Communication for Integration (C4i) Project
Have you ever heard expressions like "Immigrants receive more financial aid to open their businesses, and they don't pay taxes..."; "Immigrants are overcrowding our health services…" or "Immigrants don't want to integrate or learn our language..."? Such ideas, generally unsupported by facts and figures, target specific groups as 'problematic' and generate mistrust and social conflict. The C4i-Communication for Integration project, co-funded by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, aims to create social networks in order to address negative but widespread, misconceptions (rumours, prejudices and stereotypes) about persons from diverse backgrounds and to provide evidence-based information to counteract such misconceptions. Active participation from citizens as "anti-rumour agents" is a key feature of C4i.
C4i draws upon the experience of Barcelona's Anti-rumour Strategy, which has been implemented in the city since 2010. The importance of rumours there became apparent when members of the public were asked a series of questions, under the framework of drawing up Barcelona's Intercultural Plan, to gather information on the main "problems" associated with migration. The C4i project is presently implemented in 11 European cities: Amadora/Portugal, Barcelona/Spain, Bilbao/Spain, Botkyrka/Sweden, Erlangen /Germany, Limerick/Ireland, Loures/Portugal, Lublin/Poland, Nuremberg/Germany, Patras/Greece and Sabadell/Spain. The cities work in cooperation with local authorities, NGOs, foreign communities, academia, media and citizens, with a view to identifying and addressing common misconceptions about immigration - via campaigning and viral communication techniques - and promoting living together in diversity and social cohesion.
Interestingly, the major rumours identified in the 11 C4i cities are very similar: "immigrants take jobs from locals," "immigrants lower the education level of local schools," "immigrants live on social benefits," "there are too many immigrants and they do not want to integrate," "immigrants contribute to higher crime levels and to the loss of national identity." In their anti-rumour campaigns, the cities focus on the 4 to 6 most common rumours. The identification of rumours in the cities was made through C4i specific research, involving Universities and research centres, meetings with stakeholders, media reviews, online surveys (Erlangen), perception questionnaires (Bilbao), and interviews with target/focus groups (Botkyrka, Lublin) or with networks, residents' and workers' organisations (Amadora). In their anti-rumour campaigns, the cities target different audiences although the general population is to some extent addressed by all cities, with a view to attract media attention.
For more information, please visit the C4i website at pjp-eu.coe.int/en/web/c4i/cities