THE RELEVANCE OF A BALANCED NARRATIVE ON MIGRATION IN THE EUROMEDITERRANEAN REGION FOR ICMPD
For more than 2000 years the Mediterranean has been a crossroads of endeavour, trade, civilisation and progress, with people constantly on the move between its shores. In recent years its long history as a crossing point has been scarred by the tragic and appalling loss of life that has accompanied the biggest mass movement of people in recent history
Over the last decade, the narrative of migration has taken a dramatically negative turn in Europe and across the globe, which requires analysing how information on migration is conceived, shared and disseminated. According to the study “Public attitudes on Migration: rethinking how people perceive Migration” the type of messages convened through media reporting contributes to shape public attitudes on migration. Information and discussion on migration in the public sphere play an important role in informing people's opinions and perceptions of the migration phenomenon.
Public perception on migration has an impact on policy makers and governments in developing evidence-based migration policies, as demonstrated with in the report “Impact of Public Attitudes to migration on the political environment in the Euro-Mediterranean Region”. A more balanced perception has the potential to lay the groundwork for the development of evidence-based migration policies, reducing issue salience and supporting a less polarised public debate.
In its capacity as an intergovernmental organisation promoting the development of migration policies which are effective, forward-looking, sustainable, and evidence-based, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) is working on a number of initiatives aiming at balancing the narrative on migration, especially in the Mediterranean Region. The developed approach entails three pillars, reflecting the main stakeholder groups targeted:
• The media
• The public
• Policy makers
Migration Media Award - For Journalistic excellence contributing to balance the narrative on Migration in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
The Migration Media Award, an initiative funded by the European Union, was created in 2017 to recognise excellence, relevance, and newsworthiness of journalism pieces contributing to balance the narrative on migration in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The long term objective of the migration media award is to foster coverage and reward outstanding pieces of journalistic work on migration issues, recognising the role media play in balancing the current narrative on migration.
The Migration Media Award is a collaboration of the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) funded programs Euromed Migration IV implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the Open Media Hub led by the Thomson Foundation, in partnership with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Malta and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and with the support of the European Investment Bank (EIB).
ICMPD partners with the Observatory on Public Attitudes on Migration (OPAM – European University Institute) as of 2018 to develop a series of studies targeting not only public attitudes on migration but also how (and if) migration focused public debate influences electoral behaviour and political environment at national and regional level. The first study, published in October 2018 and entitled “Rethinking how people perceive migration - An analysis of existing opinion polls in the Euro-Mediterranean region” provides the necessary research background to develop further recommendations for communicators and policy makers on how to communicate in a more effective, balanced and evidence based way on migration. The recommendations will be developed in the second half of 2019, in the framework of the forthcoming study focusing on the impact of the current narrative on migration on electoral behaviour. The study will be composed of three chapters:
• First Chapter focused on EU Member States (specifically addressing the presence and impact of the issue of migration in past European electoral campaigns)
• Second chapter focused on South Partner Countries (issue salience of migration in SPCs)
• Third chapter on findings (qualitative and quantitative, north and south) on the relationship among values, political attitudes, electoral behaviour, including a section on recommendations for institutional communicators and policy makers on what works while communicating on migration, with a view to enabling evidence based policy responses.
See an interview with James Denisson, Professor at the Migration Policy Centre of the European University Institute, where he leads the Observatory of Public Attitudes to Migration (OPAM) and Danila Chiaro, Project Manager for Euromed Migration IV.
iCMPD cooperates with the Club of Venice (CoV), a 20 years old informal group of Europe’s most senior and experienced government communications professionals.
In 2018, ICMPD and Club of Venice organised the first workshop between communicators of European Union Member States (EU MS) and Southern Partner Countries (SPCs) under the auspices of the Government of the Republic of Tunisia. The workshop brought together migration experts, academics, international organisations and journalists, facilitating dialogue between actors that have limited opportunities to discuss common challenges and present success stories.
The second workshop of communicators was held in Athens, Greece, in November 2019 to build upon the success of the first edition and enable further consolidation of a community of practice of communicators, through further deepening of knowledge and sharing of practice and experience.
Furthermore, together with the government of France, Tunisia, Malta, Egypt, the Thomson Foundation, the European Commission, the UN and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, ICMPD organised two high-level side events at the 73rd UNGA session on “Giving Voice to Evidence - Overcoming a Distorted Narrative on Migration” and at the 43rd session of UN Human Rights Council on “A New Balanced Narrative on Migration”.
MMA Award Ceremony 2019 - Interviews with 1st prize winners:
Why a Migration Media Award
Arabic: 1st prize for Jumana Saadeh
Arabic: 1st prize for Khadija Al Bab
Arabic: 1st prize for Mohamed-Karim Boukhsass
English: 1st prize for Alicia Medina Segura
Online Press Category
Arabic: 1st prize for Mona Allam
Arabic: 1st prize for Maha Salaheldin and Ahmad Ellithy
English: 1st prize and Grand Prix for Roshan de Stone, David Leone Suber and Hannah Kirmes-Daly