How do refugee journalists view their new lives in Germany? In the DW video series "Dear Germany," a journalist from Pakistan tells how his life has been put on hold.
Five journalists from Syria, Uganda, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Azerbaijan have been involved in the "Dear Germany" project. DW wanted to know from them: how is it going for you, one, two or even eight years after your escape? What do you think about your home country? What frustrates you and what do you hope for? What would it be like if you write everything down as a letter to Germany? From these questions, 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.
‘That drives me crazy’
K., a journalist from Pakistan, wants to remain anonymous. He is afraid that something may happen to his family back home and that his statements could affect his chances of getting asylum. His asylum application was recently denied. He has filed an appeal against the decision - with support from "Reporters without Borders."
From his home country Pakistan, K. wrote for renowned international media outlets, but pressure from the Taliban kept on increasing. "I received death threats regularly from the Taliban," he said.
K. fled three years ago to Germany but he is not doing well here. "It is a grueling combination of waiting and the uncertainty of whether I can stay in this country or not. That drives me crazy."
In order to earn a living, he works in a southern German city at a fast food restaurant. He engages in journalism only occasionally, sometimes working for the Refugee Radio project in Stuttgart. He has also written some articles for regional newspapers, but that is too little. "I have the feeling that I have lost some of my skills," he added.
For him, the escape from Pakistan and new life in Germany also means a loss in his social status. "In Pakistan, I was an influential author and for this job, I risked everything." His message to Germany: "We are not getting any real chances."
Threatened by the military
According to the organization Reporters without Borders, there is a lot of diversity in media in Pakistan, but the pressure on journalists is still very high. Reporters have to deal with threats and maltreatment - from the military, secret services or militant groups. Reporting about human rights violations are especially punished.
Reporters without Borders counted 74 deaths among media professionals last year, with 53 of them targeted because of their work. Other 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 journey to Germany, many of the 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 says.