Regional Cooperation
MORE REPORT: V. Elina Tzengko's success story

Society shows the way
© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Greece & Cyprus

Short Background

Elina Tzengko, the European javelin champion born and raised in Greece by Albanian migrant parents, won the gold medal at the European Championships in Munich on August 18.

Media Coverage

The excellence of Elina Jengo was presented by the Greek media as yet another national success. Phrases such as "golden champion", and "queen of Europe", were part of the media framing and the news was broadcast without any reference to her origin. Shortly after her statements about the difficulties she faced in obtaining Greek citizenship, the narrative changed. After that, the report focused on the difficulty of obtaining Greek citizenship, which becomes possible for athletes who have excelled at the European or international level.

In other words, the case of Tsengo was an engine for the highlighting of a crucial issue by the Greek media.

On the other hand, Albanian media had similar coverage but from another perspective. The presentation of her achievements was made by highlighting her Albanian origin, the difficulties she faced in Greece, as well as those who have been trying for years to obtain Greek citizenship, and the negative comments she received.

In the MORE Report you can find alternative proposals from the researchers for the coverage of respective issues by the media and journalists.

Key Takeaways

  • Despite the turbulent past and numerous legal and administrative obstacles, Albanians present an excellent example of a highly integrated migrant community, which has contributed to Greece’s economic development and enriched Greek society culturally.
  • But media in both countries continue to focus more on incidents that downplay the importance of this “human bridge“ between the two societies, while their narratives continue to reproduce the prejudices and negative stereotypes the two societies have about each other.
  • Stories like that of Elina Tzengko and many others like her need more media attention, if the actual societal situation is to be more accurately represented, and to increase the mutual understanding and trust between the two societies. Such messages would also comprise a meaningful response to racist and stereotypical treatments of migration by certain Greek media.

This executive summary of "Elina Tzengko's success story" is part of the 1st Media Observatory Report (MORE). MORE is part of ALGREE project and aims to highlight through recent case studies how media, which influence and shape public opinion attitudes, fail to provide accurate information and a good understanding of the improved bilateral relations at the level of official politics and the societal bonds that exist and remain at the context of misconceptions and prejudices.

Read the report here!