SLAM is innovative in the current landscape of Capacity Building Youth projects, in view of the following:
– SLAM identifies common challenges between the Western Balkan regions and Europe (mass media stereotyping of migrants and refugees as a legitimizing factor of discrimination and challenge to the establishment of more inclusive societies), carrying out a transnational cooperation wherein the insights from the past experience of West Balkans and connected with the shared challenge presently faced by both regions, extracting a common sensibility and approaches.
– SLAM is innovative in addressing mainstream Mass Media as stand-alone factors in shaping a setting favourable to discrimination and stereotyping against migrants and refugees, thereby providing a complementary approach to the traditional focus on digital media and digital hate speech.
– SLAM provides a model to empower transnational awareness-raising campaigning in the fields of mass media and migration by means of delivering a Seminar wherein mixed groups of youth operators and young people from different partner countries will interact and cooperate with each other to elaborate a coordinated online/offline Social Campaign.
In terms of concrete results, SLAM will produce the below innovation:
1) A Training Format allowing youth operators in partner countries and beyond to empower media literacy of the youth with a specific focus on contrasting mass media stereotyping against migrants and refugees as well as promoting a sensible/inclusive approach in mass media coverage.
2) A Social Campaign carried out at the national and transnational level providing a model for NGOs and civil society actors in Europe and the West Balkans.
3) A network of youth operators and young people connected across partner countries and regions, embodying national and transnational capacities of regular action on project topics.
4) A Guidebook in multiple languages instructing external organizations on how to replicate project process and providing the groundwork for its improvement and/or adaptation to different contexts.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has recently taken a foremost importance as a transit node for migrants and refugees seeking entrance in EU territory, a trend which the UNHCR (2018) recognized as exponentially increasing in 2018, from the 198 arrivals in December 2017 to the 666 registered in the peak month of March 2018. The strain posed on the local relief system by this surge has contributed to a growing sense of local unrest and discontent, which national mass media have so far been able to answer by providing the public with awareness and understanding circa the phenomenon, in many instances providing an amplifier to internal currents of distrust, hate and stereotyping.
From the European perspective, significant indications might be extracted from analysing media coverage about the reception and integration of migrants/refugees. The CoE in its 2017 Report “Media coverage of the refugee crisis: a cross-European perspective” underlines the role played by media in fuelling societal hate speech as consisting in an abetting/legitimacy factor to explicit hate speech brought about by shallow and sensationalistic coverage.
Against this backdrop, there emerges the opportunity of exploring the similarities, differences and potential synthesis among the different yet interrelated challenges faced by West Balkans countries and Europe within a transnational effort aimed at laying the grounds of a greater media literacy and critical thinking at the level of the youth and, by extension, of society as a means to provide an antidote against phenomena of hate speech and a building block of successful integration processes.