Foreign Policy Magazine

Are journalists checking their privilege when covering refugees?

For all the connectivity enveloping the world, how well do humans really know one another? That question is at the heart of photographer TOBIAS ZIELONY’s project The Citizen. Exhibited at the 2015 Venice Biennale, the series captured the challenges that activist-refugees from Africa face while living in Germany. Writer ANNA BADKHEN examines similar themes in her work. She has embedded with nomadic herders in Mali, carpet weavers in Afghanistan, and fishermen in Senegal—experiences that have shaped her perspective on community, displacement, and empathy. Badkhen, from the capital of Senegal, and Zielony, from Berlin, recently connected on the phone to discuss who lives on global society’s fringes (hint: maybe not the poor) and how to avoid creating journalism that’s merely background noise.

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