Posts Tagged ‘Binnenmigration’

Europa: Medien schüren Xenophobie

Donnerstag, Mai 19th, 2011

“Media Complicit in Rise of Xenophobia

By Zoltán Dujisin

As European leaders increasingly question the concept of Europe without borders and follow each other in announcing the end of multiculturalism, the media response has been mostly to present migrants as destabilising Europe’s labour markets and welfare states.

The role of the media in the worsening image of migrants in Europe was debated in Budapest at a conference titled “Promoting Migrant Integration through Media and Intercultural Dialogue”.

The conference, organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Hungarian Presidency of the European Union, ran from May 16-18, and was aimed at helping media representatives provide fair and balanced coverage of migration issues.

With far-right, anti-immigration parties gaining strength throghout Europe, journalists have been signalled as frequent accomplices to rising xenophobia:

“European public opinion is being pressed with the threat of a migration wave. Both politicians and journalists should recognise their mistakes,” Czech sociologist Ivan Gabal told participants.

Mircea Toma, president of Active Watch, a Romanian media monitory agency, mirrored a similar view: “Journalists often don’t look at events with an eagle eye, but rather with the same perspective as anyone in the population,” he said.

The increasing commercialisation of the mainstream media and the profit imperatives it imposes seem to be at the core of the lowering of quality in media coverage of migration related issues.

“We certainly need some transparency rules to see where the funding is coming from and what are the political groups involved,” Aidan White, former general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists told participants.

“There is a crisis within the media, a financial crisis that is reducing the quality of training, of journalism, and ultimately journalists’ capacity to tell complex stories.”

There is a harsh, competitive environment that is leading editors and journalists to violate codes of ethics. “If anti-immigration writing allows the media to stay in business, the media will go for it,” Milica Pesic, executive director of the U.K.-based Media Diversity Institute warned.

Still, blame should not be placed exclusively on the media, White said. “This is not just a problem of the media. Issues related to economic migration are complex, but lack of courage is leading to an unscrupulous form of politics. We are facing a general problem of societal anxiety about our healthcare, our education and our labour market.”

An anxiety which, participants agreed, has peaked with the Middle East revolts in general, and the Libyan crisis in particular.

Since the beginning of what some have termed the ‘Arab Spring’, “no more than 30,000 people have arrived in Europe, but the reaction has been surprising,” Kinga Goncz, vice-chair of the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee told the conference.

This is not a large number but from reading the media you would think it’s a huge number. There’s a paranoid fear that these people will overburden Europe, while actually some of the economies that are better recovering from the crisis, like Germany’s, require even more migrants,” she said.

The latest crisis has also underlined the ethnocentrism of European media. “Eight hundred thousand people, overwhelmingly migrant workers, have fled from Libya and gone mostly to Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Chad and Algeria. This indeed represents a migration crisis, but it is not affecting Europe yet,” Jean- Philippe Chauzy, head of the IOM’s Media and Communication Unit told IPS.

The message was, however, not that media should portray migrants positively; instead speakers stressed the need to ensure balanced and accurate reporting.

“Journalists have prejudices of their own,” Pesic said. “It’s very important to know the facts, figures and sources, but even when they have them, some papers will go out of their way to mislead.”

Concerns over lack of journalistic ethic were shared by more than one state official: “Journalists often have an agenda, in the ministries we often provide them with correct, written information and they still write it wrong or put things out of context,” Paulina Babis from the Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Policy told IPS.

Yet some questioned why journalists would even begin by approaching officials and not give voice to those who remain mostly voiceless: “Migrants and their organisations should speak for migrants, not government officials,” White said.

“Journalists will go to the easiest available source, they don’t have time for much else. What we need is an alternative sources handbook that should be made available to them,” he suggested.

Journalists, civic actors and international and state officials agreed the solution lies in increased cooperation between the media and other societal actors.

Migration is a complex and changing issue and journalists have less and less time to develop expertise. They don’t have the resources to cover an issue which requires a comprehensive understanding of the context,” Chauzy said, speaking to IPS.

