Disseminating Reliable Information to Refugees: Migrant TV Project
The project in brief
The project is implemented by Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) IN Türkiye. It began in January 2022 and ended in March 2023.
Migrant TV Project aims to provide a reliable, widespread, and easily-accessible web-based resource for refugees through its YouTube channel. Throughout the project, the knowledge and awareness of refugees living in Türkiye has increased about their rights. The project contributes to the resilience of the refugees at different levels in conjunction with their access to protection assistance. Migrant TV generates contents in 7 languages: Turkish, English, Arabic, Farsi, French, Somali and Ukrainian.
The objectives of the project are as follows:
- To ensure that refugees have access to a reliable source of information through the easiest, most effective, and widespread means, and to provide accurate, and approved information regarding their rights and services.
- To contribute to the empowerment of the refugee community by facilitating access to information and other content that will contribute to social cohesion and resilience through a web-based communication tool.
Migrant TV's most significant facilitative factor in its implementation is its provision of a web-based service to the target audience in need. This enables individuals to access content and acquire information through the internet without facing physical constraints such as transportation difficulties or financial limitations. As a result, everyone is afforded the opportunity to reach and engage with the provided materials, overcoming the limitations posed by inadequate physical resources.
Migrant TV is free from certain restrictive factors including time, place, transportation, cost or communication to one, and the information or contacts have been more persistent for people of concern as it makes it more accessible for a number of people who are unable to afford, whether financially or physically, to obtain the information in person. Migrant TV has the capability to disseminate information to a large number of people within a short period of time by effectively utilizing various social media platforms. This becomes crucial during emergency situations. For instance, following the catastrophic twin earthquakes that occurred in the Kahramanmaraş province of Türkiye on February 6, 2023, Migrant TV published content in Arabic and Farsi explaining how to use the emergency mobile application of Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD). These videos were viewed hundreds of times within a day, enabling individuals in distress to access useful information in their own languages. Due to the easy accessibility of multimedia tools by everyone, Migrant TV has the advantage of reaching the target audience and disseminating accurate information with ease.
Main activities of the Good Practice
Migrant TV provides a multilingual informative and thematic programs on various topics such as the registration process; rights and obligations; asylum procedures; access to education and health services, the legal system and legal aid mechanisms in Türkiye; social, cultural, urban, and economic life in Türkiye; SGBV; child/early/forced marriages; women empowerment; news about the Covid-19 outbreak; self-protection measures; and recent public announcements. These informative and thematic contents are produced in seven languages during the project and create an archive where essential information about living in Türkiye as a refugee is stored and easily accessible to all.
In addition to the informative and thematic contents, programs such as "ask an expert," success stories, programs featuring renowned figures, street interviews with refugees, and panel discussions with refugee participation was webcasted. Through mobile webcasting, the teams gathered news about the life stories, successes, difficulties, and changes experienced by refugees from different cities in Türkiye.
The channel is broadcasting for not only refugees but also stakeholders, academicians, humanitarian and civil society workers by regularly uploading interviews and discussions on current trends, risks and migration that enables all audience to follow up current discourse, policies and concerns.
Migrant TV, funded by Taipei Economic and Cultural Mission in Ankara, was implemented to provide webcasts in Turkish, English, Arabic, Farsi, Somali, French, and Ukrainian languages across Türkiye. The content is still disseminated internationally through platforms like YouTube and other social media tools. Access to the content is available through the institutional website, social media platforms, and smartphones.
What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?
In order to provide accurate information, it was necessary to consult with experts in the field for the preparation of Migrant TV content, as the project's top priority was to produce reliable content and ensure its dissemination. The production of content on various topics required consultations with representatives and experts from multiple institutions, which sometimes resulted in time delays, especially during periods when Migrant TV had limited visibility in the field.
Moreover, the content produced within the scope of the Migrant TV Project needed to be prepared in 7 languages, and it was of utmost importance for this to be done as quickly as possible for the success of the project. However, after the project was implemented, it was found that the inclusion of the translation process in the video production workflow significantly extended the overall timeline. Therefore, it became necessary to establish a much more coordinated and organized workflow system with the translation team after preparing content in one language.
How they were overcome
Thanks to ASAM being a widely recognized and highly reliable association in the field of migration throughout Türkiye, the efforts to promote and expand Migrant TV were rapidly successful. Within the project, numerous collaborations were established with United Nations representatives, international actors, and government institutions. As the visibility and recognition of Migrant TV increased, positive responses were received more quickly from the institutions and organizations approached for collaborative content production. Moreover, ASAM, being an association with over 2400 personnel and experts in various fields, extended the scope of the Migrant TV project beyond the project team. Support was sought from ASAM personnel who specialize in protection, healthcare, education, and law to contribute to content creation for Migrant TV. Additionally, translators were employed within the project to facilitate faster production of content in different languages. This allowed for the videos to be produced in each language with accurate and reliable information in a more efficient manner.
