The Ethical Journalism Network’s director, Aidan White, participated in the Africa e Mediterraneo and Lai-momo Summer School on Forced Migration and Asylum that will be held in Bologna, from 11th to 16th July 2016.
The Summer School, which received the support of several partners committed in the field of asylum and integration, formed a deep analysis of some fundamental issues associated with the current forced migration phenomenon paying specific attention to the importance of a methodological approach directed towards praxis. International experts, academics and professionals in the field guided the participants during 5 days of intensive training, spurring a fruitful debate and the sharing of experiences, best practices and perspectives, aiming to produce new knowledge and connections between the people involved in the field.
The School’s classes on asylum were taught by 18 lecturers, international experts and professionals of this area of asylum amounting to 34 hours of training of 6 days for the 53 asylum social workers, students, members of international organizations and NGOs, as well as employees of public, national and European administrations who attended.
EJN workshop on Migration Reporting
Aidan White’s session coverage media coverage of migration in Europe and the challenges of developing a culture of ethics and tolerance in public discourse on migration issues. His presentation referred to the EJN’s detailed report on media coverage and the need for a new public movement to eliminate hate-speech and discrimination by using ethical principles of journalism as a key part of media literacy strategies to promote responsible communications.
A major part of the problem revealed by the EJN report Moving Stories is how journalists follow an agenda dominated by politicians who use controversial and dehumanising language about migration. There is a need to challenge hate-speech in the face of anti-migrant or Islamaphobic anti-Muslim statements by leading politicians in Europe and the United States that fuel public concern and hijack media coverage.
In general there is a crisis of falling standards in media because of a lack of editorial resources or the presence of well-informed journalists able to provide in-depth and sensitive reporting and as a result much journalism is driven by hyperbole, intolerance and distortion.
To counter these problems, the EJN recommends a new approach: media should improve their performance by appointing specialist reporters to the migration beat and introduce industry wide and in-house training on migration issues and problems of hate-speech. There should be improved links with migrant and refugee groups; and more employment of journalists from ethnic minority communities to strengthen diversity in newsrooms. What is also needed is a new movement to improve public discourse involving media, civil society and policymakers. It is not just a lack of humanity on the news agenda or a matter of luck or a matter of caring more about some people at the expense of others, but what is needed is a broader lens to see what really is going on. The lack of a wider perspective often leads media to miss the link between migration and human development. In this way media ignore the evidence of that shows how migration, despite short-term challenges, is invariably beneficial for economic and cultural development.