Access to information is saving refugee lives in the Mediterranean


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

When Internews staff arrived in Greece to witness the refugee crisis unfolding on the beaches there, the first thing they noticed was the lack of information available to refugees. There was no basic signage in their own languages telling them where they were, where they should go, and what would happen to them. Internews’ News that Moves project set out to change this, by providing basic information that would help refugees to better understand the realities of their situation.

Internews began by constructing banners on the beaches themselves, informing arriving refugees, in their own languages, what their next steps could be. The next step was to set up an online platform where refugees making their journey could find information to allow them to make safe and sensible decisions.

Internews found that the prevalence of rumours among refugees was having catastrophic impacts. Human traffickers spread rumours that boats would be turned away from the shores if they were intact, leading to refugees puncturing dinghies just before they reached shore. When over 3000 people already drown a year trying to cross the Mediterranean, anything that can be done to reduce this number is crucial. More general rumours revolved around seeking asylum, rules about deportation, and legal advice. News that Moves aims to debunk the mystery and false rumours around these areas, giving people factual, reliable advice and guidance, all in a language that they can understand.

Internews works on the premise that access to information can save lives, and News that Moves provides a space to do that.

News that Moves was a finalist for the Bond 2017 Innovation Award.