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.

NTRapartamentbuilding
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.

 

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

#WorldRefugeeDay: How Can We Counter Hateful Narratives?


On the occasion of World Refugee Day, we are pleased to share this contribution from our partner Media Diversity Institute.

It is #WorldRefugeeDay. But while the world celebrates refugees’ contributions, it is important to remember that many countries are being more unkind than ever towards refugees, making life even harder than it already is. At MDI, we have a few tips for how to counter those narratives as a media consumer, producer or civil society activist working with the media.

20 June 2019, World Refugee Day

In 2001 the United Nations constituted The World Refugee day , an observance dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.

Starting from this date, every year on  June 20,  organizations and offices of the United Nations system, and most importantly, governments, civil society, the public and private sectors, schools, universities and, more generally, citizens are invited to participate with initiatives and demonstrations of solidarity and adhesion.

This year,  with the initiative  #StepWithRefugees — Take A Step on World Refugee Day , UNHCR literally invites us to put ourselves in the shoes of those who are forced to walk for miles and miles to reach a safe place.

“Together, we are challenging ourselves to cover two billion kilometers in 12 months, just as refugees worldwide do each year to reach the nearest point of safety” we read on the UNHCR site. 

For anyone who wants to take part in this solidarity challenge, a fit app is made available. Through this tool  the kilometers traveled by each walking, jogging or cycling are added to a global counter.

The symbolic goal is to reach the 2 billion  of kilometers amount, which is the distance that refugees around the world have traveled this year. This campaign is reinforced by the testimonies of those who managed to save themselves only following the act of extreme resilience which is walking for very long distances in the most adverse conditions.

The main aim is to build better  and deeper understanding of refugees real condition.

We, as  New Neighbours,  join this wish, with the  purpose to contribute  moving forward with the project .

Are journalists responsible for the negative view of migration?

 Did European media overstate the importance of migration? Do journalists have a negative view of migration? Are journalists responsible for the negative view of migration? Do the media sensationalize that issues in order to sell papers? These  and other questions emerged during the event on fake news, disinformation, and media narratives on migration in the context of the European Parliament elections, held in Brussels by the think tank Friends Of Europe, as a part of its Migration Action programme. 

The over 200 participants (including journalists from across the EU, researchers from the University of Oxford, the Budapest Business School, and the European Journalism Centre)  painted a complex and nuanced picture of the actual European media system.

Several problems were discussed: the new business models of publishing, the online visualization system, the political affiliation of the media, the sensationalist form of the articles .

Here the full article.

How is Germany’s migration policy perceived abroad?

Germany has received international attention when it comes to migration ever since the country’s acceptance of over one million asylum-seekers in 2015. At the eve of the European Elections, while Right-wing populist and nationalist parties were expected  to gain ground, MEDIENDIENST INTEGRATION asked: What significance does Germany’s migration policy have within other countries in Europe and how is it reported on and perceived by the public? Adéla Jurečková  (Director of the Migration Awareness Program, People in Need Czech Republic), Dr. Myria Georgiou  (Professor of Media and Communications, London School of Economics ) and Dr. Bernd Parusel  (Expert for the Swedish National Contact Point of the European Migration Network (EMN) at the Swedish Migration Agency)  tried to answer  telling what is happening in Czech Republic, Greece, United Kingdom  and Sweden.

Unsurprisingly  Germany’s migration policy’s narration  seems to be shaped on local dominant politics discourse. In Czech Republic for example, a large part of the press select and stress German news on terrorism and crimes committed by migrants to create a sort of warning about what happens to those countries that have more permissive migration policies. In  Greece, public opinion seems to be interested above all in the bond that these policies have with the migrants waiting in the Hellenic territory.

You can find the full article here.

NEW NEIGHBOURS – a new project promoting intercultural media spaces

Migration policy is one of the hottest topics on the political agenda of the upcoming European elections on May 23-26, when up to 400 million EU citizens will select their representatives in the European Parliament for the next 5 years. In a climate of increasing populism and disinformation, the New Neighbours website, launched today, aims to provide factual information and real stories on daily life in an intercultural European Union.

According to a recent Eurobarometer survey on integration of immigrants in the European Union, attitudes towards migration differ greatly amongst EU citizens, depending on their nationality, age, level of education and urbanisation, amongst other factors. Overall, respondents tend to overestimate the number of non-EU immigrants: in 19 out of the 28 Member States, people believe that the number of immigrants in their country is twice to three times as high than the real figures.

So how do citizens form their opinions, what sources of information shape local and national discourse? While 39% of Europeans believe that the media representation of immigrants is objective, 36% say it is too negative and 13% don’t know what to think. So, there is huge space for improvement! New Neighbours is collecting good practice and success stories on how to provide factual information on migration, as well as promoting direct participation of migrants and refugees in media production. The website will grow during the life of the project, reinforcing networks and showcasing media outputs produced.

