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New research show that smart phones are an essential tool and a threat for refugees

The ‘Mapping Refugee Media Journeys: Smart Phones and Social Media Networks’ report has been published and is  based on research  led by Professor Marie Gillespie at the OU in partnership with France Mèdias Monde. The research identified a huge gap in the provision of relevant, reliable and timely news and information for refugees, forcing them to rely on unreliable sources circulating on social media, exposing them to even greater risks and dangers, and exacerbating an already dire Humanitarian crisis.

Marie told us “EU member states have failed to develop a coherent policy strategy to deal with the refugees entering Europe. This is a European policy crisis of the highest order, and as a result member states are effectively reneging on their responsibilities under the UN 1951 Refugee Charter to provide protection and safety for refugees. A vital part of that responsibility is to provide timely and reliable information and news to help them find safe and legal routes to escape and to travel to safety, as well as to access medical and other humanitarian resources”.

The research calls for the European Commission to fund and convene a partnership between Member States, news organisations, tech companies, NGOs and other stakeholders to orchestrate a sustainable, up-to-date news and information strategy for refugees based on our recommended best practice principles.Syrian map image-20160513-10679-tq9ouk


Please see this excellent article published by The Conversation about the research which highlights that mobile phones are  crucial to the survival  of refugees and as  important as food and shelter.

Take  a look at this amazing map that is used by Syrian refugees to get to Germany.

Professor Marie Gillespie and her team will continue the research in the UK and are seeking participant volunteers and refugees to help with this. Please contact her directly if you are interested in further information.

Marie Gillespie│Professor of Sociology│Co-Director, Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural|The Open University│Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA│Tel: +44 (0)1908 659905 │ Mob: 07769 184253