If we simply take the smiles of the prize-winners, nominees and presenters, as well as those of prominent guests from the fields of politics, culture, media and society as a measure of satisfaction and happiness, then the 30th awarding of the European CIVIS Media Prize for Migration, Integration and Cultural Diversity in the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin was a very special and very successful event. Together, all present celebrated outstanding programme-making in radio, television, film and internet, all of which had the goal of promoting peaceful coexistence among different groups in migrant society, raising awareness of different social situation, and also highlighting painful subjects.
The interest on the part of media professionals in the CIVIS Media Prize for Migration, Integration and Cultural Diversity certainly remains very high. A total of 783 programmes from 24 EU states and Switzerland took part in the 2017 competition. The entries competed in 12 categories, 13 winners were eventually chosen, and the winners were honoured at a glamorous TV gala in the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Prizes were won by programmes from ARD, BR, Deutschlandradio, France Télévisions, HR, MDR, NDR, RAI 3, SRF, WDR and the Hamburg Media School.
The fact that the CIVIS Media Prize has long enjoyed great national and international significance can be seen from its patron and its guest list. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel are the patrons of the 2017 CIVIS Media Prize. The Federal Commissioner for Integration, Minister of State Aydan Özoğuz, as well as the Federal Commissioner for Human Rights, Bärbel Kofler, took part in the festive awards ceremony in the Foreign Office. Also at the ceremony: The ARD Chairperson and MDR Director-General Karola Wille, WDR Director-General Tom Buhrow, SRG Director-General Roger de Weck, Deutschlandradio Director-General Willi Steul, the CEO of the Freudenberg Group, Mohsen Sohi, Minu Barati Fischer from the Allianz Deutscher Produzenten, BR Director of Radio Martin Wagner, WDR Director of Television Jörg Schönenborn, and WDR Director of Radio Valerie Weber. The head of the research cooperation between NDR, WDR and SZ, Georg Mascolo, DFB Media Director Ralf Köttker, the TV presenters Ingo Zamperoni (ARD), Frank Elstner (ARD), Anja Reschke (NDR), Dunja Hayali (ZDF), Siham El-Maimouni (WDR), Cherno Jobatey (ZDF) and “Tatort detectives” Harald Krassnitzer (ORF) and Miroslav Nemec (BR), film director Buket Alakus, Michael Loeb (WDR mediagroup), Michael Radix (CIVIS Media Foundation) and other guests also honoured the prize-winners and nominees.
In a world in which Twitter and social networks are becoming ever more important, it is more necessary than ever to confront the countless prejudices and rumours – factually and professionally, but also artistically and creatively – yet without sweeping problems under the carpet, as was demonstrated by the numerous guests at the festive awards ceremony and TV gala, which was broadcast by ARD and several European channels. In his speech, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, patron of the CIVIS Media Prize, highlighted the fact that communication between ethnicities, cultures and faith communities was is one of the fundamental tasks of public radio and television broadcasters. “Here they find a protected space, a thoroughly civil forum. The prizes that are being awarded this year for the thirtieth time by the CIVIS Media Foundation also stand for these free spaces,” said Steinmeier. All of the prize-winning contributions were concerned with how to live together in a society, which rules should apply, how to understand one another and make oneself understood. The Federal President said of the winning contributions that they were “all very impressive”.
For Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, it is important in an age in which a worrying increase in hate speech, populism and fake news in the social media can be observed, to promote programmes that remind us of European values and which make these visible. “Democracy, human dignity, tolerance, freedom and equality represent the core of our Union, and the European CIVIS Media Prize honours formats that convey these values to the outside world,” said Tajani in his speech.
In his speech, Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel urged us to oppose all attempts to divide societies and marginalise people. Ethnic, religious and cultural diversity have long been part of everyday reality in Germany. “Over the decades, our country has become richer and more colourful thanks to immigration,” said Gabriel. The integration of people who migrate to Germany and Europe demands a joint effort on the part of the state and society. In the process, we must believe in its success rather than being guided by despondency or a fear of failure.
The Federal Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, Minister of State Aydan Özoğuz, believes the media society is facing a test. An open society, the established plurality of cultures, and a practised welcome culture are being confronted by fear-ridden resentments, nationalist slogans and a contempt for democracy. The media ends up in the crossfire and is vilified as “Lügenpresse”, the lying press – these are not easy times for responsible journalism. “Therefore, 30 years after its foundation, the CIVIS Media Prize remains just as important as ever: The prize sensitises media professionals and journalists and encourages them to report on matters concerning the diversity of society,” said Özoğuz. The Director-General of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Tom Buhrow, looked back on the initial years of the CIVIS Media Prize. At the time, there were some in Germany who believed that the issue of integration would take care of itself after a brief while. Yet it was right to repeatedly place the topic of integration at the centre of media focus and to encourage media professionals to address various problems in their pieces.
