New Neighbours – Czech Republic National Meeting

Screenshot from Czech Documentary

National meetings are a structural part of the project of New Neighbours and they are an opportunity for people interested in challenging the narrative around migration, to meet, discuss and learn from each other. 

As part of the project New Neighbours – Promoting Intercultural Media Spaces which took place in the Czech Republic in cooperation with Czech Television and the anthropological Studio Anthropictures, it was organised a screening of two documentaries focusing on migrants’ lives and coexistence with migrants in the Czech Republic and in Germany. The films were provided with English subtitles, the discussion and the foreword have been translated into English.

Schedule of the National Meeting in Prague 

Due to anti-coronavirus safety measures, the number of participants was strictly limited at the offline event. The online event was streamed via Zoom to registered participants.

 This National Meeting was moderated and introduced by Marie Heřmanová and Linda Kovářová, from Anthropictures

Barbora Svobodová Documentary Producer from Czech TV commented on the Czech film, mentioning the difficulties with finding the right respondents. The producer pointed out that the biggest obstacle in Czech Republic was to actually find a family who would fit the profile they needed for the documentary. 

Lucie KellnerovàMedia and Migration expert – commented on how the film was interesting in the way it showed what is not being said – that both girls in the Czech movie only talked about the side of integration they are “good at”, but perhaps most interestingly is what is being unsaid. 

In light of this, a discussion ensued about the different forms of integration – What does it mean to talk to people, learn the language? How can we evaluate if someone is “integrated”? Is it always subjective? 

Angelica, a student from Mexico studying in Prague, asked about the project and why the German and Czech films were chosen to be compared. Marie Heřmanová explained that in Czech media, Germany is often being referred to as an example of both successful/failed integration, it is a neighbouring country and because of there is alack of real examples in the Czech Republic. Other participants echoed that Germany is often being discussed as an example, but many media organisations do not inform about the events regarding migrants in Germany objectively. 

The last part of the discussion focused on media and sources of information about migration and integration: all participants agreed that they think documentary films are a brilliant and an accessible way to open discussion about the topic. On the other side, few of them pointed out that the main challenge is to deliver the message to people who are not interested at all.

New Neighbours Online Webinar: Creating intercultural media narratives

New Neighbours Online Webinar Creating intercultural media narratives

Media professionals are coming together to share what it means to work on intercultural media projects during the New Neighbours online Webinar. Over the past 24 months, the European Broadcasting Union and its project partners CMFE – Community Media Forum Europe, COMMIT, COSPE Onlus and MDI – Media Diversity Institute have been implementing good practices of promoting direct participation of migrants and refugees in European media productions. Now the time has come to look back and ask: what has worked well? What surprised us? And what would have needed more time to fulfil our expectations?

Some answers and lessons learnt will be shared in a 90-minute online conference on Monday, February 22nd, 14:00-15:30 with people behind the EU-funded New Neighbours project. Journalists, community media producers, experts with a migratory background, campaigners and public service media professionals will discuss how to create successful intercultural media projects and why this is pivotal. 

You will hear from:

    • Agnese Papadia, European Commission policy officer at DG Migration
    • Wouter Gekiere, Head of Brussels Office at EBU
    • Anna Meli, Communications Director at COSPE, Florence
    • Rufine Songue and Rouby Baba-Traoré, producers of Our Voice at Radio RDL, Freiburg
    • Selma Cherif and Diana Bota from Mondinsieme, Reggio Emilia
    • Tea Vidović, migration expert at the Centre for Peace Studies (CPS), Zagreb
    • Greta Wessing, co-chair of the Refugee Law Clinic Berlin (RLCB), Berlin
    • Marco Farina, director of Human Rights Youth Organization (HRYO), Italy
    • Marisa Torres da Silva, assistant professor at NOVA University, Lisbon
    • Helmut Peissl, Director of COMMIT, Vienna

The Webinar Creating intercultural media narratives will be moderated from the European Broadcasting Union in Brussels by Jeroen Depraetere, EBU Project Manager, in cooperation with storytelling coach Beatrice Ngalula Kabutakapua, Milica Pesic, MDI Director, and Nadia Bellardi, CMFE Project Coordinator.

The event takes place on Monday, February 22nd, 14:00-15:30 and is free.

