Italy initiates €1.5million social media campaign to discourage migrants

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Italian Interior Ministry has collaborated with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to produce an on- and offline media campaign aimed at discouraging refugees from entering Europe. The campaign, titled "Aware Migrants", was launched Thursday, exposing high levels of violence and danger in transit, and discouraging migrants from attempting passage through illegal trafficking.

File photo of Angelino Alfano, 2015.
Image: European People's Party.

The 1.5million campaign features videos on social media to target the 16–35 age demographic, believed to be most likely to attempt the move. The videos are to include testimonials from more than 150 refugees, citing rape, child abuse, and exposure as potential threats. Each video concludes with the phrase "Be aware, brother" or "Be aware, sister". This slogan is also thematic in Malian musician's Rokia Traoré's official campaign song: "Be aware brother, be aware sister".

Italy's Interior Minister, Angelino Alfano, said they will still welcome refugees fleeing war, but that others may be declined. Recent large numbers of arrivals and migrant deaths has been cited as the reason behind the campaign, with the Interior Ministry recording over 70,000 refugees arriving in Italy in the first half of 2016. Federico Soda, the Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, asserts most of those migrants did not expect the level of danger involved in transit.

Migrants are invited to share their own experiences in response to the videos posted on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, in order to spread the warning to other potential migrants.