First Bosch Alumni Network Conference organized by alumni for alumni: “Balkan Refugee Route” in Belgrade, Serbia
Oct 24, 2017
Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe, hoping to find a place free of war, conflict, religious prosecution, totalitarian regimes and poverty. Populist parties and fringe news outlets are spreading fear and disinformation, causing the anti-refugee sentiment to rise in many EU member states, and influencing policy without factual evidence. At the same time, legitimate concerns seem to be drowned and overshadowed by rumours and false news.
To find solutions for these and other issues and highlight red flags in refugee reporting, more than 60 journalists, NGO-members and policy-makers from 17 different countries gathered in Belgrade, Serbia from October 13-15 to discuss current migration issues and problems plaguing the reporting on refugees and enable better information flow between media in various EU countries.
The conference was organized by six Bosch Alumni Network members of the Media Cluster from Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Serbia, and Turkey.
During a visit to a migrant camp on day one of the conference, participants had the opportunity to talk to individuals who had taken the Balkan Route. In the following days, the participants brought a lot of energy and passion to the many workshops and panel discussions, some of which had been organized by the alumni themselves. At the end of the conference, one thing was clear: It is personal contact and exchange between the participants that matters. And if the three days of the conference are anything to go by, we can expect many more cross-border cooperations in the future.
The next step is already underway: To continue the momentum of the conference, participants agreed to create a “Refugee reporting network”: an open source online platform to share stories and information and ask for verification of information, to improve the quality of reporting on the wider European level.