By Nyima Jadama
The Refugee Radio Network (RRN) has organised its first conference on Migration and
Media Awareness. The conference, which was a dialogue for media practitioners, policy
makers, activist and migrants / refugees was held in Harmburg, Germany.
The confab was organised from November 23-25 by Germany’s first Refugee Radio
Network together with Kampnagel Internationale Kulturfabrik and Arbeitsgemeinschaft
Radio e.v in Hamburg, supported by Schöpflin Stiftung, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Council of
Europe, AMARC Europe etc.
The objective of the conference was to create a forum that brings together community
media projects promoted by migrants/refugees and mainstream media in a form of panel
discussions, workshops and exhibitions. The organisers of the 2017 'Confab on Media and
Migration Awareness' dubbed CMMA 2017, realised the importance of community media
in the promotion of freedom of expression, production of counter alternatives, and
promotion of media pluralism and diversity, and they invited over 250 participants from
Europe, Africa, Canada and India.
Speaking at the conference, the Nigerian-born based in Hamburg, Larry Macauley,
recalled that a year before the so-called migration crisis in 2015, he has been trying to
raise awareness of the struggles faced by migrants, creating a platform for the less
privileged. He said his campaign has now become a household name for what has
become a backed-up for many marginalised, to ensure that their voices are heard. This
campaign, he revealed, started with a trailblazing online platform for Germany’s refugee
However, he stated, there is still a long way to go, although during the past three years
there have been progress in migrants and minority representation in the conversation over
refugee integration in Europe. He observed that the mainstream media has increasingly
been propagating a negative narrative of refugees. This, he said, has made the role of the
Refugee Radio Network even stronger by taking the bull by the horn.
Mr. Macauley explained that the RRN team further deemed it necessary to challenge the
political class and their structures or policies harder by trying to find their ways in decision
making concerning migrants and refugees.
“We never wait for opportunities to arise. We go for them instead because we believe that
no one can tell our stories better than us. In the past two years; I did manage to attend
various discussions and conferences on migration and refugee issues across Europe, a lot
was discussed, recommendations were made and of course ways and solutions of tackling
the migration crises were always at the helm of many discussions,“ he remarked.
The two-day conference gave participants the opportunity to engage into intensive
discussions about the political atmosphere and people's opinion in the era of the ‘post-
Participants shared ideas and experiences and developed strategies with the goal of using
positive counter-narratives, social engagement and creative strategies borned out of the
experience of exile to counter negative media stories about immigration and migration,
fake news, media against hate, the language and etiquette of refugee reporting,
statements, and petitions, etc.