Valletta, the Maltese capital, hosted the Migration Media Award on the 14th of June.
This is a prize given to different media covering migration. 36 journalists born or residents in regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea were given awards for their work covering the theme of migration.
The competition, funded by the European Union was announced in French, English and Arabic. A significant number of professionals from various media organisations participated, attracted by the prospect of their work becoming recognised at an international level, and also attracted by the possibility of receiving much needed financial support, as the profession is currently in crisis since the proliferation of social networks, online media and blogs. Participants from about a dozen countries were among the winners. They hailed from countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, France, Palestine etc.
Migration and the Mediterranean: United for better and for worse
Malta was not chosen by chance as a host. It was strategically chosen, having had the Presidency of the European Union between January and June of this year. When taking over in January, the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat did not hide his intentions to conform and participate actively in all the European migration policies aimed at reducing the influx of illegal migrants entering Europe.
During a summit held in Malta in February, a proposition copied from the EU-Turkey agreement was signed by all the 27 member states which recognised and appreciated how effective the results of this plan were. Compared to the 57,000 arrivals in Greece during February 2016, only 3500 migrants were registered in August of the same year, a mere three months after the agreement was signed. A reduction of 93% is highly attractive for the leaders in Brussels, who still need to find a permanent solution for this crisis which will be here for the long term. The agreement signed in Malta predicted a similar pact with Libya, but Libya post-Gaddafi is a war camp divided into militia over whom nobody seems to have control.
This plan, which predicted the formation of Libyan coastal guards and the improvement of living conditions of transit camp residents was received negatively. This is because of a number of testimonies of migrants who passed from these camps and whose stories of abuse were documented and published in numerous journals and also by the IOM (International Organisation of Migrants).
Who are the winners?
The winners are put in four categories: printed press, online press, video and radio.
♦· The French journalist Elisa Perrigueur won the press category with her article “Hassan and I” in July 2016 in the magazine “Le quatre heures.”
♦The Italian Marco Panzetti won the first prize for video with “In Between trouble Waters”, a short documentary filmed on migrant rescue boats in the Mediterranean.
♦The first prize for radio was won by Catara Santos of Portugal with “Stuck in Europe’s background” broadcast on Rádio Renascença, in May 2016.
♦The English Daniel Trilling won first prize in the written press category with his article “What to do with the people who do make it across” published in the London review of books in October 2015.
The ceremony was organised under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and trade promotion. The competition was held by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). Other partners including EUROMED Migration IV, Open Media Hub and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), all projects which are financed by the European Union.