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Magazine Přes

Jos Stübner

Abstract (English)

"Přes" means in English "over" or "beyond". In this case it is the name of a magazine, published by the Czech NGO "Nesehnuti". It is said to be the only magazine in the Czech Republic which concentrates on the topic of refugees in the country. It contains background information about refugees' countries of origin, about the legal and living situation of refugees in the Czech Republic and also serves as a medium to call attention to the activities of "Nesehnuti".


Abstract (italiano)

"Přes" significa in italiano "sopra" e "oltre". In questo caso, indica il nome di un giornale, pubblicato dall’ONG ceca "Nesehnuti". Si tratta dell’unica rivista della Repubblica Ceca che si concentra sull’argomento dei rifugiati nel paese. Fornisce le informazioni riguardo ai paesi d’origine dei rifugiati, la situazione legale e le condizioni di vita dei rifugiati nella Repubblica Ceca e serve inoltre come un mezzo per richiamare l’attenzione sulle attività di "Nesehnuti".

1 The practice

1.1 Description of the project

Main goals:
The magazine "Přes" is part of Nesehnuti’s campaign “Safety for Refugees”. It consists of activities like educational programmes at schools and direct help for asylum seekers living in camps. Providing information for its readers and influencing the public is also a main goal. Hence, the journal "Přes" plays an important role in order to provide the following objectives:

  • To influence the political sphere in order to implement a less restrictive asylum policy by direct lobbying or in a less immediately way, to inform the public of deficits in asylum policies.
  • To help reduce and abolish stereotypes and xenophobia in the public opinion.
  • To encourage people to become active and to join projects to help refugees.

The full name of the paper also demonstrates its aims and fundamental attitude: “Přes hranice, Přes předsudky, Přes lhostejnost” (beyond borders, beyond prejudice, beyond indifference).

Subjects of interest:

Nesehnuti does not aim to stick to formal and legislative definitions, but it tries to include every kind of refugee or migrant. Due to this you can also find reports about the Vietnamese work migrants in the Czech Republic.

Activity/ content:

The content of the paper can be divided into two parts.

The biggest part is about the background information and theories of a main topic, which is featured in every issue. Mostly you can find a country of origin of a refugee group in the Czech Republic, especially countries/regions situated in the former Soviet Union like Chechnya. Moreover, there are special main topics like the role of women and the question of gender in the context of refugee movement and ethnic minorities. On one hand "Přes" delivers information about the historical and contemporary context. On the other hand it gives involved people a chance to show oneself and to clarify the situation in the Czech Republic; for example by the means of interviews.

The second part comprises of different items. The whole content of the journal to a wide extent depends on the available supply of authors.
Within the variety of themes, the reader can find:

  • Theoretical articles about migration in general.
  • Information about the migration/asylum policies in Europe and in the Czech Republic.
  • Concrete cases of refugees and their experiences in the Czech Republic.
  • The rubric “Mezi paragrafy” ("Among paragraphs”) which contains descriptions and explanations of new laws and other legal matters.

The fundamental principle is to serve as a platform for involved people. It can be clearly recognised in the two sections “Z ruznych stran” (“From different perspectives”) and “Za plotem” (“Behind the fence”). The first allows people like state officials to show their point of view. The second gives the refugees a chance to express themselves.
It also shows in short surveys the opinions of external experts or famous people in the Czech Republic..

Following the goal of encouraging people, another important column is dedicated to the information about the activities of Nesehnuti, which in most of the cases ends with a call to participate. Moreover, it is often connected with the above mentioned information about the people’s situation. Thus potential participants know what the offered aid might be.

Due to its unstable situation regarding its authors, it seems to be necessary to say that the relatively new magazine has not found a clear and recurrent appearance yet. The above mentioned categories must not be seen as a strict conception.

