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‘Peace and security are not everything’

Stephanie Höppner
October 19, 2017

How do refugee journalists view their new lives in Germany? In the DW video series "Dear Germany," Moses Ebokorait asks for better economic policies, so that refugees can build a career.

Videoserie Dear Germany Okile Ebokorait
Image: Springer/DW

'Peace and security are not everything'

Five journalists from Syria, Uganda, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Azerbaijan have been involved in the "Dear Germany" project.  DW wanted to know how things were going for them, one, two or even eight years after their escape. What did they think about their home country? What frustrated them and what did you hope for? What would it be like if you write everything down as a letter to Germany? From this, the concept of "Dear Germany" was born.

Together with DW, each participant wrote an open letter to Germany. The video accounts of the refugee journalists are as diverse as their resumes.

Why haven’t we achieved professional success?

The journalist Moses Ebokorait wrote in his home country of Uganda about corruption and nepotism and made many enemies. Although he feels safe in Germany, his career prospects are lacking. He has been in Germany now for eight years and he has a legal right to stay here. Nevertheless, he is frustrated because he doesn’t have any adequate work. "Does nobody wonder about whether migrants are having difficulty in their careers, even if they are well-integrated? As a journalist with a foreign background, I am disappointed that I have still not found a job," he asks.

Meanwhile, he has settled down in Augsburg and earns money by creating websites, but the former investigative journalist cannot earn enough from that. "Peace and security are not everything. Migrants have to be integrated into the labor market. That is the best solution for the so-called ‘refugee crisis,’" he says.

A reporter as treasonous

According to Reporters without Borders, Uganda has many laws preventing freedom of press and reporting. Critical media may be closed down. Journalists covering protests are attacked by the police or by the military. Often, reporters were convicted of high treason, where they faced the death sentence.

Reporters without Borders counted 74 deaths among media professionals last year, with 53 of them targeted because of their work. Others died during their deployment. The most dangerous countries for journalists are Syria, Afghanistan, Mexico, Iraq and Yemen. But more and more journalists are also fleeing countries such as Azerbaijan and Turkey, Jens-Uwe Thomas from Reporters without Borders said. After their arrival in Germany, many journalists have to start all over again - and are therefore separated from their dream jobs. The loss in reputation weighs them down. "That is certainly frustrating," Thomas said.