Writing about refugees - competition for student journalists

 The Jesuit Refugee Service is launching a competition to encourage student journalists in the UK and the rest of Europe to examine and report the truth about the refugee situation in the continent. The JRS, founded 25 years ago in 1980, is inviting aspiring journalists to investigate the reality behind the headlines concerning refugees and asylum seekers.

Three winners will be invited to Brussels to meet with the members of the jury who are all experienced journalists in this area. The overall winner will be offered the opportunity to visit Kenya for 12 days in the summer of 2006 to broaden his or her knowledge of asylum and refugees issues. JRS Eastern Africa will organise meetings with refugees, Non Governmental Organisations and local media, in Nairobi and in Kakuma Refugee Camp.

"Refugees and asylum seekers coming to Europe repeatedly make headlines, but not all information given about them is true," says Fr Jan Stuyt SJ, JRS Europe Director.

"What is true is that every day there are people arriving in Europe who are fleeing persecution, that some European governments put these people behind bars, and that often the numbers of new arrivals make headlines and the stories behind the sound-bites are lost. We want to challenge young journalists to tackle a significant humanitarian problem in Europe and to help break down misunderstandings and myths," says Fr Stuyt.

Students are asked to write an article of not more than 1,200 words on: 'Refugees in Europe'. The competition is open to students at, or who have graduated during the last 12 months from, recognised institutes of higher education in Europe. Application forms and further details on the competition, in English, can be found on JRS Europe's website: www.jrseurope.org.

The deadline for entries is 21 March 2006. This competition is supported by the International of Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). For more information, contact Ms Alice Kennedy, Media Officer JRS Europe at press.europe@mail06.jrs.net or tel: 0032 2 250 3220. Or Ged Clapson (Communications Officer, British Jesuits) on 020 7499 0285 or 07778 218671.

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