For over three decades, the CIVIS Media Foundation has been focussing on migration, integration, cultural diversity and the portrayal of all this in the electronic media. How TV, radio, Internet and cinema report on the co-existence of people from different backgrounds and cultures in Europe; how they address the issues of racism, anti-Semitism and extremism, as well as strategies to combat hatred and propaganda, are the subject of the European CIVIS Media Prize for Integration and Cultural Diversity. The nominated and award-winning entries of the past 32 years provide an excellent overview of outstanding programme achievements in the electronic media on topics relating to European immigrant society. The programmes also show which aspects of these topics were the focus of media attention at different times.
The new “CIVIS dossier” series summarises nominated and award-winning programme achievements on specific issues for selected current events. The series begins with a review of the past five years, during which a number of entries focussing on mass migration to Europe and its consequences have been nominated for or won the CIVIS Prize.
Five years ago, during the night of 4 to 5 September 2015, Angela Merkel took a decision that still plagues Germany, in particular, as well as other EU states. That night, the Federal Chancellor decided to support Austria in accepting refugees who had made their way west from Budapest station. These people, many of whom came from areas of war and conflict in the Near and Middle East, were followed by hundreds of thousands of other asylum seekers. In Germany alone, their number rose to well over a million.
Back on 31 August 2015, Merkel had already said the following regarding the country’s acceptance, accommodation and treatment of mass migrants: “Germany is a strong country. The motivation with which we approach this matter must be: we have already achieved so much – we can do this! We can do this, and if anything stands in our way, we must work to overcome it.”
This influx of refugees initially triggered a great outpouring of support among the public. And millions of people are still committed to helping refugees. But not long after the decision on 5 September not to close the borders to asylum seekers, a bitter dispute about asylum ensued, which still plagues politics and society today. The events of late summer 2015 also significantly intensified the debates within the European Union about refugee policy. But public focus is also on the question of the integration of those who have fled here since 2015 and their social participation, coexistence between those who have always lived here and those who have just arrived, where this works well and where it could be improved. Many outstanding entries have been submitted for the European CIVIS Media Prize for Integration and Cultural Diversity, which deal with migration to our continent since 2015, its causes, progress and consequences for both refugees and host countries. In the following dossier, the CIVIS Media Foundation highlights TV, radio, cinema and Internet features that have won or been nominated for the CIVIS Media Prize. The award winners of the CIVIS Media Prize 2020 will be announced on 2 October 2020.