Michael Radix, Executive Director of the CIVIS Media Foundation, praised the quality of the submissions which, with their profound insights, very often reproduced an accurate picture of reality. In view of constant reports about terror attacks, Radix warned that no society can accept hate, racism or discrimination, and added: “We must look closely, also at the dark areas of our parallel society, also in the internet, in which hate and discrimination are very widespread. Misconceived tolerance does not help.”
Below are the prize-winners of the CIVIS Media Prize – the winner of the European Young CIVIS Media Prize and the winner of the CIVIS Special Prize “Football and Integration” were announced previously. The latter prize is also supported by the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund, DFB).
A prerequisite for participants in this prize was that they are training to be journalists in a film and television school, or have been active as journalists for only a short time. The maximum age for applicants is 32. “Different Bayern” by Matthias Koßmehl (HMS/BR) won the prize. It is the story of a professional footballer from Ghana who is sold against his will to a small provincial team in Bavaria. When he arrives at TSV Gretzing he realises that even the First World has fifth-grade football. Instead of his dream of playing in the Champions League with FC Bayern, the Ghanaian footballer must now fight against relegation to the fifth division – with a coach who never wanted him. Gradually, the player and coach realise that they have some things in common. For the jury it is a football satire with frequent and surprising changes in perspective. It raises the question as to who is actually integrating whom. “The visually strong short film plays with false expectations and dissects popular clichés with humour,” said the jury.
The European CIVIS Television Prize in the area of Magazine (short programmes of up to 10 minutes) was won by the magazine entry by the Panorama authors Ben Bolz and Johannes Edelhoff (ARD/NDR), “Alternative für die Politik: Emotionen statt Fakten” [“Alternative to Politics: Emotions instead of facts”]. It is shown here how populists exploit fears, dramatisations and threatening catastrophes in order to mobilise people emotionally. Facts take a back seat, as even the AfD politician Alexander Gauland admits. His party exaggerates certain things, such as the dangers of refugee criminality. In its award rationale, the jury spoke of an “outstanding film contribution”. The highly topical magazine piece “reveals the mechanisms of political speech in a supposedly post-factual age”.
In the production “Lontano dagli occhi/ Aus den Augen” [“Out of Sight”] by Domenico Iannacone and Luca Cambi (RAI 3), the authors provide an insight into Lampedusa, for many refugees the yearned-for entrance to Europe. The dramatic images and reports of one of the greatest shipping disasters force us to take a personal position, to look inside ourselves – without any ideological preconditions or political influence. The reportage shows survivors and also the dead. The jury was deeply impressed by the long, intensive and yet delicate conversations shown.
The reportage illustrates clearly the whole human tragedy behind the thousands of deaths, and transforms dry facts and figures into human fates. The film shows the challenge and also the excessive strain caused by the migration of so many people across the sea. “A deeply human, very moving film – cinematically and dramaturgically top class,” agreed the jury members.
Moving and at the same time impressive is the joint production “Ne m‘abandonne pas/ Gib mich nicht auf” [“Don’t Abandon Me”] from France Télévisions / Scarlett Production/ TV 5 Monde/ RTS/ A Plus Image 6. The authors Francoise Charpiat and Aude Marcle address a taboo topic. Chama forms the centre of their film. The successful student with a very promising future nevertheless succumbs gradually to Islamist radicalisation. Via Skype she marries a jihadist who is taking part in the war in Syria. When Chama also plans to go there, her mother recognises the growing danger and locks herself in, together with her daughter. A bitter confrontation begins. For the jury it is an exciting television drama that addresses current developments and shows in intensive pictures what it means for families when their children become radicalised. “An impressive, moving television film of Europe-wide significance. Highly emotional – a great cinematic and acting achievement,” claimed the jury.
The production “Ayham – mein neues Leben” [“Ayham – my new life”] by Ilona Stämpfli and Marek Beles (SRF Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen), shows the life and flight of the 11-year-old Ayham, who must flee from the war in Syria with his family. A new life begins for the 11 year-old in Switzerland. The first few months are hard, but at school Ayham befriends classmates who like playing football. The coach discovers his talent and arranges a trial for him with the Grasshoppers Club in Zürich. The club takes him into the junior team for a year. The jury was impressed by the integrative power of football, which was demonstrated clearly in the film. Sport brings people together and overcomes borders.
