The idea behind Voice4Thought is to provide a platform for engaged people who are leading actors in social and political change. These include artists, human rights activists, academics, journalists, who are trying to fill the void left by failing governments  and who strive for equal access to media resources. V4T works with people on media innovation by utilizing cutting-edge methods of art, film, social media, education and academic research. V4T conveys their stories to the public in and outside The Netherlands/Europe, in order to stimulate dialogue and to bring about change.

This project focuses on insufficient access to national media among disenfranchised communities in The Netherlands and in conflict areas in West-Central Africa. Recent online discussions surrounding access in The Netherlands to national media among immigrants, refugees and working class communities have led to a growing consciousness that these communities are underrepresented in Hilversum  and on editorial teams of the national newspapers. As a consequence, their voices are not being heard on a national level, despite the Netherlands being a multicultural environment. This bias in reporting contributes towards polarization, and possibly radicalization within Dutch society. This is also apparent in West-Central African countries where governments and elites block access to media and the internet for disenfranchised communities to voice their opinions on social and political issues.

The project aims to resolve the lack of media access among disenfranchised communities. It is going to tackle it in its different forms both in The Netherlands and West-Central Africa by bringing together actors from these places in order to identify and discuss problems and share best practices and strategies on improving media access and audience numbers in national and social media.

The first creative take on this project ‘Nigga and da Terrorist‘ launched on March 1st 2017.  The concept of this web series was born during brainstorm sessions on these issues with two of last year’s Voice4thought festival engaged poets/rappers, Général Valsero (Cameroon) and Mohammad (Syria/Netherlands). Their main aim was to address the images accompanying the social perceptions roaming around in Dutch society. What are those perceptions? Where do they come from?

In their reflections they came up with the concept “Nigga and the Terrorist”. Far from being a mere provocation, this is a call to deep societal reflection to the perception we have of a multicultural society. It is an attempt to open up the floor and ask for tolerance towards each other; to look for an alternative peaceful and durable solution for connections created with respect for other viewpoints… #thinkcritically

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