The collective narrative around migration is still marked by fear, and the general perception of migratory phenomena remains negative, as proven by polls conducted by the IPSOS Institute. Thus, in 2019, 63% of French people think "there are too many foreigners in France," and 66% believe that, generally, "immigrants are making no effort to integrate." This alarmist narrative is supported by the traditional press, which conveys migration as a numbers game, summed up in political or security issues of border control, without leaving any room for stories on a personal, human level.
It is due to this lack of representating migration in another light that Guiti News, a non-profit media, intervenes. They propose a more accurate way to present the diversity and complexity behind these journeys into exile. It is also by ensuring a better representation of refugees in the newsrooms and by giving a real voice to newcomers that Guiti News aspires to change the narrative around migration.
Guiti News was founded in July 2018 in Paris as a result of a meeting that brought together several journalists who shared the same desire: to produce counter-narratives on migration phenomena. Nine months later, in January 2019, Syrian, Afghan, and Chadian reporters, as well as a Pakistani photographer, a Cameroonian cartoonist, a cameraman, and two Parisian journalists launched the online media and published content for the first time. Guiti, which means "the world and what surrounds it" in Persian, is run by exiled and local journalists working in tandem to create articles, reports, podcasts, and drawings related to the transversal theme of migration. Convinced that it is essential to rethink the way we deal with current affairs, our ideas and opinions on the issue of migration, and that the media deals with these stories of exile with accuracy, far from approximate and disembodied information. The attention paid to the interviewees and the choice of words used to talk about migration builds a more nuanced and human editorial line. Guiti News also answers another problem: helping journalists who migrated to France reintegrate into the job market and avoid professional downgrading.
In January 2019, the media launched a crowdfunding campaign on Ulule, with the support of two key sponsors: Edwy Plenel, president and co-founder of Mediapart, and Pierre Haski of France Inter. The project was also able to benefit from the Ministry of Culture's Grant for Emergence.
With the support of the Free Press Fund and the Amnesty International France Foundation, Guiti News has been able to expand its media education activities in schools, which aim to raise awareness of the freedom to inform, as well as the theme of exile. The media also produces video interviews with researchers specialized in human sciences, who question the issue of migration in political and media discourses. Guiti News won the third Francophone Prize for Media Innovation, awarded by the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie), RFI, and RSF (Reporters Without Borders).
In light of the developments in Afghanistan, initiatives like Guiti news are needed more than ever to report on the situation and continue to give a voice to displaced persons.
Furthermore, they have laid the foundation for a European network of media mobilized for more humane advocacy around migration. The project includes a cross-border editorial collaboration aimed at actors in the information sector. If you are interested in the project and want to contribute to the network, you can join them by clicking on this link: https://guitinews.fr/un-reseau-europeen/