A first take on the lessons to learn from the latest tragedy

The complex issue of migration to the EU with the tragic growing number of deaths over the Mediterranean sea cries for a discussion which shall be both more focused on the disaster in terms of human beings died and also more centred on the driving forces behind the decision of thousands of migrants of risking anything to flee their homes.

In the days following the latest and so far biggest tragedy German and Italian media outfits developed a rather different approach.

The general sense is that in Germany journalists and media houses follow the development of events but also put those issues in a wider context;  the role of national and European institutions, the situation in the countries of origin,  the concept that there is a tragedy behind risking everything over the most dangerous migration route nowadays are also integrated in the editorial and articles of the online editions. Here follow two examples.

In Italy there has been a tendency to a rather petty description of events: what happened on that boat, how many smugglers were captured this one time, how evil they are. But if you are looking for a word about Syria for instance, well you will not find it so easily.  Repubblica
There are nevertheless stories about the dire condition of prisoning migrants undergo in Libya, as for example on this article by Corriere della Sera. Sadly enough it looks very likely that in a week from now – provided that no more tragedy happens – even this kind of reports will disappear.

What looks a bit astonishing in the Italian media is the absence of a critical take on the government´s position, which is oscillating between the acknowledgment of the major role in rescuing the few survivors – with a hint of pride – and the invocation of  “Europe” to fix the problem – with a suggestion of military intervention.Are these attitudes also depending on the kind of political discussion at the national level? Probably to some extent yes, though I doubt that this could be the main explanation. At the end of the day even press releases and statements from Brussels are treated in very different ways. But this will be discussed in a later post in the next days.
A special mention goes to the editorial of La Stampa´s director and the  attempt this journal makes by showing the enduring courage migrants in risking everything through the photos by Piscitelli, a photographer following migrants´ routes since years.