Journalists and media representatives have the potential for depreciating “refugee waves”
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Translation: Fairpress
Refugee crisis represents a syntagm that is often heard in speeches made by officials and can also be found in media reports. In state context, crisis represents a special situation threatening state, national or international security or has already endangered the total safety and stability. Displacement of large number of people (exodus) from states on southern and south – west side looking from European continent, is justly reason for caution by institutions of official state security system, particularly within transitional and final destination countries.

Refugees as security challenge

Most significant reason for additional caution is indeed real global threat of terrorism aimed against modern countries. Namely, devastated, weak and unstable countries, including the countries of origin of most refugees, significant part of political theory and practice are considered as very fertile lands for establishment and operational actions taken by many terrorist organizations. Established refugees corridors have in such situations been considered as potential paths (for passing through) by individuals that belong to such organizations and that eventually may endanger the safety system of any country.

Crisis situations leave an open space for both, official and unofficial state of emergency in affected countries. Used as an excuse with state of emergency being announced, due to apparent threats for the security and safety system in their own countries, these states may take special actions, including the cases of additional security levels of interstate countries.

Despite real potential threats to state security systems, caused by any refugee wave, we cannot neglect the fact that refugee wave is actually the people; civilians seeking safety, security and certain future.

Considering that current refugee crisis actually represents, among other things, the issue of fundamental rights of certain people, the journalists and media world are thus facing the challenges that require particular attention and responsibility taken. If journalism, as profession, approaches this issue on a single- dimension basis, then generalizing and radical (political) attitudes and opinions (within public) towards the refugees are inevitable. Irrationalities, such as making national security policies appear sacral or demonizing the refugees presenting their presence as potential threats on national security, may be eased if approaches on media and journalists’ reports on refugee crisis are made on fair basis, are objective, balanced and sensible as well.

In order to apply ethical standards and more human based reports on biggest crisis victims, accesses to refugees statuses based on provisions used

in international public laws, may be very useful.

Refugees and international law

Emigration comes asa result of forced power that these people had no influence on. Their unstable countries fail to provide them with fundamental existential living conditions. It’s a fact that civilians acquire their rights primarily through their own countries. However, international law provides more details regarding the human rights issues, and, above other things, provides details about the protection of particular categories, including children, women, refugees, ill people and other war casualties.

Official warnings by regional and world’s professional media organizations insist on using the term refugees, which is officially used by UNHCR, reflecting thus the actual and present refugee crisis. The refugee status (displaced persons, muhadjeers, and expatriated persons) is   governed by international acts, particularly the Convention on Refugee Status (Geneva, 28 July 1951), and also including the Protocol of refugee status (New York, 31 January 1967).

International Law defines refugees as persons that unintentionally or organized abandon or leave their countries, due to war/military conflicts or operations in their own country, causing them to  fear and feel unsafe because of political, ideological, national, ethnic, religious or other reasons or theymove from their own countries fearing that they may be executed or being imprisoned. Any state accepting them must not conduct any kind of discrimination against them and must provide them with all rights granted to foreigners living in these countries.  Refugees are fully entitled to acquire property/estate and get legal aid, just like citizens of that country and, according to admitting country’s capacities, refugees are also entitled to get employed and consequently, acquire rights to social security, health care funds, including rights to live in home and get educated in this country as well.

Journalists and media representatives, making reports on refugee crisis have the potential for depreciating “refugee waves”, primarily for refugees as the biggest victims of the story, but also for security matters of affected states. This is possible through a custom application of ethical standards, humanized reporting and a balanced approach. Journalists are facing challenges regarding many endangered people. Critical approach to states decisions made under special circumstances is recommended, as well as promotion of rights of the refugees, primarily respecting them as human beings, in reference to international rights applicable.

Bulletin “E-journalist”/Fairpress



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