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Abstracts

 

Zakia Abdennebi (Morocco) (English) 
Journalist, Reuters

“Reversed Migration: Spaniards Migrating to Morocco”

Morocco’s strategic location as the door of Africa to Europe has always contributed to a diversification of the country’s population. Morocco’s population is a mixture of Roman peoples, Africans, Arabs and Andalusians. Since its ancient history, Morocco has known diverse groups of immigrants.

 

Over the last few years, thousands of Moroccans and sub-Saharan Africans tried to reach Europe through Morocco, taking advantage of Morocco’s location. Everyone knows the tragic stories of thousands who drowned in the sea while trying to reach Europe in small boats. In Morocco there are villages that have lost hundreds of their young people in the sea.

Since 2007, however, we have started to hear stories of Moroccans coming back from Italy and Spain to do modest business in their country, as they find it difficult to work in these countries in the time of financial crisis. It was a surprise for the local media to hear such news. How did these Moroccans so easily give up the European dream?

Of course there are still others who continue to try and reach Europe. But a new development is that some Europeans now come to Morocco in turn to flee from the crisis. Especially some Spaniards come to the north of Morocco to be close to Ceuta and Melilla, the Spanish enclaves. This case especially concerns the pensioners because their income cannot provide them with a better life in Spain. So they come to Morocco where life is cheaper, especially housing. 

Some of them live in cities like Tetuan or Martil (20 kilometres from Ceuta) to do the shopping in Ceuta, where some goods are better and cheaper. Other people come to work as Spanish teachers, in the arts, in tourism, or as sellers.

Everything is accepted in the time of crisis, and nothing must be stable to the end. The southern countries cannot ‘export’ immigrants forever. The roles can be reversed and the efforts should be joined to take advantage of these changes.

 

Shikiba Babori (Afghanistan/Germany) (German)
Freelance journalist

“Medial Parallel Worlds or Contribution to Integration?”
The Involvement of People with Migration History in the German Media – A Split between Wish and Reality
A Personal Assessment

The fact that German society is an immigration society has not yet established itself in the German media landscape. In the area of film this becomes most apparent: the actor with the Russian accent is often used for the role of the arms dealer. His black colleague gets the role of the drug dealer.

The situation in the field of radio broadcast is not much better: some stations do offer regular programmes and broadcast times for people with a migration background. Beyond that, however, participation in and contribution to the media is still rather difficult for journalists and authors whose parents or who themselves come from a different culture.

Lorenzo Pezzani (Italy) (English)
Forensic architect and scientific employee at Goldsmiths, University of London

“On the Borders of (Human) Rights. Refugees and the ‘Fortress Europe’”
Forensic Oceanography

In this presentation, I will talk about Forensic Oceanography, a research project that I am co-running and that uses new imaging and modelling technologies to document and spatialise cases of violation of the rights of migrants at sea. These new tools have been created in collaboration with NGOs and activists that are seeking accountability for the death of migrants at the militarised maritime borders of Europe. Considered from the point of view of this project, the Mediterranean appears as an arena of conflict, in which a complex field of actors (border police, journalists, maritime traffic specialists, transnational military organisations, activists, migrants) and sensing technologies (extending well beyond a classic understanding of media as news gathering and including cameras, radars, satellites, automated tracking systems, data synthesis systems) contribute in conflictual ways to a regime of ‘regulated visibility’, in which clandestinity and spectacularisation can be productive outcomes of the same logic.

Omar Shoeb (Egypt) (English)
Film director

“The Thin Blue Line. On the Growing Dependency of Traditional Media on Social Media”

The world as we know it has changed quite quickly. Up until a couple of years ago, traditional media relied on its decades-old formula of collecting news and information from its journalists, reporters, stringers and agencies. Now, every single major international or local news network has at least one or two social media related shows, in addition to regular featured social media stories in scheduled news bulletins and recaps.

It is no surprise that this trend, once shunned and downplayed, is now mainstream and commonly accepted given the incredible amount of information processed since early 2011, especially from Middle Eastern and North African countries going through democratic transitions.

Nevertheless, this change in the media mindset faces us with a set of new ethical and logistical challenges for both the media industry and social media users, or citizen journalists, who now compete for priority of pushing forward information.

This lecture focuses on Egyptian media as an example and how for more than a full year, the absolute majority of television networks, newspapers and news portals and websites pulled their information, news updates and breaking stories directly from the people, through the miracle/curse of social media and the challenges of remaining neutral and presenting audiences with accurate information.

This is a first-hand account of my time as the Executive Producer of one of Egypt’s top political nighttime talkshows Baladna Bel-Masry (Our Country, In Egyptian Dialect) which was regarded as the ‘voice of the revolution’ for our active usage of social media, namely Facebook and Twitter, to scavenge information, news and video directly from the ground.

Nursemin Sönmez (Germany) (German)
Project director of “Equal Opportunities” and the study scholarship programme “Mediadiversity, done differently”, Heinrich Böll Foundation

“Media Diversity in Germany. About the Advancement of Young Journalists with Migration Backgrounds”

For more than four years, the Heinrich Böll Foundation has been conducting the study scholarship programme ‘Medienvielfalt, anders’ (Media Diversity, Done Differently) in the context of its study sponsorship for young journalists. The goal of the scholarship programme is to grant students with migration histories and career aspirations in journalism the chance to better prepare themselves for the start of their careers. Its aim is to provide students with networking and exchange opportunities, as well as with contacts in journalism, and to contribute to the diversity in the media as a component of a vibrant democracy.

