The migrant crisis in the Mediterranean requires not only breaking news coverage, but a space for airing cultural and political contexts, and human stories

Kareem Mortimer’s haunting film, Passage, is a drama following a young Haitian woman, Sandrine, and her 13-year-old brother, as part of a group being smuggled on a small wooden fishing boat from the Bahamas to North America. When her brother becomes ill, Sandrine must find a way to prevent this being discovered by the ruthless smugglers, who threaten to throw sick stowaways into the sea.

The 16-minute film (see the trailer, right) was produced by the Commonwealth Shorts initiative and funded by our WorldView project. It is an affecting film that resonates with the situation that most of us around the world are currently witnessing. Whether it is the Atlantic Ocean, the Andaman or Mediterranean Sea, these are the human stories of those leaving their homelands for a myriad of reasons.

The issue risks becoming just a grim counting exercise

As one of the largest refugee crises since the Second World War deepens, European leaders argue over quotas and borders, hundreds of people are rescued every week, and many other hundreds are not so lucky. The issue risks becoming just a discussion of numbers, a grim counting exercise.

Public broadcasters can give space to an issue that goes well beyond numbers. We have secured the rights to Passage, by a talented Bahamian director, offering it free for broadcast-quality transmission for our members. Two broadcasters, the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and ZNS Bahamas have already expressed an interest in airing it.

BBC, the UK’s public broadcaster, has also teamed up with ABC News in the US to create a YouTube channel on thought-provoking topics, aimed at younger audiences and integrated with engaging social media discussions. Called timesXtwo, it will launch with films such as the BBC’s film Millionaire and the Migrants, about a philanthropist couple from the US who swapped their yacht for a trawler to save refugees in the Mediterranean, and ABC’s The Rescue, which tells the story of a man called Mohammed and his family as they risk the voyage to Europe.

If you are a member broadcaster interested in screening Passage, please contact us at