New Neighbours is the most recent piece in a puzzle of European projects and efforts carried out by leading international and national media and civil society organisations to promote responsible journalism and respectful dialogue amongst all members of society. Led by the European Broadcasting Union, the 24-month project runs until the end of 2020 and is producing the third edition of the documentary film series New Neighbours, involving 9 European Public Service Broadcasters from Croatia, Germany, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. The films explore real stories of new encounters between ‘locals’ and ‘newly arrived’ citizens, showing the complexities and richness of intercultural integration processes. In the development of the new series, expected to launch in the autumn of this year, the broadcasters are cooperating with local civil society and community media organisations in order to explore creative angles and ideas.

Alongside the PSM film productions, which build the heart of the New Neighbours project, a series of complementary productions, trainings and research activities are taking place, under the responsibility of the project partners CMFE, COMMIT, COSPE and MDI.

MDI – Media Diversity Institute, with 20+ years of experience in helping to improve reporting on race, ethnicity, religion, human rights and other diversity issues, is training civil society organisations to run their own campaigns and to effectively communicate with journalists to spread constructive stories about migrants and refugees. Through five national Media Skills Trainings for CSOs in Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Germany, civil society activists will have the chance to combine media advocacy with campaigns involving migrants and refugees as well as locals.

CMFE – Community Media Forum Europe, the umbrella organisation representing networks, national federations and projects of the non-profit media sector, is working with experienced migrant community radio and TV producers to train new volunteer media makers in intercultural and multilingual productions. Based on the experiences collected in the Spaces of Inclusion report, exchanges and co-operations between editorial groups in Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, Croatia and Slovenia will take place throughout the project.

COSPE Onlus, a leading Italian NGO promoting fair and sustainable development, global citizenship, intercultural dialogue and human rights, has developed the project website and is coordinating a series of national discussion meetings to challenge racism and discrimination against migrants, minorities, refugees and asylum seekers. COSPE will also organise the final project conference in the autumn of 2020.

COMMIT, leveraging its experience in training and research in the field of community media and life-long learning, is leading the project’s research activities, including national reports and focus groups to explore good practice on media and migration and to assess audience feedback to the New Neighbours films.

Daniela Drastata, chairwoman of the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group commented:

I am delighted we have this great opportunity to see the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group’s documentary collection New Neighbours growing and developing into an EU funded project that now involves organisations known for their excellence in recognising diversity as an opportunity.”

We look forward to seeing the New Neighbours website develop into a reference point for media, policy makers and civil society, and we welcome inputs and materials from all organisations committed to promoting intercultural dialogue and integration.” said Alessia Giannoni, project manager at COSPE Onlus.

New Neighbours is funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

You can follow the project via #newneighbours and www.newneighbours.eu

For further information, please contact:

Nadia Bellardi, CMFE, nadia.bellardi(@)cmfe.eu

New Neighbours around Europe

In the coming weeks New Neighbours project will be presented in important international conferences.

The first occasion will be the DW Global Media Forum 2019 on May 27 in Bonn, Germany.

Some days later Daniela Draštata, Editor and Producer in HRT Croatia and Chairwoman of the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group, will present the New Neighbours project at the Annual Conference of CIRCOM, the European Association of Regional Television, on May 30 in Novi Sad.

The last occasion will be the meeting of the network “Colourful Voices” on June 1, at the yearly Radiocamp organised by German community radios at the Bodensee.  

First workshop for CSOs in Croatia

The New Neighbours project completed its first Media Skills Training for CSOs in Zagreb, Croatia, April 16-18, 2019. One of our project partners, Media Diversity Institute (MDI), organised the three day workshop, which trained Croatian civil society activists in how to more effectively create campaigns, and communicate with journalists to spread constructive stories about migrants and refugees. “There is a large disconnect between people working on sensitive issues, and journalists,” said MDI Social Media Campaigner Nika Jelendorf, who led the training.   Many of the participants expressed frustration at how journalists they had interacted with were no longer interested in covering stories about refugees, or needed a particularly shocking or sensational story in order to see it as newsworthy—even with ongoing human rights abuses.   “The point of this workshop is to help people understand how and why this happens,” Jelendorf continued. “We want the participants to be able to get their message out, while giving to the journalists what they need.”   Croatia is a particularly interesting place for this workshop, given its history during the Balkan wars, and strategic place along the refugee trail. While at the beginning of the current refugee crisis, Croatia was known for being very welcoming towards refugees, the past four years have seen a marked shift in attitudes. Local media is filled with disinformation about migration policies and fear-mongering towards refugees leading to a marked rise in hate crimes. Most recently, refugees trying to cross the border are being pushed back, into Bosnia.   During the workshop, participants were able to brainstorm creative campaigns and initiatives to  keep the conversation about migrants and refugees in the media, and combat the rise in negative media stereotypes by showcasing how refugees and migrants, or “new neighbours,” can be a positive addition to Croatian society.   “A few of the ideas have to do with building campaigns that make parallels between now and thirty years ago, when there were a lot of Croatian migrants and refugees,” Jelendorf shared.   “Some ideas combined media advocacy with activities, helping the CSOs involve in their work both refugees as well as locals.”   Over the next few months, a few of the participants will have a chance to develop these ideas into campaigns. New Neighbours will run similar workshops in Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Germany over the course of the project.