To attend, please register here – places are limited

European Court of Human Rights: Greek government agrees to pay compensation for inhumane and degrading living conditions in the Samos „hotspot“

On 21 January 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) published a decision in the case of Ms. H.A through which it confirmed a settlement between the parties. Ethiopian national Ms. H.A. was 6 months pregnant when she arrived to the (Greek) island of Samos where she planned to apply for asylum. Despite her pregnancy, authorities neglected to provide her further material assistance, forcing her to reside in a makeshift shelter in the Samos „hotspot“ for nearly three months. The Greek government agreed to compensate her for any damages that she suffered as a result of the inhumane and degrading living conditions in the camp. However, these conditions have yet to cease, and thousands of people must still endure similar circumstances.

Upon her arrival on Samos in September 2019, Ms. H.A. had to live in a makeshift shelter in the forest (the so-called “jungle”) surrounding the camp. Her tent was shared between nine people and did not provide effective protection from cold and rain nor from rats and snakes. At the time, more than 6,200 asylum seekers were living in the reception facility on Samos, which is designed to host only 650 persons. No adequate sanitary facilities existed, and asylum seekers had to queue for several hours to receive food of very poor quality.

On 18 November 2019, Refugee Law Clinic Berlin e.V. (RLC Berlin) filed a request for an interim measure under Rule 39 of the Rules of the Court on behalf of Ms. H.A. The following day, the ECHR ordered the Greek government to guarantee to H.A. living conditions that were appropriate to her state of health. Her living situation eventually improved in late December 2019.

In the subsequent legal proceedings before the ECHR, Ms. H.A. alleged that Greece had violated the prohibition of inhumane and degrading treatment under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and that the Government’s failure to comply with the interim measure constituted a violation of Article 34 of the Convention. The Greek government agreed to pay a sum of €5,000 to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages to Ms. H.A.

While the settlement prevented a decision on the merits in this case, the Court will have the chance to address the living conditions of asylum seekers in the Samos camp in various other cases that are currently pending. These include: N.E. and others v. Greece (App. No. 8716/20), which concerns the living conditions of several pregnant women on Samos; A.N. Samos, 29.01.2021 and others v. Greece (App. No. 13892/20) which concerns the situation of unaccompanied minors in the camp on Samos; and R.A. and others v. Greece (App. No. 11216/20), which concerns the living conditions of asylum seekers with severe diseases and their access to medical care.

Philipp Schönberger, member of RLC Berlin, explains, ‘We are glad that Ms. H.A. will receive compensation that acknowledges the inhumane treatment she suffered. However, her case is not an isolated one. On Samos alone, the ECHR has granted interim measures in more than 30 cases of pregnant women who were left without any support in those degrading circumstances.’ He concludes, ‘This European policy of deterrence and encampment is resulting in the systematic violations of asylum seekers’ rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. Nobody should be forced to live in the appalling conditions that we continue to observe in the camps on Samos, Lesvos, Chios, Kos and Leros. It is time for Greece and the EU to start taking human rights and human dignity of asylum seekers seriously.’

Refugee Law Clinic Berlin e.V is one of the civili society organisations taking  part of the project New Neighbours. In August 2020 they launched its #AccessToJustice-Campaign in order to promote the legal tool IHaveRights.eu. Daily social media content on RLC Berlin channels highlighted the importance of access to justice for asylum seekers.

Lost in the Atlantic Ocean with Only one God

Lost in the Atlantic Ocean with Only one God

The absurdities of colonial history frame the life of Califa Silas, one of the protagonists of Only one God.  The Portuguese documentary by RTP and the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group, part of the New  Neighbours series, plays in Ponta Delgada on the island of São Miguel, the capital of the Azores  Archipelago.  

Califa was born in Guinea-Bissau when it was still Portuguese Guinea and in his youth served in the  Portuguese native commando forces fighting against liberation insurgents. In an attempt to win the trust  of the indigenous population and curb the independence movements, General António de Spínola had  launched a ‘hearts and minds’ propaganda campaign, including a large increase in recruitment of native  Guineans into the Portuguese armed forces as part of an Africanization strategy. The war in Guinea has  been termed “Portugal’s Vietnam”. Califa grew up feeling Portuguese and was lucky to survive the mass  executions of black Guinea-Bissauan African soldiers carried out after the independence of Portuguese  Guinea had been agreed.  

