) – ref. Consolidated text on privacy (Legislative Decree 196/2003).
–TV and minors self-regulatory code (November 29, 2002): issued with the Communications Ministry Decree of 29 November 2002.
–Europe and information: the Gubbio Charter (21 May 2004): approved by the Order of Journalists.
–Charter of duties of economic information (February 8, 2005): approved by the National Council of the Order of Journalists and by Consob.
–Code of self-regulation of commentary broadcasts of sporting events (July 25, 2007) – ref.Decree of the Ministry of Communications January 21, 2008 n.36, in Official Journal March 8, 2008, n. 58. Approved by the Ministry of Communications, the Ministry of Youth Policies, the Ministry of Justice and the National Order of Journalists, the Italian National Press Federation, the Italian Sports Press Union, the Italian Federation of Newspaper Publishers.
–Charter of Rome (June 12, 2008): approved by the National Council of the Order of Journalists and by the National Federation of the Press.
–Decalogue of sports journalism (March 31, 2009): approved by the National Council of the Order of Journalists.
–Code of self-regulation for TV trials (May 22, 2009): approved by the Communications Authority, Agcom, Rai, Mediaset, RTI, Telecom Italia Media, FRT, Aeranti-Corallo Association, Fnsi, Cnog.
–Charter of Florence (November 8, 2011) – dedicated to Pierpaolo Faggiano, a precarious suicidal journalist and approved by the National Council of the Order of Journalists.
–Charter of duties of the journalist of the press offices (November 10, 2011), approved by OdG and FNSI.
Advertising self-regulation documents and communicators' charters
–European Advertising Standard Alliance, 1996, Survey on Self-Regulation for Advertising and the Portrayal of Women and Men in Europe, EASA Report, Brussels 1996.
–Code of ethics for advertising technicians - Advertising technicians association (March 23, 1996):
–International Chamber of Commerce Code (ICC Code 1997)
–Recommendation Image de la Personne Humaine – Bureau de Vérification de la Publicité, France (2001).
–Code of Italian Advertising Self-Regulation (56th ed. 2012) - edited by the Institute of Advertising Self-Regulation (IAP)
–The representation of women on television – Authority for Communications Guarantees, National Committee of Users (March 2, 2004).
–Code of ethics and good conduct of public communicators – Italian Association of Public and Institutional Communication.
–Global Protocol on Ethics in Public Relations – Global Alliance (February 2003).
–Professional principles and codes of conduct of public relations in Italy – Assorel, February 27, 2003.
 In this regard, see the glossary of the European Commission, 100 Words for Equality, Luxembourg (1998), who translated the vocabulary of equal opportunities into all Community languages.