600 Journalists Trained on Media Coverage on Migration, 25 in Côte d’Ivoire
Abidjan – Since January 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has trained nearly 600 journalists and media professionals in West and Central Africa to improve media coverage on migration. These trainings also aim to better engage the media to inform more efficiently young people about the risks of irregular migration and facilitate returned migrant reintegration process.
The latest training took place in Côte d’Ivoire where 25 Ivorian media (newspaper, television and radio) participated in a three-day workshop from 13 to 15 May, facilitated by IOM and the Carta di Roma Association (Rome Charter).
Participants were provided with an overview of the migration situation in Côte d’Ivoire and West Africa, Ivorian migrant typical profiles and regional and international migration challenges. They were familiarized with the migration-related terminology and the legal considerations of each term to avoid stigmatization of migrants. Journalistic ethics – the role of the journalist in preventing and protecting victims of trafficking – was also addressed.
“In recent years, migration issues have been at the centre of our leaders’ concerns, but the subject has so far been dealt with superficially. We did not have the relevant information to make it a substantive subject. Now we have the information and we know the different aspects of migration, which are not all negative. What is reported in the local media does not reflect the phenomenon: migration also has positive aspects,” says Lancina Ouattara, a journalist working for Radiodiffusion Télévision Ivoirienne – RTI (Ivorian National Radio and Television).
Participants developed key messages for a new discourse on migration and proposed actions to be taken to improve media coverage on migration in the country. They committed themselves to setting up a journalist network to effectively share and verify information on migration; found a library of books on the subject; produce more investigative reports; create a Facebook page and/or website to share content on migration produced, among others, by their counterparts and African researchers.
A similar training was organized earlier, from 7 to 9 May 2019, by IOM in Senegal. Twenty-two journalists from private and public media and student-journalists participated in a workshop co-facilitated by lecturers from the Centre d’Etudes des Sciences et Techniques de l’Information (CESTI) in Dakar.
CESTI lecturers outlined “Solution-Focused Journalism” during the workshop, a form of journalism that goes beyond the usual role of informing, and focuses on proposing solutions to societal problems in order to have a positive impact on people’s lives. “It is something we do on a daily basis, but we did not know what it means,” says Joe Darone, one of the journalists, before adding that it is “essential to engage journalists as agents of change and awareness-raising”.
“At a time when fake news is spreading rapidly, and sensationalism is gaining ground, it is crucial to better inform journalists about such complex issues as migration. Only those who are well informed can inform properly,” says Florence Kim, IOM’s Regional Media and Communications Officer and Spokesperson in West and Central Africa.
Further trainings for journalists on migration media coverage are planned in The Gambia, Cameroon, and Chad in the coming months. These trainings are part of the Aware Migrants project, an awareness-raising campaign on the dangers of irregular migration, funded by the Italian Ministry of the Interior and the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrants Protection and Reintegration.
For more information, please contact Florence Kim, IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa in Dakar, Tel: +221786206213, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.