https://www.migrationjointinitiative.org/webinar-series-media-practitioners-media-coverage-migration-promoting-informed-reporting

 

 

Programme

28 January 2021, 11:00 – 13:00 (CET)
Migration facts and myths: Exploring migration trends in Africa and Europe, and the use of migration-related terminology 

11 February 2021, 11:00 – 13:00 (CET)
Migration reporting: accessing up-to-date, reliable and relevant sources of information in a timely manner (learning for the media by the media) 

25 February 2021, 11:00 – 13:00 (CET)
Perception and evidence in migration coverage: How does the media on both sides of the Mediterranean report on migration? 

NOTE: Interested media professionals can request webinar recordings and related learning resources by email: jointinitiative[at]iom.int.

 

Background

Recent years have seen the rise of larger scale irregular migration within and out of Africa. Very limited regular migration channels and numerous unaddressed factors, including conflict and socioeconomic aspects compel people to take dangerous and irregular journeys. At the same time, the numbers of migrants returning to their countries of origin with support from assisted voluntary return and reintegration programmes has grown too. While some migrants return and reintegrate in a smooth manner, many face challenges to re-establish the economic, social and psychosocial relationships needed to maintain life, livelihood and dignity back in their countries of origin.

At the same time, communities to which migrants return may not have the capacity to provide an environment conducive to successful reintegration due to a lack of local infrastructure and resources. A community’s attitude towards returning migrants can affect a returnee’s physical and mental health, which in turn can impact their livelihood and economic opportunities.

With the 2015 increase in arrivals to Europe and the tragedies faced by thousands of migrants attempting to cross the deserts in Africa and the Mediterranean Sea, public and media attention to migration reached unprecedented levels in Europe and beyond. This raises several issues, including the way migrants are represented and depicted to the general public, the extent to which media reflect the public opinion and shape public perceptions about migrants, and the extent to which migrants are actually given a voice. 

Discussions on migration-related issues are further complicated by stereotypes and misinformation. Media reporting often privileges simple one-sided accounts of complex migration issues, where a strong negative framing prevails (e.g. ‘migration crisis’, ‘migration flows’, ‘migrant waves’, ‘illegal migration’, a ‘challenge’ or a ‘problem’ to be ‘tackled’, ‘integration issues’, ‘burden sharing’, etc.), while positive or solution-oriented stories fail to make headlines.

Terms like ‘migrants’, ‘refugees’, ‘asylum seekers’ are often used incorrectly. Inaccuracy and misuse of terminology can create a misleading portrait of migration and may lead to the criminalization of migrants, social exclusion, discrimination and xenophobia.

The current context provides an opportunity for in-depth discussions on the role and responsibilities of media practitioners reporting on migration. How can the media contribute to conveying an informed and unbiased image of migration? How to report on migration issues in a more evidence-based and balanced way, without falling into the many traps of infotainment, victim narrative, alibis on positive migration? How to get rid of clichés and stereotypes, and ensure a more humane media coverage of migration, including by giving a voice to migrants themselves?

 

Objective

The objective of this webinar series is to improve media practitioners’ understanding of the complexity of migration related topics and promote evidence-based, balanced reporting.

This webinar series is organised in the context of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, a project funded by the European Union (EU) and Implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Launched in December 2016, with support from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration brings together 26 African countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa, the EU and IOM around the shared goal of ensuring that migration is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities.

 

Participants

The webinars are open to early career and mid-level media practitioners (editors, journalists, reporters, correspondents) from Europe and Africa. To ensure optimal organization, the number of participants per session will be limited, with a balanced representation between European and African media practitioners. Participation is by invitation only.

 

Format

The webinars will be hosted in English on the Webex platform. They will have an interactive format consisting of short presentations followed by facilitated discussions, which will provide participants with ample opportunities to ask questions (off-the-record), share opinions, exchange best practices, lessons learned, etc. with other media practitioners, and experts in the field of migration.