Accra – The Ghanaian press have a critical role to play shaping the public’s perception of migration, reporters, columnists and civil society partners were told during two days of media training provided by the International Organization for Migration this week in Accra.
“The young adults who responded to our field surveys ranked the media as their third most influential source of information about migration issues,” IOM media trainer Paul Dillon told the 56 participants at the Media Training on Ethical and Journalistic Reportage on Migrants workshop. “Ghanaian journalists will continue to shape public opinion so it is important we work to encourage a responsible conversation about migration-related issues.”
The training provided a broad overview of the global migration megatrend before zeroing in on the circumstances in Ghana, demystified legal terminologies, used quizzes and role-playing to explore the power of images and challenge personal biases. Journalists were also briefed about the current situation in Libya, traditionally a destination for many young Ghanaians seeking work or passage to Europe.
Journalists were introduced to useful on-line information sources like IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (www.missingmigrants.int), the Displacement Tracking Matrix (http://www.globaldtm.info) and other resources few had seen before.
The workshop also identified unexplored story angles including the significant role remittances play in supporting national economies, the booming business of illicit visa “brokers” and the trafficking of young women overseas.
“We've seen a lot of enthusiasm from the journalists, bloggers and CSO representatives over the past two days, a real thirst for information and context, and a realization that ‘migration’ topics can be found in every reporter’s beat,” Dillon said.
Respected Ghanaian radio personality and media trainer Tommy Annan-Forson walked the groups through ethical considerations of covering sensitive stories about migration including the return of vulnerable migrants from Libya and human trafficking cases, and urged attendees to adhere to the Ghana Journalists Association’s Code of Conduct.
The training programme was part of the Aware Migrants Information Campaign – Engaging West African Communities funded by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. The programme raises awareness about irregular migration in West Africa by sharing the stories of irregular migrant returnees with potential migrants and youth in order to educate them about the risks.