Since July 2013 I asked myself what are the real reasons that they did trigger a heated debate about the reality show Mission created by RAI, UNHCR Italy, and NGOs Intersos. The idea of making known to the general public the reality of millions of people languishing in refugee camps around the world is in itself interesting and then there would be no grounds to hinder them. Yet a petition launched last July from a university student to block the broadcasting of the transmission has reached over 90,000 signatures in a few days and at the same time the world of volunteering and Italian NGOs is deployed against the makers of Mission giving rise to a fracture exists between two opposing sides and little chance of reconciliation and dialogue.
By a side we have the majority of NGOs are against Mission calling it “Humanitarian Pornography“, on the other hand we are witnessing an all-out defense of the transmission carried out by its promoters.
“We lived in Mission, and we are living it, for what it is: an attempt innovative program of prime time then direct to the general public, to present some social issues from that of refugees, doing it in a pleasant way but also with the utmost attention and the utmost respect for people, their suffering, their dignity, making them protagonists in the tell. “, informs the President of Intersos Nino Sergi.
“With regard to the use of famous people, RAI has decided to involve the familiar faces from the world of TV because they are people who are very familiar with the public of the first evenings of RAI 1, then believed to be capable of bringing Italian family the drama of the refugees.” Says the press office of UNHCR Italy in a letter addressed to us.
Front of this serious debate myself and an Italian journalist colleague E.Z. we decided to investigate in the two African countries where the episodes of Mission were filmed: Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
The inquiries made on the ground, documenting some witnesses from cooperating Intersos and the video that we have received, we believe the situation clear, lucid and impartial to what is really happened while shooting of Mission in Africa in order to understand if this transmission has the required quality and VIPs involved have been able to make known to the general public on the plight of refugees around the world in an appropriate manner, as claimed by its proponents. In our investigation we have also focused on how they were involved local authorities and compliance with the laws in force for the accreditation of journalism in the two sovereign states of Africa.
For our journalistic fairness since October 18 we sent a series of emails to Dinamo Communications Srl (a company chosen by RAI to shoot the filming of Mission), UNHCR Italy and Intersos in order to ensure a proper study on this innovative experiment of communication humanitarian Mission, allowing promoters to participate and integrate the article concerning investigations conducted on the transmission in Africa before its release, thus avoiding news–monster. Some of them have preferred the line of no comment, some of the non-responses and others have demonstrated their readiness and professionalism giving their version that will be faithfully reported in the two articles devoted to the African Mission in the ground.
We begin with the publication of an extract of the filming of the episode of Mission in Congo, near Doruma, to the east of the country as it has officially confirmed the press office of UNHCR Italy. The video, it is been received by a cooperating Intersos who asked to be protected by anonymity.
After subjecting the video to technical checks to make sure of its authenticity, we make it public preview that each of us can make an idea for or against the transmission is not based on the principles of a heated debate within the world of volunteering Italian, but on the basis of a fragment of this transmission.
Subjected to the vision of the Congolese community in Uganda, the video seems to contain a lot of doubts about the exact location of the shooting that could not be Doruma. The Congolese community is unanimous in stating that it is not a refugee camp but a peaceful Congolese village untouched by the war. The opening scene with Barale that helps in the kitchen has high chances of being turned into a private residence.
The video, even if short-lived, showing a dimension of fake-reality realized halfway between game, fiction, Island of the Famous, in a family atmosphere, quiet and joyful impossible to find in a refugee camp. The main characters are just VIP involved in pseudo-manual work prepared ad hoc humanitarian showing the operator’s work as trivial and that anyone could improvise, even Paola Barale and Emmanuele Filiberto of Savoy.
Rarely I have seen aid workers and refugees seem to be simple and peaceful villagers, probably paid extras that have nothing to do with refugees, child soldiers and women enslaved by militiamen: the “true protagonists” of Mission according to its creators.
Tomorrow will follow an article on the results of investigations conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of South Sudan in order to illustrate the methodologies used for the making of the movie and the overcoming of some bureaucratic African difficulties …