18th November 2016
By Tom Law

Combating Hate and Building Trust in Reporting of Migration

East Africa and Great Lakes Declaration

Kampala, October 20-22nd 2016

We the journalists, editors and media professionals meeting at the workshop held at the Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala, Uganda, on 20th _ 22nd October 2016 to discuss hate speech, migration and media ethics in East Africa and Lakes region,

Recognising that coverage of migration is becoming increasingly important in Africa due to huge number of internally displaced people, refugees and victims of trafficking, as well as other forms of migration,

Considering that African journalists unions and associations recognise that ethical journalism can play an essential role in deepening the understanding of migration, its causes and its consequences in order to encourage a peaceful and tolerant society,

Insisting that hate speech, particularly against migrants and minorities, should always be exposed by the media, while promoting the values of ethical journalism as in inspiration for free expression and media literacy,

Noting the tendency of media to focus on the movement of people rather than the root causes – push and pull factors – and the policies of governments and inter-governmental agencies,

Believing that editorial stereotypes and media adopting a dominant political narrative by populist leaders toward migrants creates a distorted and wholly inaccurate image of the role of migrants in society,

Dismayed that media neglect of discrimination against migrants and minorities may reinforce these attitudes and that failure to cover the migration story fully erodes trust with audiences,

Convinced that media and journalists can play a positive role in holding governments and others to account and that media can put forward solutions and opportunities that arise from the movement of people,

Welcoming the desire of journalists across Africa to tell the story of migration without self-censorship and recognising that there is an urgent need to promote responsible fact-based reporting and provide audiences with historical context,

Further recognising that investigative journalism can play a key role in shedding light on the human trafficking networks that profit from the desperation of people willing to leave their homes looking for a better life,

Calling on the media owners and editors to provide the resources needed to cover the many facets of the migration story and ensure that their journalists are able to cover the story of migration independently and without cause to self-censor,

We declare our support for the Ethical Journalism Network’s Turning the Page of Hate campaign and guidelines on migration coverage, and call on all journalists and media leaders to practice ethical, tolerant and inclusive journalism and to promote editorial action that will enable journalists to pursue insightful coverage of migration with the independence, humanity, impartiality and accuracy that the ethics of journalism demand.

Having considered the problems facing journalists and media in East Africa and the Great Lakes we further urge all media professional groups – press owners, editors, journalists, broadcasters and online media – to work together in support of this campaign, and we call for an action plan covering the following recommendations:

1. Training:

African journalists need to be empowered to have the confidence to cover the story rather than rely on stories picked from foreign news organisations and news agencies, specifically:

  • EJN’s training modules on reporting migration, hate speech and media ethics to be shared and used by media organisations and journalism training institutions schools colleges.
  • EJN training resources to be accompanied by further training to strengthen ethical practice and standards, as well as provision of training on solution-based journalism.
  • Training of trainers (ToT) workshops to be organised to increase the capacity of journalism trainers and train union officials and other journalism professionals to be able to deliver the training on ethical theory and practice.
  • Training and capacity building of journalists to help them understand the national and international legal framework and definitions of migration by expanding on existing glossaries and resources
  • Organisation of training on mobile journalism from both a technical and ethical perspective.

2. Newsroom Standards

The EJN migration guidelines should be enhanced with further elements that may be particular to the African context, to ensure:

  • That media empower migrants to tell their own stories by equipping them with skills and allocation of editorial space/airtime to give migrants a voice,
  • That journalists carry out comprehensive research on various topics related to migration and hate speech,
  • That journalists who cover sensitive stories around migration, especially disputes between host communities are mindful of the damage they may cause,
  • That media owners and editors support the creation of platforms that will help investigate and expose cases of human trafficking and those that benefit from modern-day slavery,
  • Encouragement for journalists to have a specialisation in migration,
  • Commitment to fact-led objective reporting that is independent and balances political and humanitarian narratives with those of the individuals and communities affected,
  • That media and journalists look to find new ways of telling the story of migration through animation and other innovative storytelling.

3. Partnership with Migrant and Refugee Journalists

The EJN and all partners in Africa should encourage solidarity in journalism and in particular to support refugee journalists and utilise their potential and insight, and to

  • Promote newsroom co-operation regionally and internationally,
  • Encourage exchange visits for journalist reporting on migration and international cooperation and pooling of resources in order for news organisations with limited resources to tell the story of migration across borders,
  • Collaborate with refugee and migrant journalists who can help bridge language and cultural barriers

4. Access to information

The EJN and other partners should work together to promote action and strategic partnerships with key actors in migration – such as intergovernmental organisations and NGOs – both locally and internationally. In addition:

  • Governments must allow free movement of journalists in order to report on displaced people and refugees,
  • Media should reach out to governments and other stakeholders to work together to create accurate data on migration,

5. Improving Working Conditions

All media partners should work to create safe and secure conditions for the exercise of journalism and also provide support for journalists who cover traumatic events or suffer from trauma themselves and ensure that they have the support they need.

6. Special protection on human rights

The EJN and other partners should work to strengthen human rights protection through co-operation between journalists and all stakeholders, in particular,

  • To recognise the need to protect the human rights of all sections of the community and to increase awareness within journalism and society of the dangers of cultural intolerance and hate speech,
  • To press media houses to provide safety training for all journalists and photojournalists when on potentially dangerous assignments and for media to work with security experts to sensitive journalist on security and safety measures. Such training must recognise the needs of women media staff who often face particular threats of bullying and harassment from police, security forces and others,

7. Improving the status of migration reporting

The EJN and all partners agree to promote an African journalism award for ethical coverage of migration which should aim to enhance the standing of migration reporting and reward good journalism.

Finally, we thank the Ugandan Journalists Union and the Ethical Journalism Network for the organisation of this meeting and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its support.

We urge them to broaden support for the campaign through further co-operation with media groups across to exchange information and work together to combat hate speech in media, improve coverage of migration and to use the ethics of journalism as an inspiration for free expression and media ethics.

Kampala, October 22nd 2016


  1. Racheal Nakitare, Ethical Journalism Network Africa Representative
  2. Lucy Ekadu, President, Ugandan Journalists Union
  3. Louis Tomasi, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Africa, (The Gambia)
  4. Foster Dongozi, Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), (Zimbabwe)
  5. Salim Amin, A24 Media, (Kenya)
  6. Mercy Achieng Kadado, KCA (Kenya)
  7. Eric Oduor, Kenyan Union of Journalists/Eastern African Journalists Association (Kenya)
  8. Samson Kamalamo, Tanzanian Union of Journalists
  9. Linda Mbabazi, Rwanda Journalists Association
  10. Erick Nampesya, Journalist, Tanzania
  11. Ahishakiye Jean, Rwanda Journalists Association
  12. Oliver Modi, Union of Journalists of South Sudan
  13. Edward Terso – Union of Journalists of South Sudan
  14. Edmund Kagire, Rwanda Journalists Association
  15. Alexander Niyungeko, Eastern African Journalists Association (Burundi)