Interview by: Ana Cristina Pereira and Gaia Giuliani
Edited by: Camilla Morello
Abstract by: Rita Santos
Language editing by: Rita Santos
Este podcast faz parte da série de 28 podcasts realizados sobre o caso português e italiano no âmbito do projeto de investigação de 36 meses (2018-2021)
(De)Othering: Desconstruindo o Risco e a Alteridade: guiões hegemónicos e contra-narrativas sobre migrantes/refugiados e “Outros internos” nas paisagens mediáticas em Portugal e na Europa, que pretendeu analisar criticamente representações mediáticas de migrantes, refugiados e “outros internos” em Portugal e na Europa, mapeando as suas interconexões com narrativas produzidas no domínio da segurança e no quadro da Guerra ao Terrorismo. O seu foco, uma análise de Portugal à luz de estudos de caso europeus profundamente afetados por ameaças terroristas (Reino Unido e França) e por fluxos migratórios/de refugiados (Itália e Alemanha), pretende investigar a construção de narrativas transnacionais de risco que permeiam a Europa independentemente da sua exposição “diferenciada”.
O projeto foi financiado pelo pelo FEDER – Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional através do COMPETE 2020 – Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI) e por fundos nacionais através da FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Referencia Projeto: POCI-01-0145-FEDER-029997)
----- English Version
This podcast is part of a series of 28 podcasts produced on the Portuguese and the Italian cases as outputs of the research undertaken in the 36 months project (2018-2021) (De)Othering: Deconstructing Risk and Otherness: hegemonic scripts and counter-narratives on migrants/refugees and ‘internal Others’ in Portuguese and European mediascapes that sets out to critically examine media representations on migrants, refugees and ‘internal Others’ in Portugal and across Europe while mapping out their interconnections with particular narratives in the field of security and within the War on Terror. Its focus – an analysis of Portugal in the light of other European cases affected by terrorist threats (United Kingdom and France) and by migrant/refugee flows (Italy and Germany) – aims to explore the construction of transnational narratives of risk pervading Europe regardless of the ‘differential’ exposure to them.
The project was funded by FEDER – European Regional Development Fund through the COMPETE 2020 – Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation (POCI), and by Portuguese funds through FCT in the framework of the project 029997 (Reference: POCI-01-0145-FEDER-029997).
Mamadou Ba is a Portuguese antiracist decolonial activist, who was born in Senegal. He also is a member of the Advisory Board of (De)Othering. He holds a degree in Portuguese Language and Culture from the University of Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, a degree in Translation from the University of Lisbon and he is a PhD student at the Centro de Estudos Sociais, University of Coimbra. He was the founding member of the Luso-Senegalese Association, of Portugal's Anti Racist Network, and of Diáspora Afrique. From 1999-2012 he was a member of the Board of the European Network Against Racism, representing Portugal. He is part of the anti-racist movement SOS Racismo and its directors’ board since 1998. He was part of the Working Group Census 2021, created by the government to study the collection of ethno-racial data. He was also a member of the Permanent Commission for Equality and Against Racial Discrimination (CICDR), of the Scientific board of the Afroeuropean 2019 conference and of several other academic projects on inequality and racism.
In this episode, he discusses firstly how the dismantlement of the Calais refugee camp and the death of Aylan Kurdi marked his imaginary of the crisis of “European capability to respond to those people who were looking for asylum in Europe”, instead of a so-called “refugee crisis”, highlighting the ways in which said images racialized people regardless of their chromatic dimension.
Concerning the media’s coverage of the racism and antiracism in Portugal, Mamadou draws a parallel between othering that is product of governmental activity, of public policy in areas such as employment, housing and education, and of othering re/produced by the media.
In this context, Mamadou underlines two stages of Portuguese media’s contribution in the othering of racialized people: up until 2002, the predominance of danger-related and war-like narratives when portraying racialized people or territories (“war on gangs”, “war on youth delinquency”, “war on drugs”) along with a exotified and tokenized depiction of anti-racist movements and migrant associations, and since then a denial of racism in Portugal or a overt resistance to address institutional and structural racism expressions, which goes hand-in-hand with an animosity towards anti-racist movements and the portrayal of said movements as the racist ones and the real “threat to democracy and social peace”.
He then points out changes in the Portuguese mediascape, both negative (ie. tabloidization) and positive, including the growing body of work by journalists interested in migrations as well as racism, the emergence of alternative media with more progressive approaches to said issues, and a few incipient changes in the opinion makers sphere. He concludes by noting that “despite the will of many intermediate media professionals, some on the board remain hostile to this agenda”.