Journalists and migrations

2016-04-05 23:22

 - media and a united world


movimento dei focolari   



Journalists and migrations

An international project (2016-2017)


January in Budapest (Hungary)

April in Athens (Greece)

June in Lublin (Poland)

June in Man (Ivory Coast)

September in Brussels (Belgium)

November in Beirut (Lebanon)




Next meeting:

Athens, April 9, from 5 pm to 9 pm

Jesuit Kentro Arrupe, JRS ELLADA – 27, Smyrnis street - 10439 Athens




European journalists and other mass media representatives are following the recent wave of immigration with great interest.

This situation is giving rise to important and precise questions about the way in which news and information representatives are covering these events. And, therefore, a necessity is emerging for a discussion among European journalists, with the help of experts, in order to understand the social and political phenomena tied to immigration.

In 2015 immigration from the southern Mediterranean and the Middle East countries noticeably hit much of Europe, after several years in which the usual arrival countries (Greece and Italy, in particular) were left without the needed European support. The international media, and European in particular, after having followed the arrivals for many years without giving due importance to the phenomenon, have now begun to do so. The immigration phenomenon indeed involves all European countries and their peoples. This is revealed both by the growth of welcome initiatives by civil society and governments on the one hand, and by xenophobic and anti-European movements or Euroscepticism on the other.

Journalists often have followed these events with great means, deep interest and undeniable capability. Numerous questions are emerging, nevertheless, about the pattern of journalists’ interests, who are often only in search of getting the scoop, reporting in scandalous tones, and spreading fear, also because the live coverage and reports appear quite different from one European country to another mainly because of different immigration policies pursued by individual governments.



While some countries are more “welcoming,” others have erected barriers to curb the wave of immigration. This latter has had limited results, however, as the  pressure of the wave is so strong, and new transit entries for immigrants are discovered every day.

The hesitancy of European institutions had led governments to act individually instead of together, with some erecting walls, and some setting quotas or closing borders. The Schengen Treaty is on the brink of failure. Following the Hungarian resistance which also involved other countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, after the barriers erected in the Balkans, after negotiations with Turkey, and after the closure of all crossings to the North, Greece, with its devastating economic crisis and hundreds of thousands of refugees only a few miles away from its shores, is, unfortunately, at the center of the international political chessboard.

NetOne, an association of professionals, academics, and communications students inspired by the Focolare, in collaboration with various European and worldwide editions of the Città Nuova magazine, feels particularly involved in the immigration issue. We are, therefore, organizing mini-symposia in different countries to aid in deepening the relationship between journalists and immigration. In January in Budapest, April 9 in Athens, June in Poland and then in the Ivory Coast, in September in Brussels, and in November in Lebanon.

What do we want to do? We want to bring together multinational journalists, politicians, NGOs, and members of various Churches in order to try to understand how  the media should confront the phenomenon of immigration. As an example, German, Italian, Hungarian, and Slovenian journalists met in Hungary earlier this year in order to better understand each other after the recent difficult months. This effort was rewarded with a mutual understanding, resulting in professional commitments and editorial products inspired by a less narrow vision of events and a more open perspective. NetOne believes it is now particularly important to have a meeting in Athens since we, as Europeans, are focusing on what is happening at present at the border with Fyrom.




Pál Tóth (Budapest)-

Michele Zanzucchi (Rome) -

Predy Pizzo (Athens):