Voice4Migrants: young journalists for a less judgemental Europe
Fear, hate and disgust: these are the feelings that perhaps the majority of Europeans feel when thinking of migrants, despite the fact that most of them have never actually met a refugee in their lives. While many of us have friends who have lives in other countries for a shorter or longer time, for a lot of people, apprehension towards migrants has become the number one factor to base their decisions upon.
This is why the team of Media4Change decided to publish a Europe-wide competition through which they will pick young and enthusiastic journalists who are able to plan and implement a campaign to challenge the negative image of migrants painted by the media.
The selected participants, who call themselves the change makers, rely on the tools of journalism to fight against the unfavourable perception of migrants.
With five programme points for the future
The project has set five primary goals. First of all, it aims to foster dialogue on policies of migrant integration and reception of refugees across European countries.
Secondly, it hopes to strengthen public understanding of migration issues, integration policies, threat of stigmatization of migrants and its effects.
Thirdly, it sets out to provide migrants and refugees with safe floor to share their experiences with the public on integration policies and how they experienced them.
Besides, it strives to use innovative and suggestive methods to positively influence public opinion makers.
Last, but not least, it aspires to enable European citizens to develop counter-narratives for hate speech and implement campaign which challenges stigmatization of migrants and refugees.
The first steps, and what’s left
As the first step of the project, between 14 and 18 September 2018, the 40 change makers from 8 countries gathered in the Lithuanian village of Antaliepte, where the Innovator’s Valley created by keen local young people served as the venue of the initial round of brainstorming. Here, four subprojects were devised, which will be put into practice during the upcoming meetings.
The first group was working on the creation of an exhibition of non-stereotypical headlines, which will offer refreshing alternatives to the phrases repeated to boredom, while the second group relied on the concept of living libraries to organise a migrant library. In the meantime, the other two groups were busy with coming up with a communications campaign and brainstormed ideas about working with media as a target group. The strategic planning meeting was followed by a press conference, where the young people talked about their plans in front of the Lithuanian media.
Although the core team has already been selected, it is still possible to get involved with the respective phases of the project. Between 8 and 12 May 2019, the change makers are attending a creative workshop in Lithuania, where they will acquire skills indispensable for the project, and between 7 and 11 June, a similar workshop is also taking place in Hungary. If you possess some media skills and are interested in the topic of migration, all you have to do is getting in touch with the Szubjektív Értékek Foundation, who are the Hungarian coordinators of the project. Besides, it is worth retuning to the website of Media4Change every once in a while, where you can get informed about this and similar projects.