IPDC to host debate on the role of the media in the unfolding migrant crisis

The movement of persons has become one of the most urgent humanitarian crises of the new century, as people search for safe havens and economic opportunities in developed countries in Europe and elsewhere.

Against the backdrop of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimate of over four million registered refugees, the question of the role of the media in ameliorating this crisis has come under increasing scrutiny, with the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) now scheduling what promises to be an enlightening and thought-provoking debate on the subject during the 60th session of the IPDC Bureau, which starts tomorrow at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

The debate will offer an opportunity for diverse voices to be heard on the unfolding migrant crisis and the role of the media in sensitively and authoritatively covering its complex impacts across societies.

The IPDC’s contribution to the debate is not new. It reflects an abiding concern that recently found expression in a syllabus on reporting migration, with a focus on refugees. This syllabus is one of several in a publication titled Teaching Journalism for Sustainable Development: New Syllabi.

The debate, scheduled for the 18th of March and to be moderated by the IPDC Chair Albana Shala, will feature a broad range of participants, including those from humanitarian groups, media organisations, and academia.

Speakers include:

  • Melissa Fleming, Head of Communications and Chief Spokesperson for the High Commissioner, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
  • Guita Hourani, Director of the Lebanese Emigration Research Center, Notre Dame University, Lebanon.
  • Nevin Yildiz Tahincioglu, Hacettepe University, Ankara, contributor to the recent report “Migration: Global Report on Journalism’s Biggest Test in 2015”.
  • Jacco van Sterkenburg, Assistant Professor, Department of Media and Communication, Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture, Netherlands.
  • Aidan White, Ethical Journalism Network, editor of the report “Migration: Global Report on Journalism’s Biggest Test in 2015”.