The three pillars of visAvis
visAvis as a magazine consists of three pillars of equal importance:
Bringing forth the stories and reflections of the people seeking asylum.
Investigative and explanatory journalism that here can find the space and time to go deeper than daily media flows allow; and
Commentaries and essays of high quality both intellectually and in terms of entertainment, where arguments are developed and exchanged to raise the level of public debate;
On all levels we think to be filling a void and to have an important democratic task to fulfill.
A basic principal in a democracy must be that those affected by a law have a way of making their voice heard in the public space. Unfortunately this does not apply to people seeking asylum today. It is an important task for visAvis to fulfill to be a platform for this. Not only for how people seeking asylum experience the Danish asylum system but also for their experience of society in general, of life itself. For many asylum seekers, as for all, it is of great importance to communicate their thoughts and reflections, to have a voice and to be heard. For society this is an important voice, a voice that today isn’t heard, but one that can tell of things otherwise not visible and from a different angle than usually. The editorial criteria here are to communicate these voices as well as possible. Since many people seeking asylum are afraid that public attention can effect their case, anonymity is acceptable here. The purpose ofvisAvis is also to activate the resources, competences, and other types of stories that are to be found in the camps.
Pillar 2 and 3:
By inviting a group of contributing commentators – experts in law, medicine, politics, journalism, etc., opinion shapers, and people working in the field – we wish to expand the narrow frames for debate allowed today. Since migration in its nature is something occurring across borders, we find it natural that our panel of commentators is international. Migration is a part of globalization and as such an element in the development that is shaping the future of the world. This is another reason for the centrality of the debate of how we consider asylum and migration. Our group of commentators will be supplemented by commentaries from new contributors each time.
The primary editorial criterion for commentaries is focused on argumentation. To a large extent the debate is based on regards to opinion polls or personal emotions, we wish to change this.
We find a huge lack of information in this area. Both for people seeking asylum, which experience the system themselves, and for all other in society it seems incomprehensible. For that reason we wish with investigative and explanatory journalism to create an understanding of how the asylum- and migration area works in Danish and European society. There will be explanations of and questions to the asylum process and the concrete conditions in the camps, critical investigation of the governance of these rules and of the role played by the different actors. We will get attention to the global demographic, geographic, and political relations that create refugees.
Articles will lead the reader along: sentences if possible not too long, difficult terms explained, and articles will be laid out to meet the reader. We recognize the importance of different ways of communication such as: poetry, fiction, photography, drawings, cartoons, caricature etc.
It is important for visAvis to insist that people seeking asylum are not only victims as they are often represented, but are individuals with different resources and backgrounds. Many are traumatized from past experiences, all are under great pressure from the Danish system, but that does not exclude that they can offer important aspects to visAvis and to society as a whole. In visAvis we all participate equally but we are at the same times also aware of that we are not equally positioned in society, that some are in an extremely precarious situations and under pressure. Everyone brings to the project what he or she can, and that is what is important.