Association tasks journalists on effective terminologies in reporting Migration
Mnena Iyorkegh, Abuja
Media practitioners have been tasked to use the tools of journalism to dispel disinformation about migrants and refugees.
The call was made by Journalists International Forum For Migration, (JIFORM) at the 2021 international migration webinar with focus on media training, organized by the Asia-Pacific Broadcast Institute (AIBD), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Speaking on thetopic “Forging Forward: Solution Driven Media Reporting on Migration and Refugees”, the President/Executive Director of JIFORM Mr. Ajibola Abayomi, said that media professionals were at a vintage position to reel out undiluted information about migrants and refugees and should continue to do the needful.
“I pleaded with journalists to eschew any act of primordial sentiment that could encourage xenophobic attack, focus on quality information that could promote justice for the migrants being abused in the Middle East under the Kafala slavery system and those whose wages were being withheld in several parts of the world.
He noted that “We all saw what happened in South Africa two years ago. Media should not be part of those spreading false information about the migrants and refugees at any level. Migrants are economic developers while refugees deserve empathy and protection. The South Africa saga was regrettable and should not happen again“.
Ajibola recommended that every journalist should key into the United Nations Verified Campaign to stem the tide of disinformation, saying JIFORM supported the position of the UN Secretary General, Antoni Guterres who urged all to “flood internet with fact and science while countering the growing scourge of misinformation-a poison that is putting even more lives at risk.”
According to Ajibola there are around 272 million international migrants in the world according to the IOM; therefore there is need to display the instinct of humanity when reporting matters that affect them.
“Misrepresentation will have negative consequences on this huge population and at the end of the day we won’t be doing any good by not being fair to them. It should be justice for all. The voice of the migrants must be heard. Reporting government and immigration police positions alone is unethical and one-sided. Our report as public watch dog must be truthful, balanced and objective.” He said.
He stressed that “The work of journalists consists reporting on particular stories in a global historical, socioeconomic, cultural and geopolitical context. The journalist identifies and questions clichés and stereotypes by getting back to facts and replacing them in their context. He or she deconstructs the speeches that criminalize migrants and consider them a threat”.
Any journalist covering migration issues according to him should question the origin and impact of terms he/she uses. migration journalists should not allow hatred, racism, discrimination to becloud the judgment on migrant news stories
“Journalists should be sensational in their write ups and must get the informed consent of the migrants before interviewing or using their photos and must protect the minors. He must never accept to pay to obtain a testimony and respects the culture, religion and traditions of the people he/she interviews and remain alert to stereotypes or clichés which, in every society, tend to stigmatize “
JIFORM was formed in 2018, it is the organizer of annual global migration summit, several workshops and training for journalists.