The International Organization for Migration (IOM), Nigeria has admonished journalists on the Africa continent to always ensure factual narrative. Apart from that, the United Nation agency also reeled out tips to promote migration reportage with human face at the maiden edition of the African Migration Summit (AMS) held in Ghana between February 25 and 26, 2021.
The event was organized by the Journalists International Forum for Migration (JIFORM), headquartered in Nigeria with over 300 journalists covering migration matters across the globe in partnership with the Nekotech Center of Excellence, Ghana.
Delivering a presentation titled: “The role of the media in promoting a fact‐ based narrative on migration”, Jorge Galindo, the Public Information Officer, IOM Nigeria and his colleague, Elijah Elaigwu counseled the media practitioners to always painstakingly obtain, analyze and follow rigorously journalistic principles of cross check data and information by citing sources in order to remain impartial and honest.
He said the journalists working on migration would be better for it if more times were devoted to reflecting on issues before making it public in order to give a voice to the voiceless migrants.
For the IOM team, the media must imbibe more “ethical standards in their reports by fighting against stereotypes, respect people’s dignity, privacy and confidentiality and consider their vulnerabilities.”
While noting the zeal of the media to get the scoop and share compelling stories, they however called for more public awareness of trafficking in persons and irregular migration as a means of encouraging political and social action to combat the crime and protect its victims.
On protection of migrants’ identity, the IOM urged journalists to be more creative by looking into different angles into stories and situations of migrants.
“We have the power through photography to give a voice to the voiceless. When you are a migration photographer, humanity comes first. We may not be professional photographers but we are all storytellers”, said the IOM team.
To the IOM, migrants as part of beneficiaries of media reporting deserve respect, empowerment, solidarity, compassion interviewing migrants, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
“Think twice before judging a person’s testimony, avoid exaggerating numbers to generate shock, be professional and restraint from broadcast or share morbid or graphic details of death, injury, pain or agony – either publicly or via closed social media groups to avoid publishing sensitive information that may put the vulnerable at risk.
Galindo encouraged journalists to always seek consent without by properly explaining purpose of media publication, avoid interrupting beneficiaries during interview or stop them from raising complaints.
IOM Nigeria is reputable for organizing the annual migration reporter award since 2020 to increase awareness and improve access to trusted sources of information.
It seeks to promote informed decision making through professional and fact‐based journalism in various formats including human interest stories, news articles and investigative journalism pieces on promoting safe and informed migration, providing information on irregular migration including TIP and smuggling as well as contributing to balancing the narrative on migration.
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