CoE reports on role of community media for refugees and migrants

posted on 07 March, 2018   (public)

The study aims at identifying the needs of refugees and migrants and highlights possible responses by community media

The Council of Europe published a report entitled “Spaces of Inclusion - An explorative study on needs of refugees and migrants in the domain of media communication and on responses by community media” which has been prepared by experts of the COMMIT Community Media Institute in Austria.

Based on individual interviews, this qualitative study explores the media habits and particular needs of refugees and migrants in the domain of media communication. Good practice examples show how community media can meet these needs by offering training and spaces for self-representation, and by offering points of entry into local networks. Community media and their bottom-up approach to content production also contribute to a multilingual media environment that reflects the diversity of European societies and includes marginalised communities as respected part of audiences.

  • The first part gives an overview of the concepts of community media as third media sector - beside public service and commercial media - and its definition and recognition by European institutions and UNESCO. The participatory approach to content production leads to the fact that community media manage to include marginalised groups and contribute to community development, social inclusion and intercultural dialogue.
  • In the second section are gathered ethnographic interviews with refugees conducted in 2017 in Austria in order to identify what role media in general and community media in particular play for (recently arrived) refugees and migrants in response to their particular needs and with regard to their human right to freedom of expression, which includes the right to information. Among the central needs expressed, the interviewees highlight the role of networks in general – virtual and face to face – as they afford social capital with regard to problem solving (administrative procedures, access to health care and social welfare, housing etc.).
  • The third section opens an insight to a series of good practice examples across Europe on how refugees and migrants can get active in community media or have set up their own communicative structures to get a voice and to communicate with the broader society.

Finally, based on their findings, the authors propose a list of recommendations for an inclusive media policy with respect to migrants’ and refugees’ right to freedom of expression and access to information.

Source: CoE Freedom of Expression Website