Stranded in the Azores for ten years, Califa has found comfort in religion. He is one of the members of a  tiny Muslim community which meets in the first and only Mosque of the Archipelago. Most Christian  locals have difficulties relating with a faith and culture they perceive as dramatically different from theirs.  But a neighbour of the mosque, himself stranded in a lonely existence, dares to discover similarities  across spiritual beliefs.  

You can watch “Only one God” subtitled in English here. All nine documentary films are now available  at www.newneighbours.eu/documentaries 

New Neighbours National Meeting in Hamburg

New Neighbours National Meeting in Hamburg

On November the 14th of November 3pm CET, New Neighbours presented its documentaries during one of the national meetings in Hamburg, Germany. 

National meetings are a structural part of the project of New Neighbours and they are an opportunity for people interested in challenging the narrative around migration, to meet, discuss and learn from each other. 

This national meeting in particular was moderated by Larry Macaulay, founder of CMMA2020 and Refugee Radio Network

The Schedule of the National Meeting in Hamburg

The national meeting in Hamburg took place online: it was be live-streamed on Youtube via the platform Kampnagel Digital Platform and will be accessible freely. 

Starting at 3pm CET, the even went on until 5pm CET and saw the participation of several experts. Guest speakers were: 

    • Nadia Bellardi – Project Manager / Partner NN – Community Media Forum Europe – CMFE
    • Bettina Kolb, producer of the documentary Deutsche Welle – DW 
    • Dasa Raimanova, Director of the documentary Deutsche Welle – DW 

While additional panel speakers are: 

    • Nyima Jadama, Journalist from The Gambia – ALEX Offener Kanal Berlin
    • Dasa Raimanova, Director of the documentary – Deutsche Welle
    • Judith Rau / Nadine Jessen Jesseline, founders – New Media Socialism Hamburg
    • Anas Aboura, Activist from Syria, working as a Curator at Kampnagel Hamburg
    • Muller Gracio Manalu,  Artist/Musician from Indonesia Member –  Mirage Band & Projekt Toffi-Hamburg

Screening of New Neighbours Documentary During the National Meeting 

Halfway through the national meeting, one of our documentaries was screened: Across the Road – Worlds Apart which tells the story of Syrian refugees finding a new home in Germany. 

For more information on the national meeting and to access to it, visit the Facebook page

Watch the replay below

New Neighbours at the 3rd Euro-Mediterranean Communicators’ Workshop EUROMED

New Neighbours at the 3rd Euro-Mediterranean Communicators’ Workshop EUROMED

A representative of New Neighbours will share views on a new narrative on migration at the 3rd Euro-Mediterranean Communicators’ Workshop EUROMED. 

3rd Euro-Mediterranean Communicators’ Workshop EUROMED

The 3 rd Euro-Mediterranean Communicators’ Workshop organized by the EUROMED Migration IV project in collaboration with the Club of Venice will focus on the most current challenges to the implementation of balanced migration narratives, the elements that determine effective communication on migration and the future consequences related to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this workshop is to provide practical recommendations from prominent experts in the field that will help practitioners be better aware and prepared for such upcoming strenuous tests.

The context

When asking citizens what migration in the Mediterranean looks like to them today, there is a strong likelihood that the images coming to mind are of refugee camps, border fences, boatloads of asylum seekers or episodes of unsuccessful integration initiatives. Most of the migration-related coverage in the region depicts a situation often described as “out of control1 ” and the prospect for serious, balanced and factual debate among governments, policy makers and citizens on this matter has never been harder. The reality is that the governmental authorities of the countries concerned and directly involved in this complex Mediterranean scenario are doing their utmost to ensure that all migration flows in the Euro-Mediterranean region be regular, legal, safe and documented. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this visual narrative with further sanitary, health and security concerns that significantly affect public perceptions and opinions to migration in the region.

If public perceptions and consequently citizens’ behaviours are the result of “narratives” rather than “reality”, why should governments, public officials and migration policy makers beware of this? Can such a distorted narrative impair actual policy-making? The answer is clearly “yes” and thisis why over the past few years ICMPD and the Club of Venice have tackled the issue of polarized migration narratives by proposing recommendations, organizing high-level events and ultimately running workshops for communicators in the field.

New Neighbours’ Contribution

Nicola Frank, Head of Institutional Relations at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will participate in a roundtable on November the 10th at 2:30pm. 

For more information on the conference and to participate please click here