Barcelona, 11 and 12 July 2019: Filmmakers brainstorming

Public service broadcasters from throughout Europe have met to share their rough-cut films for the EU-funded New Neighbours project.

The meeting, hosted by the EBU’s Spanish Member RTVE, brought together more than twenty directors and producers from nine broadcasters – RTBF Belgium, HRT Croatia, ČTV Czech Republic, NTR The Netherlands, DW Germany, RAI Italy, RTP Portugal, RTV SLO Slovenia and RTVE Spain – to showcase their documentaries.

NTR team from The Netherlands and participants to the film “The Apartment Building”

Filmmakers could share their opinions about each other’s work to improve the productions. The rough- cut meeting represents a kind of international audience testing that helps directors and producers make their documentaries work for a broad audience. Each broadcaster tells a story with a specific national insight, but the collection works as a series

Series Executive Producer Daniela Drastata explains:

“The collection will give a unique European overview of integration, prejudice, fears and humanity. It will show what it means to be a neighbour. It seems to be very easy to stay in your own bubble and not interact, regardless of who your neighbours are. I think there are many reasons why it is good to know your neighbours: from safety to just living peacefully, and if your neighbours come from a distant culture, those things matter even more, concludes Daniela and stresses: I feel privileged working with so many talented and enthusiastic filmmakers from the whole of Europe who use the same film language and dare to open tough topics.”

Fragment of “On the other side” by RTVE, Spain

Fellow Series Executive Frans Jennekens comments:

“I think these nine documentaries will tell a unique story about changing Europe from the viewpoint of common people who feel their life is, for the first time, influenced by new neighbours, who come from all over the world with different cultures, religions and opinions. This complicated process of integration, of withdrawal and acceptance, is filmed within the microcosmos of ordinary people, in ordinary houses in ordinary streets, I hope the series will give an insight that will be recognized by many viewers.”

Filming in Sutera( CL) for ” Ghost Town”, RAI (Italy)

Christel Goossens, New Neighbours project manager, adds:

“These documentaries are at the heart of the EU-funded project “New Neighbours”, carried out with our partners from community media and civil society organizations. We do hope that these programmes will facilitate a discussion around issues of integration and acceptance”

Picture from Croatian film “Hope House” – HRT

The New Neighbours series will tell moving and exciting stories of present-day Europe, from the picturesque Sicilian village of Sutera which refugees infused with new life to a smart Berlin neighbourhood where local pubs are largely closed to new neighbours, a Barcelona region with a 30% migrant population, where a Pakistani community found their new home and build their own mosque, and a Slovenian village where three Syrian families are introducing huge change.

The series will be released in October and will be broadcasted in nine European countries. It will also provide food for thought at discussions and training sessions that will be held by New Neighbours project consortium partners.


Welcome to Europe: 10 Years on the Way …

The transnational network Welcome to Europe celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The independent, donation-funded initiative was launched in late summer 2009 by noborder activists on the Greek island of Lesbos. The idea was born in order to support refugees and migrants on their difficult journey to and through Europe with useful information and counselling in transit.

As a result, the volunteers began to create multilingual flyers that should provide guidance and overview, e.g. on the Dublin system, asylum procedures, detention and deportation, medical care, access to the labour market, family reunification or legal aid centers in different cities.

The collected materials became the basis for the four-language website , which was set up in 2010 and meanwhile contains a wealth of information in English, French, Arabic and Farsi. Now the webguide has contact points, practical tips and reports for most European countries and North Africa. Many country sections are fed with various thematical chapters about the factual rights and situations in each place.

In addition to the information work, volunteers of Welcome to Europe also participate in numerous other projects and networks dedicated to the protection of refugees and migrants and the right to freedom of movement.

The brochure 10 Years Network Welcome to Europe (PDF in English) offers an informative review on the past decade, highlighting some of the initiative’s milestones and struggles.

Journalism in an age of populism and polarization: lesson from Italian debate in Italy

The study report “Journalism in an age of populism and polarization: lesson from Italian debate in Italy” , is now available online. The study was carried out by the LSE Arena in collaboration with the University Ca ‘Foscari of Venice and the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

This unique work, which lasted for years, involved the analysis of thousands of comments online, with a focus on articles with a migration theme (a sadly instrumentalization-fruitful field ).

The common aim was to develop strategies and good practices to overcome the sensationalist and polarized system in which the world of information seems to have narrowed by now, dynamics that affect democracy and  favor the so-called “populist parties”  and which in part are shaped  by the network architecture itself end by the tech-market:

“The ad-tech market is in turn powered by the algorithmic architecture of the internet and social media, which is skewed towards highly emotive, hyper-partisan material that appeals to existing confirmation biases and feeds more ‘shares’ and ‘likes’. The very architecture of the internet rewards news organizations and individual users who take ever more extreme and polarising positions 1- an algorithmic logic that in turn encourages the ‘populist’ politicians. They, in their turn, create content that mainstream media feels it is obliged to describe….and so the spiral spins on”

we read on the introductive pages of the report.

The main innovative proposal of this research project was to elaborate a new systems for measuring the success of an article: no longer based on likes and sharing but on the ability to be the driving force of a constructive rather than a toxic discourse or in the ability to enhance trust in the audience. In the article we find a detailed analysis of the political and social context and the changing dynamics of the media. Measurements and analysis are carried out in different aspects: content, style, topics of the contents and  data analysis.

A more shared responsibility of the people involved in the information, with respect to the contents disseminated online, can be a way to improve the quality of the news and the attitude of the readers and it is worth looking for increasingly effective strategies.  However, it is clear that to produce actual changes it is the architecture of the Internet itself that must be challenged , as Peter Pomerantsev, Director of LSE Arena Program states in the introductory pages:

“Breaking the polarisation spiral will require, first and foremost, greater public oversight of the algorithms and social media models that currently encourage extremism. Such regulation is already well on its way in Europe, and public pressureis growing in the US. It is important any regulation is not focused on censorship and‘take-downs’, but on encouraging accurate content, high editorial standards and providingpeople with a balanced diet of content rather than encasing them in ‘echo chambers’. Breaking the polarisation spiral will also mean reforming the ad-tech system, to create incentives for content that is not just ‘clickable’, but also fosters more thoughtful engagement. As this report shows, it is possible to consider ‘public service spirited’ metrics ofsuccess, but the environment has to radically change if media are to focus on content that fosters a politics that revolves less around populist personalities, disinformation and polarisation.”

here the full report. 

Refugees in the Media: Best Practices of Rights Based Approach to Journalism .

The panel, organised by the Hrant Dink Foundation in Istanbul, will be held today , July 1st at 18.30.

Journalists and media experts from Turkey and Europe will convey the dimensions of discrimination and hate speech towards refugees in the media and their experiences of struggle.

The panel will begin with an opening presentation of the Hrant Dink Foundation‘s works on media monitoring of hate speech and discriminatory discourse on Syrian refugees. Mike Jempson, founder and director of The MediaWise Trust, who works in the field of journalistic ethics will address the work of promoting fair and accurate representation of refugees in the media as well as encouraging the interaction of refugee communities with the media. Nadia Bellardi, project manager of Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE), will speak about promotion of refugees participation and combatting discrimination through media. Ekin Karaca, co-editor of bianet, will address the importance of a rights-based approach to journalism in order to combat discrimination against refugees. The panel will be moderated by Metin Çorabatır, president of the Research Center on Asylum and Migration (IGAM).

Here more information. The event will be broadcasted live on Facebook