Roundtable on Racism, Social Cohesion and the Media

round tableSymβiosis, in cooperation with the Media Diversity Institute and in partnership with the Journalist’s Union of northern Greece, Macedonia and Thrace, organised a roundtable on 13-14 September 2012 in Thessaloniki, Greece. The objective of the roundtable was to encourage dialogue between journalists, civil society organisations and policy makers on how to enhance inclusion and social cohesion and how to combat fight racism and xenophobia in Greece. Racist violence in Greece has dramatically increased as the social fabric is being torn apart by the economic crisis, a neo-nazi party is on the rise. Issues related to undocumented migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, minorities and vulnerable groups have become severely aggravated, and myths of 2 million undocumented migrants pillaging the country reign in the public sphere.

A mixed audience group of about forty individuals from CSOs, media and local governments, from Thessaloniki and from other cities , presented their work and views, discussed facts and experiences, and contributed with ideas as regards future policies and practices by way of Action Plans. More specifically, media actors reflected on their role in relation to social cohesion and elimination of discrimination; while the dialogue helped the actors in the three different sectors understand each other better, exchange know-how, network, look for potential cooperation and challenge their own practices. The roundtable is part of a larger initiative ‘Civil Society and the Media Working Together to Fight Ethnic and Religious Discrimination in the EU’, and was supported by the OSF’s Think Tank Fund and the EU FP7 Accept Pluralism programme.

Symβiosis, the Media Diversity Institute and the Journalist’s Union of northern Greece, Macedonia and Thrace, have been cooperating very fruitfully for over a year, – starting from the initial getting together as part of the Ethical Journalism initiative in the June 2011 conference on Migration in Thessaloniki, and continuing with the Journalist’s Union contribution to MDI’s and Symbiosis’s Migrant Voices project in May 2012, as well as cooperation during their “Let’s go Together” programme.