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The House of journalists - A home for persecuted journalists & activists

Target Group
  • MIGRATION REASONS OR STATUS
Theme
Topic

Geographic Area

France

City

Paris

Language

French

Type of Information

Case studies

Organisation

La Maison des journalistes

Contact Person

Darline Cothière (Login to send email)

Contact Person Function

Director

Project Start

03/05/2002

Ongoing Project

Yes

Summary

Since 2002, non-profit organisation La Maison des Journalistes - MDJ (the House of journalists) promotes freedom of press and speech by welcoming and supporting persecuted professional journalists, who have been forced to flee their home countries because of their work, and now live in France.

It is a physical refuge located in Paris where foreign journalists as well as activists are offered a temporary home (6 months in average) and the help they need to rebuild their lives.

Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption

The mission of the House of Journalists is to support asylum-seeking and refugee media professionals in their everyday life and help them enter the French labour Market, by offering them opportunities to continue writing and putting them in contact with organisations willing to integrate this special group of refugees.

In addition, it also promotes freedom of press to the general public, particularly pupils and students. Therefore, it collaborates with schools and organises public events such as conferences and debates.

 

How does it work

 MDJ provides different types of help to resident to non-resident journalists and activists in exile:    

  • material: housing, meal tickets and transportation passes;
  • administrative: legal and social assistance to apply for political asylum and obtain housing or health care for example;
  • cultural: activities for integration such as French language classes, free tickets to exhibitions or movie theatres, etc.

In addition, since 2006, MDJ organises Renvoyé Spécial events, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. These are journalistic workshops and conferences that take place in high schools and universities, and during which residents tell their journeys and testimonies of their exile to pupils. Since 2016, a special edition targeting youngsters in judicial protection called Renvoyé Spécial PJJ is organised, in partnership with the ministries of Justice and Communications.

Renvoyé Spécial

Journalists in exile also produce the online newspaper L’oeil de l’exilé in which they inform readers on topics related to their personal experiences, as well as general (inter-) national matters. Partners include important media outlets such as Europe's largest private TV channel TF1 and Magazine Paris Match.

More information on MDJ's activities can be found in this 2015 press Kit.

Results

Since its establishment in 2002, the Maison des Journalistes has housed over 360 journalists from 60 countries. In 2015, MDJ welcomed 34 journalists from 16 different countries: Syria, Afghanistan, Burundi and Iran currently top the list of nationalities.

The website L'oeil de l'exilé receives an average of 300 visitors per day. Despite this practice and other training opportunities, few refugees (around 10%) are finding journalist jobs. This is partially due to the fact that the media sector is currently undergoing a difficult economic situation. Many other journalists in exile do work in close sectors, such as tourism and translation or study topics such as political science, sociology and information technologies. These often continue carrying out journalistic activities for blogs and increasingly Facebook pages, on a voluntary basis.

 

Evaluation

To date, La Maison des Journalistes is a unique organisation in the world, as no similar association has been identified elsewhere. It is has received several awards, including:

Who will benefit?

Journalists in Exile living in France are the main beneficiaries of this initiative. However, through its awareness raising events, the House of Journalists also informs the general public on (violation to) freedom of speech. The online magazine, l'Oeil de l'Exilé also offers first hand testimonies on both the political situation of its authors' countries of origin and their new lives in France.

 

 

 

Source of funding and Resources used

The Maison des journalistes is financially supported:

  • the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF),
  • several French media,
  • international organisations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ),
    Freedom House, People in Need, Civil rights defenders, etc.
  • the City of Paris and
  • private donors