As the number of refugees in Europe grows, public media organisations have launched a number of services to cater for those who have recently arrived.

The Greek broadcaster, ERT, is the latest PSB to launch programming aimed at refugees from North Africa and the Middle East.

The service includes three daily Arabic news bulletins that provide “official” information about where to source food and accommodation as well as news relating to the Arabic speaking world. The Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, has hailed the initiative as offering “much-needed, credible programming”.

The initiative is a joint venture with news agency ANA-MPA whom have launched an Arabic website with multimedia content covering news, useful tips, guidelines and announcements issued by the Coordinating Body for Refugees.

Image: SWR/Thinkstock
Image: SWR/Thinkstock

Elsewhere in Europe Germany’s NDR (North German Public Radio & TV), WDR and SWR are broadcasting news for refugees in English and Arabic via “Refugee Radio”. The channel specifically caters for refugees making their way across Europe and offers updates on local political discussions regarding refugee issues. It also reports on topics such as health and integration, and provides information about volunteer initiatives aimed at assisting refugees.

Broadcast Monday to Friday at 11:55-23:55, Refugee Radio is available via DAB digital radio and online as a live stream.

These PSB services are vital and provide a lifeline for those with limited or no knowledge of the local language. They also offer an insight as to what refugees might expect to find upon arriving at a destination. Germany’s overseas broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, launched its Arabic service in December 2015 to achieve just that by answering the questions that refugees most commonly have about the country. These include: What jobs are available? What Do Germans think about refugees? What is being debated in parliament? And so on.

The channel is widely available across Europe and offers a “focus on information, understanding and cultural exchange”.

Elsewhere in the World, Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service has re-launched its Arabic service to provide diverse content for its growing Arabic-speaking population, particularly refugees from Syria and Iraq. You can read more about SBS Arabic24 here.

By Kristian Porter