Governments’ Information Campaigns for Potential Migrants: What’s the Point?

Debates about governmental information campaigns targeted at migrants raises crucial and underexplored questions that have huge implications for migration governance: who monitors the content and quality of such messages? How can quality assurance incorporate greater political accountability? While already a pressing concern in more general debate about governmental social media communication and political interests, this blog argues that we need to take governance standards about open and fair communication seriously, especially when it targets migrants and potential migrants that are in risky or dangerous situations.

In response to the dangers of irregular pathways and loss of life, EU governments have intensified their efforts to inform migrants and potential migrants in transit and origin countries about the risks of misinformation about irregular migration and smuggling. The European Migration Network has identified more than 100 information and awareness-raising campaigns launched by EU member states that since 2015 have cost more than €23 million. Yet, these campaigns have been criticized by migration scholars, parliamentarians and journalists, questioning their effectiveness and intention to be reliably informative in light of their potentially dissuasive character.

What exactly is the debate on information and awareness-raising campaigns about and is this criticism justified?

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