Effectively communicating and messaging on refugee and migrant issues in a changing environment
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This report summarises a conference on effective ways for civil society organisations from across Europe to engage in public narrative-building and policy-making in the current environment. From their reflections on the challenges in achieving a more balanced perception of migration and current refugee policies, and on how the public narrative is influenced by communication and messaging, a number of key points made it into this report
Participants considered that reaching out to people that are undecided in their views on immigration is essential if the public debate is to move away from polarisation. Messages need to speak to people’s concerns and values. This requires activists to challenge themselves as to how they can best serve the overall cause, rather than focusing on reinforcing accepted certainties.
To do so, civil society actors have a range of advocacy pathways available: from engagement with the process to boycott. In this context, engagement should be based on arguments that are both principled and politically viable. Participants also highlighted the importance of greater partnership and collaboration between civil society organisations themselves, as for organisations that provide services to refugees and migrants for example hold much under-utilised information.
The Conference was jointly organised by the European Programme for Integration and the Migration and the Social Change Initiative in Brussels on 7 and 8 February 2017.