Results of the Good Practice
- Migrant TV informed refugees on topics like third-country resettlement, the Turkish education system, and cancer screening.
- It served as a platform for sharing inspiring narratives, giving voice to refugees and encouraging viewers.
- The live broadcast of the concert organized by ASAM in Antalya, featuring renowned artist Jamala, provided support to Ukrainian refugees in Türkiye and created awareness.
- The event held on the 23rd of April, National Sovereignty and Children's Day, focused on ensuring the well-being of children in earthquake-affected areas.
- The study on communication tool usage by refugees in Türkiye, yielded valuable insights into their social media and internet habits.
In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
The public opinion in Türkiye is often exposed to misinformation due to the frequent exploitation of the refugee issue for political purposes. Turkish broadcasts of Migrant TV emphasize accurate information to counteract misdirection and disinformation. This aims to prevent the local community from being politically misled. Furthermore, all events organized or broadcasted by Migrant TV focus on achieving social cohesion between the local population and refugees, promoting employment opportunities and announcing training and educational activities.
For example, after the news of a project providing training and employment opportunities in the Textile Machinery Operator Training and Adaptation Center in İzmir was aired on Migrant TV, the video received significant attention and local viewers who reached out to Migrant TV through social media were directed to the training program and subsequently employed.
Migrant TV's main goal is to enhance refugee self-reliance and provide social, psychological, and economic support to them. The channel features numerous videos in the field of mental health and provides information on the education system in Türkiye, available courses, and job-finding methods. It also showcases various social integration activities where refugees are brought together with the local community to engage in artistic collaborations. For instance, Migrant TV has facilitated people's participation in film festivals, theater plays, and art workshops, fostering their empowerment through solidarity. The channel emphasizes age, gender, and diversity, offering content that caters to audiences of all backgrounds, nationalities, and ages.
Objective 3: Expand access to third-country solutions
ASAM, as an experienced and competent organization in the field of protection, provides consultancy services to refugees living in Türkiye. During this process, ASAM personnel in the Protection Officer role identify the topics that refugees are curious about, frequently ask questions about, and face challenges with. The Protection Unit and Migrant TV production team came together to prepare content on these topics for refugees and shared them on the channel in video format. This enables large audiences to be informed simultaneously, quickly, and accurately. Third-country resettlements are a subject that refugees are not fully familiar with, so Migrant TV broadcasts informative videos on this topic. This ensures that individuals have enough knowledge to navigate the process correctly. Additionally, Migrant TV brings important actors in the field of migration to the screen in special programs, allowing refugees to be directly informed by representatives of these institutions. Migrant TV has hosted representatives from various United Nations organizations such as UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA, WHO, as well as representatives from the Presidency of Migration Management, various government institutions, and municipalities. Migrant TV enables the voices of refugees to be heard by key actors in the migration field and facilitates discussions on issues such as third-country resettlement from various perspectives. The channel also informs the audience about the working principles of government authorities and international organizations, as well as the opportunities they provide.
The planned one-year project was extended for an additional 3 months and implemented for a total of 15 months due to an increased budget caused by the exchange rate difference between the dollar and the Turkish Lira. Unfortunately, when the project duration ended, it was not possible to extend or continue the project. One of the main reasons for this was that the funding providers prioritized supporting projects related to humanitarian aid for Ukrainians and the devastating earthquake that occurred in Türkiye. Migrant TV, believed to be highly beneficial by the organization, continues to produce content as a part of ASAM. Currently, Migrant TV is being managed by ASAM's Corporate Communications Unit. However, for Migrant TV to be truly effective and productive, it requires funding and its own staff. Therefore, possibilities for suitable collaboration are being explored to restructure the Migrant TV initiative.
Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?
Migrant TV has planned various awareness-raising activities for refugees, such as a singing competition, a football tournament for teenagers, and an intercultural cooking program. However, the implementation of these activities will only be possible if Migrant TV can secure funding.
It is crucial to collaborate with an organization that can establish connections and share the same goals (such as recognizing the importance of humanitarian efforts and the principle of leaving no one behind) and vision in ensuring access to accurate information and well-being for refugees in all aspects of life, while promoting gender equality. Such collaboration is essential for the sustainability of Migrant TV.