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STRENGTHENING ACCESS TO INFORMATION ON IRREGULAR MIGRATION

28/08/2019
Minna/Lagos, Nigeria
16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

In the last years, irregular movements from Africa to Europe have gained increased and extensive attention. According to the 2017 International Migration report, the number of migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly in recent years, reaching 258 million in 2017; a sharp increase from 173 million in 2000 and 220 million in 2010. It is apparent that irregular migration is often the general issue that masks the public’s fears and uncertainties relating to unemployment, housing or social cohesion in countries of destination or loss and waste of human capital as well as economic dependency especially in countries of origin.

Although the media has significantly influenced public discourse as agenda setters, shaping public opinion and thereby affecting all stakeholders, especially policymakers. Balanced media reporting means avoiding single-issue headlines, over or under-representation of particular groups. It implies recognition of the fact that migrants are not a homogenous group and that migration is often

times linked to many other public issues. However, the patterns of movements, migrant profiles as well as reasons and experiences of the journey still often lack evidence-based and unbiased reporting; economic statistics coming out of Africa describe a continent on the move with unprecedented growth and economic opportunities.

At the core of UNESCO’s framework of the promotion of Universal Access to Information through improved narratives on migration in Africa and in Europe and freedom of expression, promoting peaceful and inclusive societies towards the achievement of SDG 16.10, building the capacity of reporters and journalists among others, either through trainings or informational materials is paramount. This approach creates a core group of journalists who are able to accurately report on the subject matter.

Balanced media reporting also requires breaking down the barriers of diversity within the media to uncover and tell original investigative stories on Migration related risks and their root causes in ways that can have positive impact on the society.

The capacity-building workshops for Community radio content producers and Investigative Journalists implemented on behalf of UNESCO by Nuryne Media Consult Limited and Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism both took place on the 28th-29th August in Minna, Niger State and in Lagos State on the 5th - 6th September 2019 respectively through funding from the Italian government Agency for Development Cooperation. The training workshops focused on equipping media professionals with the ability to produce better-informed journalism that seeks to inform rather than inflame public discussion on irregular migration.

In light of these interventions, Journalists are expected to deal ethically with vulnerable communities and migrant crisis in Nigeria as well as conscientiously work towards changing the narrative on migration with a focus on creating social impact story telling.