NEWSROOM BORDERS

The Borders Newsroom seeks to sustain public interest journalism in the context of nested crises at Europe’s external borders, ranging from confrontation at Greece’s land and sea borders with Turkey, to abuses of asylum seekers in the Western Balkans, to the arrival of Covid-19. These emergencies have created states of exception that threaten the 1951 refugee convention and right to asylum. The Borders newsroom exists to detect and decode disinformation and empower investigative journalism, local and international, in this hostile context, while holding the main EU agencies, state and non-state actors to account. It provides domain expertise and tools including open source investigation. It aims to be a nerve centre for journalism that provides an evidence-base for a public debate on challenges to fundamental rights, rule of law and right to asylum that arise from border enforcement policies and the EU asylum and migration system.

Masked men

The most violent pushbacks at Europe’s external borders are done by men in balaclavas. Are they vigilantes or clandestine state forces?

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Pushbacks Chapter two

Greek coastguard employing more aggressive tactics in intercepting asylum seekers and towing them back on life rafts towards Turkey

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Torment in Turkey

Encouraged by Erdogan, thousands took to the Pazarkule border gate. But they soon realised they were pawns in a power game

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Pushbacks Chapter one

Documenting a new wave in Greece of extrajudicial deportations overland and at sea, a practice that came to be known as deep pushbacks

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IMPACT

  • Investigations conducted in this newsroom provided the first detailed evidence of new forms of illegal pushbacks spurring widespread international coverage. One investigation demonstrated that asylum seekers who landed on Samos and declared themselves to authorities seeking international protection were detained, put onto a liferaft and towed out to the open sea. Simultaneously it was the first to document “deep pushbacks” — the detention and forced expulsion of asylum seekers from refugee camps deep inside Greece.

  • We detailed Frontex’s direct involvement in and knowledge of illegal pushbacks, making headlines across Europe. Investigations in this newsroom are partly responsible for the investigation into Frontex by the EU’s anti-fraud agency, OLAF. The Border Agency’s own management board responded with an internal inquiry into its conduct, probing Frontex’s conduct and accountability mechanisms. The head of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, has been called before national parliaments and faces a special Scrutiny Working Group under the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs at the European Parliament.