The Youth Forum “Refugees and Migrants in the New Media in South-East Europe and Central Europe” aimed to discover how the new media in these regions have been reflecting on the migrant and/or refugee crisis and to what extent they contributed to the promotion of diversity. The Youth Forum took place in Skopje (Macedonia) in the period between 30 March and 1 April 2017.
The Youth forum was the follow-up event within the project You(th) Challenging Diversity: Representation of Minorities in the New Media, aiming to foster European citizenship and improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at Union level. This event tackled yet again the issues of minorities and new media, but mostly in the context of the ongoing migrant and/ or refugee crisis.
The participating countries were strongly affected by the escalating waves of migrants and/ or refugees and these occurrences inevitably shaped media attention. The media as opinion-makers often constructed the image of migrants and/ or refugees through the process of “otherisation”, making a clear distinction between “us” and “them”. However, as a space for open and equal access, they should play a vital role in promoting diversity, tolerance, social affirmation and change.
That being the case, it is essential to keep track of promoting active citizenship, participation and appreciation of differences, instead of creating the so-called “culture of fear” or “fear of the unknown”, based on negative approach towards all minorities, especially towards migrants and/ or refugees. It remains questionable however, whether the new media will follow the pattern of traditional media, or will indeed contribute to an increased societal cohesion and set forth better professional standards.
The complete agenda of the event can be found here.