Building peace in the minds of men and women

Media coverage of Migrations and Refugees – the Rohingya Crisis

07 December 2017


© Parvez Ahmad / IPS

In March 2016, responding to the unprecedented migratory crisis, the 60th meeting of the Bureau of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) debated how to better tune the work of IPDC with the needs of news media when reporting on migrants and the refugee crisis all over the world.

The debate revealed that although many media outlets have focused on humanistic reporting and on telling the stories of refugees, few journalists are trained to cover this issue. Participating experts agreed that newsrooms lack capacity to cope with such an unprecedented situation, and that more means are needed to report on this issue appropriately. Support was therefore urged for projects giving voice to refugees worldwide, so that refugees themselves can tell their own story.

As follow-up action, assistance has been provided for the coverage of the current humanitarian crisis around the Rohingya refugees. From October to December 2017, reporters from Inter Press Service, IPDC’s implementing partner, will be reporting from the border areas between Myanmar and Bangladesh, where over 800 000 Rohingya refugees are sheltered in appalling conditions.  

A series of reports are being produced, and disseminated worldwide, aiming to give voice to the communities and tell stories of the vulnerable situations of the worst affected by the crisis, mainly Rohingya women and children. Based on their findings and experiences in the refugee camps of the Rohingya, the reporters will also develop a set of guidelines for journalists for future interaction with displaced communities and reporting on migration crisis.

With this, the IPDC does not only aim to promote best practices of professional reporting on migration issues but also to bring to attention the communication needs of the displaced Rohingya population.

Full special series of reports on the Rohingya crisis:

1. “Every day is a nightmare”, read the full story HERE.

2. “Rohingya Refugees Face Fresh Ordeal in Crowded Camps”, read the full story HERE.

3. “Rohingya Refugees Face: the Woes of Women", read Part One HERE and Part Two HERE.

4. "Rohingyas: Lurching from Crisis to Crisis", read the full story HERE.

5. "Rohingya Refugees Endure Lingering Trauma", read the full story HERE.

6. "Myanmar’s Democracy Feels Strain of Religious Fault Lines", read the full story HERE.

7. "Rohingya Crisis Stokes Fears of Myanmar’s Muslims", read the full story HERE.

8. Photo Essay: "Tales of the 21st Century – Rohingyas Without a State", see HERE.

9. Video: "The Rohingyas ‘Long March to Freedom’", watch HERE.


UNESCO’s IPDC is the multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development. The Programme not only provides support for media development projects but also stimulates international debate on important media-related issues.