Ethical Journalism Network Guidelines and Reports

5 point reporting guide for migration

Ethical Journalism Network Studies on Migration Reporting

Fatal Journeys

In September 2017 the International Organization of Migration launched ‘Fatal Journeys’, a study on improving data on missing migrants, with a chapter written by the EJN, at the Frontline Club in London.

The EJN’s Director Aidan White, co-wrote the third chapter, ‘Challenges faced by the media in reporting migrant deaths’, with Ann Singleton a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol and Senior Advisor to the International Organisation of Migration’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC). The chapter focuses on the ethical challenges of reporting on the missing and dead, and how can information be presented without de-humanising the victims or breaching their rights to privacy.

Read the chapter co-authored by the EJN here.

How do media on both sides of the Mediterranean report on migration?

This Ethical Journalism Network was commissioned by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development to produce a study analysing how media cover migration in 17 countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa. ICMPD commissioned the study within the framework of EUROMED Migration IV (EMM4, 2016-2019) which is financed by the European Union and implemented by ICMPD.

The preliminary findings of the study were launched in January 2017 at the Brussels Press Club with the full study launched in May 2017. The study covers nine EU countries and eight countries in the south of the Mediterranean. It finds that journalists are often poorly informed about the complex nature of migration as a phenomenon. At the same time newsrooms are also vulnerable to pressure, manipulation and hate speech by some political elites or voices on social media networks. The study also highlights inspirational examples of journalism at its best –resourceful, painstaking, and marked by careful, sensitive and humanitarian reporting. In order to address the identified challenges it  provides a series of detailed recommendations and calls for training, better funding of media action and other activities to support and foster more balanced and fact-based journalism on immigration, emigration, integration, asylum and other migration-related challenges.

Moving Stories


The Ethical Journalism Network commissioned Moving Stories in 2015 – a review of how media in selected countries have reported on refugees and migrants in a tumultuous year. The writers and researchers from or working in the 14 countries covered in the report examine the quality of coverage and to highlight reporting problems as well as good work.

The conclusions and recommendations from many different parts of the world are remarkably similar: journalism under pressure from a weakening media economy; political bias and opportunism that drives the news agenda; the dangers of hate speech, stereotyping and social exclusion of refugees and migrants. But at the same time there have been inspiring examples of careful, sensitive and ethical journalism that have shown empathy for the victims.

In most countries the story has been dominated by two themes – numbers and emotions. Most of the time coverage is politically led with media often following an agenda dominated by loose language and talk of invasion and swarms. At other moments the story has been laced with humanity, empathy and a focus on the suffering of those involved.

What is unquestionable is that media everywhere play a vital role in bringing the world’s attention to these events.

ILO – Why is reporting fairly on migration so important?

Organisations & Websites

Global Forum On Migration and Development (GFMD)

UN-orchestrated international forum on migration and development. Includes civil society days as an entry point for wider civil society participation by business and NGOs.

The Hague Process

The 2002 Declaration of The Hague on the Future of Refugee and Migration Policy is based on the vision of a just world where refugees and migrants contribute to economic and social development, cultural richness and diversity without suffering discrimination and human rights violations. The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (Foundation THP) has as its mission to support the implementation of this Declaration.

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

UN specialized agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized labour and human rights. ILO page on lobor migration

International Organisation for Migration IOM

IOM is the leading inter-governmental organisation in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.

Migrant Forum in Asia
MFA is a regional network of non-government organizations (NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia who are committed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers.

Recruitment Reform is a global civil society initiative to aggregate current news, research, campaigns, and policy initiatives on international labour migration and recruitment.

Migrants Rights International

MRI is a global, non-governmental alliance of migrant associations, human rights, labor, religious, academic and other organizations which operate at the local, national, regional or international level. is online content-based advocacy forum that aims to advance the rights of migrant workers in the Middle East, and to encourage social action to address human rights abuses.

SDC Migration Network

The basic working platform of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s (SDC) “Migration and Development Network”. The site offers information on concepts, tools, lessons learned, policies and processes, training opportunities and expertise.

The Ethical Journalism Network is partnering with the ILO to deliver the fellowship. The fellowship is being implemented as part of the International Labour Organisations’ Regional Fair Migration Project in the Middle East (FAIRWAY).

The ILO Migration Journalism Fellowship Programme is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.