African and Europe Journalists Trained on Migration Reporting

Twenty seven professional journalists from Africa and Europe received a five-day training workshop on migration, refugee issues covering, values of journalism in a refugee status, migration and refugee on media and issues management .

Researched, content wise and human-interest media coverage on migration plays a main role in raising awareness in Africa on the risks of illegal migration and in the reintegration of returning migrants in their communities.

The workshop, which took place in Rabat, Morocco, brought together a professional journalists, editors and media managers (09-14) Participants initially expressed their views on the current situation as well as the representation of migrants and refugees by the media.

The program is organized by the German Foundation Robert Bosch Stiftung and co-organised by the Erich Brost Institute for International Journalism at Technical University Dortmund, the African Institute for Media, Migration and Development (AIMMAD) and the African Media Initiative (AMI). The program is supported by Goethe Institute Rabat and Konrad Adenauer Foundation Rabat. The organizer emphasis was given to African and European perspective of reporting on media. The workshop was devoted to an exchange of views on good practices and recommendations for the proper implementation of media literacy.

Prof. Dr. Susanne Fengler, Technical University Dortmund, described that “Migration has emerged as a major challenge of the 21st century. Societies in the Global South continue to suffer from a persistently unfavourable global economic structure, ineffective governments and conflicts, leading to a historical record number of migrants worldwide. At the same time, societies in the Global North are confronted with the rise of national populist movements in reaction to rising numbers of refugees. In a fragile global context, sound information on international developments is needed more than ever. However, media coverage of the migration crisis frequently overlooks the economic and socio-political realities driving Africans to leave their countries for other parts of the continent and for Europe. Our September School on Media and Migration will connect and empower journalists from Africa and Europe and aims to promote the quality of covering all aspects of migration in Africa and Europe. Up to 27 outstanding journalists from Africa and Europe will be selected to participate in the September School, in order to broaden their analytical skills, meet with internationally renowned experts, and participate in field trips in the transit country Morocco.”


Participants who were introduced to migration terminology, including the difference between refugee status in persons and political asylum, also discussed how to report stories in the Africa and Europe perspectives and immigrants data analysis were a part of a workshop.  

“The September School on Media and Migration recognizes the vital role of well-trained reporters to inform the decision makers and the broader public better about burning migration issues in the world and inspire on how to best address them. We hope that this workshop equips journalists to reach out more effectively as a positive driver for change about this global challenge,” said Prof. Dr. Susanne Fengeler and Anna -Carina Zappe, TU Dortmund University, coordinators of the program presented Migration Coverage: Towards Cross-Cultural Collaboration Techniques and Experiences – Towards Joint Research Projects

“… East African Refugee Corridor coming Soon on African News channel” By Ayele Addis

The Italia and Ethiopia Migrant corridor ( Italie- Ethiopie : premier couloir humanitaire) by Cécile Debarge

The outcomes of the workshop were built around the pillars of education, collaboration, empowerment and inclusion. The role of education is essential, addressing interactively all, citizens, migrants and refugees. The participants also highlighted the role and the contribution of volunteering and the achievements of the volunteers in regards to the refugee crisis. In relation to migrants and refugees, the focus was put on assisting them in the process of empowering Africa, in order to solve African problem by Africa.

A healthy integration, though, requires clear and precise mapping of refugee- migration stories, using valid data, including the correct use of terminology and the separation of the terms immigrant-migrant and refugee. Especially in relation to media literacy, journalism ethics and accuracy were the main components to be praised in the workshop.

“Before the workshop I thought that all people migrate [refugee], said participant Tersoo Peter Zamber who reports for National Radio in Nigeria. “But I understand that refugee and migrant is different, While, there is no formal legal definition most experts agree that an international migrant is someone who changes their country of usual residence, irrespective of the reason for migration or legal status. A refugee is a person who is outside their country of origin for reasons of feared persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order and requires international protection.

“…

Refugee

Refugees are persons who are outside their country of origin for reasons of feared persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order and, as a result, require international protection.  The refugee definition can be found in the 1951 Convention and regional refugee instruments, as well as UNHCR’s Statute.  

–United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Migrant

While there is no formal legal definition of an international migrant, most experts agree that an international migrant is someone who changes his or her country of usual residence, irrespective of the reason for migration or legal status. Generally, a distinction is made between short-term or temporary migration, covering movements with a duration between three and 12 months, and long-term or permanent migration, referring to a change of country of residence for a duration of one year or more.

The African-European project “Journalism in a Global Context” aims at connecting journalism students, scientists and media representatives in Africa and Europe, thus promoting the quality of migration reporting of Europe and Africa in a crucial time of development for both continents.

The project started in 2015 with a conference in Dortmund, which was followed by international conferences in Addis Ababa (2015), Nairobi (2016) and the “Media and Migration Spring School” in Dakar. In Senegal, 27 journalists from 20 African and European countries developed ideas for sustainable and inventive reporting on migration. 

Previously, students from both continents worked together on stories that aim to show the realities of African refugees in Europe and mention alternatives to flee. Communication studies and journalism institutes from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda participated in this exchange.

Moreover, the project takes a closer look on the role of the media in the refugee crisis: How do African media report – and frame – the current massive exodus of fellow countrymen? How do media across Europe live up to the challenge of covering the dramatic events at home and in the Mediterranean Sea – as well as the political and economic situation in the migrants’ home countries? The research findings have been published online.