The feature “Bis zum letzten Atemzug. Ultras und die Radikalisierung der Fankultur im Fußball” [“Until the Last Breath. Ultras and the radicalisation of the fan culture in football”] (WDR/Deutschlandradio) illustrates the background of violent confrontations between football fans. The authors Agnese Franceschini and Tom Mustroph show that an explosive mixture of passion, a delight in senseless violence, and extreme right-wing ideology often prevails both inside and outside the stadium. The feature follows the Europe-wide network between right-wing extremism, hooligans and organised crime in Germany and Italy. It confronts with new details and findings, praised the jury, adding: “Highly informative, multifaceted. An excellent achievement in radio.”
The different ways in which football can promote integration is shown by the piece “Together2016 - die Integrationskraft des Fußballs” [“The integrative power of football”] by CoupDoeil Productions GmbH. The interactive video web content presents numerous different experiences of integration in short videos. Unusually, Swiss professional clubs also shared their experiences of integration online in video submissions. The jury regarded the presentation of integration on and beside the football pitch as “highly professional – unusual both formally and in terms of content”.
The audience prize for European feature films in German cinemas that address the issues of migration, integration and cultural diversity was awarded for 2017 to “Vor der Morgenröte” [“Before the Dawn”]. Directed by Maria Schrader, the film shows four stations in the exile of the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. At the height of his worldwide fame, Zweig is forced to emigrate and despairs at the coming downfall of Europe, which he foresees at an early stage. A deep historical examination of the topic of flight, which is also highly topical. For the jury it is a “sensual-opulent historical drama in subtle tones about a great artist in exile”. The intense filmic narrative contains “great actors”.
Fences and flight form the focus of the piece “Vereint und doch getrennt – Familien im Flüchtlingslager” [“United and yet separated – Families in refugee camps”] from the series “Leben unter dem IS” [“Life under IS”] by the Morgenecho from WDR 5. Dramatic scenes are shown at the fences of the refugee camps in northern Iraq. Families find their relatives again, many have not seen each other in a long time. For security reasons they are only allowed to greet each other through the fence. Each man, even teenagers, who wishes to enter the refugee camp is examined for his attitude towards IS and, in some cases, isolated for days. The offensive against IS has triggered a huge flow of refugees. Visually strong and very sensitive images illustrate the reasons why people flee. “Haunting, moving, excellently documented. An outstanding achievement in radio,” emphasised the jury.
In 2017 the CIVIS Radio Prize for long programmes was awarded twice. One of those honoured was the radio play “Jenseits der Kastanien” [“Beyond the Chestnuts”]. In the MDR Kultur production the author Marina Frenk addresses her own integration. Born into a Russian-Jewish family, she came to Germany with her family in 1993, more precisely to Dortmund-Nordstadt. In the midst of the “migrant jungle of the Ruhr region”, as she calls it. Trapped in a mess of identities, language and origin become blurred. The jury was particularly impressed by the strong, intensive voice and the differing and surprising narrative perspective. “Very thoughtful, very funny, very political – simply brilliant,” was the jury’s verdict.
The background piece “Grenzen der Aufklärung - Rechte Gewalt und die Justiz” [“The Limits of the Enlightenment – Right-wing violence and the judiciary”] was also awarded the European CIVIS Radio Prize 2017/Long Programmes. In the piece the authors Angela Fitsch, Ulrich Sonnenschein, Claudia Sautter, and Karen Fuhrmann from hr2-kultur DER TAG examine the NSU process, the legal treatment of right-wing terror in Germany. A look at the 333th day of proceedings reveals the chasm of the right-wing scene, but also the failure of the authorities. “A unique variety of new perspectives, arguments, analyses and approaches,” said the jury, which also stressed the excellent editing and presenting.
The website “Kein Raum für Rechts” [“No Room for the Right”] provides an insight into the room of a young neo-Nazi – swastika flags, right-wing rock CDs, banners, badges, books. It is a vivid warning about the dangers of the extreme right wing. The interactive, multimedia website aims to enlighten and uncover structures and strategies. In its award rationale the jury emphasised above all the preventative character of the website and was very impressed by the “playful approach to political content”. Ultimately, the content is aimed at young people, the largest target group for neo-Nazis. “Extremely intuitive, fun-oriented, of impressive picture quality,” added the jury.
In the submission by the cultural TV programme “Capriccio” (Bayerischer Rundfunk), the Syrian artist Ramo, who fled to Germany, has his say. Surprisingly and with unusual imagery, he addresses common clichés within two-and-a-half minutes, such as why he is not fighting for his country, Syria, and gets to the heart of the situation. The protagonist of the video is self-ironic, pleasant and humorous. “He communicates directly, on an equal footing, without being preachy. An impressive web video – great,” said the jury.