“The present context is one of economic downturn and growing unemployment, which is leading to polarisation. That’s why the media should get all the information it needs: biased coverage is less acceptable in an era when access to information is a lot easier than at any other time in history,” he said. (END)”


(Quelle: IPS News.)

Jemen: Hier tobt der Krieg gegen den Terror – und mehr als ein Drittel der Bevölkerung hungert

Dienstag, Juli 20th, 2010

YEMEN: One-third of Yemenis going hungry

Photo: Adel Yahya/IRIN
Rapid population growth, particularly in rural areas, is one of the causes of food insecurity

SANAA, 19 July 2010 (IRIN) – Water scarcity, rapid population growth and internal conflicts are some of the main factors causing an “alarming state of food insecurity” at national and local levels, a new report has warned.

Rural areas are particularly affected with five times as many food-insecure people as in urban areas, it said.

“If no action is taken, food security is projected to remain at extremely low levels through 2020 and Yemen will remain highly vulnerable to external shocks and disasters,” the report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said.

A study by the World Food Programme* revealed that at the household level, 32.1 percent (7.5 million) of the country’s 23 million people do not have enough food to satisfy their needs – putting Yemen among the 10 most food-insecure countries in the world.

According to the government’s Central Statistical Organization, Yemen has been experiencing a steady decline in grain production since 2007 as a result of internal conflicts, dwindling water resources and the increased cultivation of `qat’, a mildly narcotic, water-thirsty plant chewed by many Yemenis.

Shoura Council member Yahya al-Habbari said 70 percent of Yemen’s arable land is used for growing ‘qat’, while the country “annually imports 2.5 million tons of wheat”.

He also blamed rural-urban migration for worsening food security. “Farmers use water scarcity or reduced rainfall as an excuse to quit farming and migrate to cities in search of other work opportunities,” he said. “This increases Yemen’s dependence on imported grains.”

Photo: Adel Yahya/IRIN
A farmer in Ans District hopes for better rainfall this season to grow wheat

Rural-urban divide

Food insecurity and child malnutrition in rural areas are much worse than in cities, where less than 29 percent of the population live.

According to the report, 37.3 percent of the rural population is food insecure compared to 17.7 percent of the urban population. In addition, 62.1 percent of rural children were stunted compared to 45.4 percent of urban children.

The report attributes two main reasons for this significant difference. Water scarcity, compounded by limited rainfall over the past few years, has greatly affected farming and livestock rearing, the main livelihoods for most rural people.

Yemen is one of the driest countries in the world, with a per capita water consumption of about 125 cubic metres a year, against a global average of 7,500 cubic metres, according to the UN Development Programme’s 2009 Arab Human Development Report.

While incomes have been falling in rural areas, the population has been rapidly growing. “Total fertility is higher in rural areas, where women on average have more than two more children than their urban counterparts; the average rural Yemeni woman will bear almost seven children (6.7), whereas the total fertility rate in urban areas is 4.5,” the report said.

It attributed higher rural fertility rates to limited access to education. Almost 70 percent of those aged 18 and over did not attend school or failed to complete primary school, compared to only 45 percent in urban areas.

For Ahmad Mohammed al-Shaghdari, a 44-year-old farmer from Ans District in Dhamar Governorate, some 100km south of the capital, recent rainfall came too late to save his potato farm.

“We have neither food nor money at home, which is why I resorted to work as a day labourer in Sanaa to provide for my six children. My first week in Sanaa ended with only 1,500 riyals [US$7] spare in my pocket. I still need another 1,500 to send my children half a sack [25kg] of wheat,” he told IRIN.

He said bread and tea had become standard meals for his family and for many others in his area.

According to Ali al-Khawlani, manager of a health centre in Ans District, it is this diet that is responsible for the high rate of malnourished children in villages. “Poor families can give their children alternatives to tea at a lower cost but higher nutritional value, such as fruits and vegetables,” he said. “Water is much healthier and cheaper than tea, but the lack of awareness remains a problem.”


* Corrected on 20 June to attribute this study to the World Food Programme


(Quelle: IRIN News.)