When it comes to refugees, we speak about data, statistics, immigration, even terrorism, but never about humans. Medias are one of the major responsible of this phenomenon.
The best way to turn things around was to use one of these medias in an unexpected way to catch people’s attention and switch their perception on this issue.
On March 7th we decided to give them the whole paper for 1 day. An entire Liberation issue was written by 21 refugees from an array of origins with one challenge: explain beyond today’s news how they see France. A paper by the refugees but not on refugees.
During 1 month, a team of 21 refugees from 10 origins was created with the help of 5 associations helping refugees.
The following month, this team was split within different groups of work (representing the themes of the newspaper such as presidential elections, international, economy, sports, culture, ideas, society …) to find current topics and write their articles.
3 of them even interviewed the French President François Hollande at the Elysee Palace, and the main candidate Emmanuel Macron.
On March 6th, the whole team came to Liberation to write on fresh news and finalized every single page of the newspaper.
The day after 100k papers are printed. It was distributed all over France in kiosks, press shops, bars, AF planes, to the 30K subscribers, and in more than 25 countries. A digital version sold online is seen by 4M French people every day.
- 21 refugees of 10 nationalities
- +35% of sales on this specific edition compared to usual days.
- 100k papers were printed and the digital edition was seen 4 million times
- Almost every major French medias (TV, Radio, Press) covered the news and interviewed authors
- International media supported the initiative (AJ+, Skynews etc.)
- The French President François Hollande tweeted and posted about it
- 3 refugees were invited to meet him at Elysee
- On Twitter #LibéDesRéfugiés was seen by 165 million people
Every media speaks about refugees. It’s a social topic we cannot avoid in these times where Europe faces an unprecedented immigration crisis.
And the more people hear about it in media, the less they feel involved by this cause.
The solution to involve people, was to find a way to deliver the message on that social issue, as directly as possible, during French presidential elections, and to show people that refugees aren’t only “problems”; they all have a point of view.
Liberation transformed their own media into a communicating object: Libé des Réfugiés, a whole paper entirely written by refugees.
Liberation is one of the major daily newspaper in France. It’s a progressive paper with a social democrat position founded by Jean Paul Sartre & Serge July in 1973. The paper stands for social issues with a provocative tone of voice and is renowned for using eloquent front covers. Several of them have become very symbolic. One of its main concern is to keep the press ‘freedom of speech” and the journalistic independence.
When it comes to refugees, we speak about data, statistics, immigration, even terrorism, but never about humans. Medias are one of the major responsible of this perception.
So the strongest way to reverse this trend was to give them the whole paper for 1 day to highlight that beyond figures, they have opinions and knowledges. They had the stage directly for a change.
As a progressive media, Liberation was the perfect candidate to support the refugee issue.