Prof. Dr. Erol Yildiz (Turkey/Austria) (German)
Sociologist, Chair for Migration and Cultural Education at the Faculty for Cultural Studies of the Alp-Adria University Klagenfurt, Department for Intercultural Education

Migration – An Indispensable Part of Our City Culture

As migrations are as old as mankind, the world’s history can also be seen as a history of migrations. At the beginning of the 21st century, the world seems to have gotten in motion – geographically and politically. This is how migration has become both a requirement and a consequence, as well as a symbol of globalisation.

An important motive that triggered the migration movement particularly in the European and historical context was the ongoing industrialisation. Migration pressed ahead urbanisation and urbanisation processes. City development and urban life cannot be thought of without migration. Cognitive, spatial and social mobility are a basic urban experience and have been shaping big cities since the industrialisation; urban everyday practice appears to be a migration sociological experiment.

The great leaps in the development of cities have always been accompanied by the influx of people who brought new ideas, impulses and perspectives. These and other examples suggest that sedentariness for several generations in an urban context is a myth. Mobility experiences and the associated diversity are a constitutive part of the urban culture. Every third biography in big cities is by now characterised by migration. Due to geographical mobility, families and circles of acquaintances expand across borders. Biographies have global references, which can be referred to as “trivial cosmopolitanism” (Ulrich Beck), a kind of globalisation from below.

It turns out that cities in a globalised world are places where confrontation with migration-based diversity is part of everyday life. They are places of the diverse and the different, at which functional systems are spatially manifested, various lifestyles, environments and milieus arise, and new ways of dealing with the public are steadily invented and tested, consequently urban skills are developed. Migration processes will shape the future life in the cities. It is about time to look at them pragmatically as urban resources.
Instead of predicting the decadence of the metropolises, an unobstructed, dedramatising view on urban plurality seems to be appropriate. It is precisely this all-embracing pluralism that guarantees the long-term appeal of cosmopolitan cities.

Dr. Gualtiero Zambonini (Italy/Germany) (German)
Commissioner for Integration and Cultural Diversity at the WDR

“Image and Distortion. Mass Media in the Immigration Society”

The Germany- and Europe-wide integration debate seems to run contradictorily: on the one hand, the factual evidence of the demographic change with the growing percentage of teenagers with immigration history in the areas of urban agglomeration is widely recognised. Especially in Germany, but also in other, older immigration countries like France, this is increasingly seen as a constitutive factor of the society or even of the nation.

On the other hand, a certain polarisation can still be seen in the public discourse. Its centrepoint is less about the potential, and more about the ‘potential dangers’ that come with this development: the comments of Thilo Sarrazin, former state finance minister and member of the board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, toward citizens of Berlin of Turkish or North-African origin, as well as the discussion surrounding the new book by Heinz Buschkowsky, Neukölln ist überall (‘Neukölln is Everywhere’), and generally the debate about values and thresholds of tolerance toward extremely religious Muslims. All these are indicators of a complex development that exponentiates the interplay between internal and external political spaces in times of economic crisis and global trouble spots.

Everyday culture as well as the civil society activities of different people on local or regional scale have however acquired a more pragmatic approach: this development contradicts the dramatisation and scandalisation tendencies in public discourse. A broad and effective network is formed, often excluding said public, that reflexively and repeatedly searches for proof of its own existential orientation.

The media reflect this discrepancy: on the one hand, they escalate the tolerance debate, repeatedly reporting on and making headlines of extreme occurrences and positions. On the other hand, especially the public-service broadcasters open up discussion space for a relaxed treatment of subjects and conflicts of the immigration society and they more and more reflect the real living conditions as onscreen normality – mostly in the local news coverage, but also in the fictional and documentary areas.

The future integration debate across Germany and Europe will probably develop along two baselines: the question of education and the question of values.

Politics and economics have long since understood that the lack of skilled specialists is and will stay a major problem in global competition. For the highly qualified, Germany has become less attractive in international comparison for some time now. Even those educated in Germany more and more try to pursue their career chances abroad. This is also true for the highly qualified with an immigration history, as they often have an even stronger tendency toward mobility and flexibility because of their bicultural background. In view of this, Germany has to realise its potential and become an attractive immigration country for skilled specialists – not least through fostering a friendly integration-political climate. The question of education is thus a key topic of integration and location policy.

The European public has difficulties recognising the growing number of immigrants with Islamic roots as a normality in Europe and regarding them with differentiation. This creates areas of tension. The media take up on these and sometimes purposefully or accidentally escalate them. The value question will increasingly revolve around the question what common foundation holds a society together that is becoming more and more divers in ethnic, cultural, religious, as well as group-specific and individual ways of life. This question will not stop at national or continental borders. The global networking of commerce and communication will have immediate effects on development processes inland and vice versa: changes in domestic politics will in some cases have simultaneous, international effects.