1.2 Time, structure and steps of the project

Due to its close connection to the whole campaign of Nesehnuti, the history of "Přes" has been seen in the context of these activities. Nesehnuti started to act in this area at the end of 2003. At this time Nesehnuti was already engaged in other fields of social and ecological problems. The initial impact came from an unexpected request for help from people from Chechnya, who were threatened to be deported. According to its own statements Nesehnuti had to recognise, that the situation of asylum seekers in the Czech Republic was not only on a bad level regarding the enforcement of their rights but also publicly.
Thus the project "Safety for Refugees” started in order to compensate this deficit and in doing so, the first issue of "Přes" was released in winter 2004 with a print run of 500. Up to now the magazine is being published quarterly and six issues have been released.
The development of the paper can be described as a mutual process, the better known the paper became, the more interested and professional writers (today there are over 1,000) it could achieve. Thus the size of the magazine grew from 12 pages in the first issue to today’s 30. And not only has the size grown, but also “the journal has improved itself concerning the quality of articles", said Milan Stefanec the Chief Editor of "Přes". He also admits that the relative high publicity and acceptance of Přes is due to its unique position in the Czech Republic.

1.3 Place and context

The main focus of "Přes" lies on asylum seekers. In the period from 1999 to 2003 2,252 people sought asylum in the Czech Republic. Most of them came from Romania (474), Afghanistan (175) and the former Soviet Union (175). As mentioned earlier, Chechnya also belongs in this group.

Because of the so-called Dublin-II regulation, the Czech Republic, which does not have any EU external border, seems to be in a position to delegate a lot of requests for asylum to other countries. This might be one reason for the decreasing number of requests for asylum in the past years.

Request for asylum:
year requests
2002 8,484
2003 11,396
2004 5,459
2005 4,021
[all data from]

Problems and critiques according to Nesehnuti/"Přes":

  • The rate of granted asylum is compared with other countries of the European Union, very low. The Czech asylum system seems to be stricter than others.
  • A lack of consideration of the real situations in the countries of origin.
  • Deficit of transparency of the whole asylum procedure.
  • Almost inhumane treatment of asylum seekers, for instance the often extreme long waiting time before any decisions of the court are made or very bad living conditions in the camps for asylum seekers.


Aside featuring stories about asylum seekers "Přes" also delivers background information about other examples of immigration into the Czech Republic, for example, the Vietnamese community, which is - after the Ukrainian and Slovakian community - the third largest in the Czech Republic (12,756 members).

1.4 Target

According to the small edition (in Czech), "Přes" is distributed only to a small circle of readers. Amongst them you can find other NGOs, Libraries of Universities, ecological centres, well-known people (for example members of parliament) and a small group of interested people. The institutions mentioned above can be seen as multipliers of the journal, which makes it available to the broader public like students or other activists. As Milan Stefanec adds, a larger edition is not possible nowadays due to the financial situation.
By the way, for concrete activities Nesehnuti uses the whole range of classical media in order to call attention.

1.5 Methodology

  • Voluntary participation of authors.
  • Different point of views in almost every issue (activists, refugees, state officials).
  • Using publicity of well-know people.
  • Combination of a theoretical and practical approach to the topics.

1.6 Authors, financing and networks

Authors and networks:
Writers contribute to "Přes" on a voluntary basis. First of all, there are members of Nesehnuti. Additionally, "Přes" publishes articles of freelance authors on request, which depends on the current main issue. Amongst them are experts, journalists, famous people, state officials and interviewed refugees.
Furthermore, Přes also receives information from other organisations like Amnesty International or the Czech group SEDMAGENERACE.

The whole team and all the writers contribute for free. So only printing remains a problem.
One part of the financing is the profits from selling the magazine. Thanks to the support by the European Union, in the beginning the price had been only a symbolic (5 Czech Crowns, about 18 euro cents ). But now they had to raise the price up to 10 Crowns. Furthermore, "Přes" can get money from advertisement but this concerns only a small part of the last page of advertisement. Facing the small size of the edition, Přes is not able to acquire a larger amount of money from advertisement. Additionally, Nesehnuti understands itself as a non commercial and independent organization: a principle, which might be threatened by too much advertisement.



2 Hints for an evaluation