This is a Chapter of the Study “How does the media on both sides of the Mediterranean report on migration?” carried out and prepared by the Ethical Journalism Network and commissioned in the framework of EUROMED Migration IV – a project, financed by the European Union and implemented by ICMPD. © European Union, 2017.
Reinforcing positive examples and approaches
To promote existing best practice examples and to encourage use of available information and data including relevant research, glossaries and fact-based materials as set out in the analysis of available material included with this study. In particular, efforts should be made to
- Examine whether national initiatives, such as the Charter of Rome in Italy and the Greek Charter of Idomeni, can be applied in other countries throughout the region;
- Promote exchange of media best practices from countries where the migration crisis is most acute, such as Lebanon and Jordan and other Southern Mediterranean countries
- Encourage journalists, media support groups and media organisations to develop regional and sub-regional initiatives to improve migration reporting, including use of the Ethical Journalism Network’s guide to migration reporting and its 5-point test for hate speech;
- Encourage prizes and awards at national and regional level to provide examples of professionalism in reporting migration on all platforms of journalism; Promote fresh research by academics on media and migration to identify trends and to highlight developments on different aspects of migration, including the media reporting of refugees and displaced persons.
To develop comprehensive training programmes for media and journalists including workshops and online methods to encourage ethical reporting with a focus on:
- Use of correct terminology
- Understanding international humanitarian law and legal rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers Avoiding hate speech and political bias in reporting of migration concerns
- Use of images, video and photography
- Providing balanced coverage of the migrant issue from the standpoints of arrivals and host communities
- Ensuring presence of diverse voices in media coverage, particularly from migrant groups (settled and new arrivals) as well as from host communities
- Targeting key players in media organisations, including editors-in-chief and media owners, to show how migration can be placed in the mainstream of editorial work.
- Developing diversity in sources of information.
To develop support programmes for media organisations and to strengthen their capacity to report on migration issues. In particular, by:
- The appointment of specialist migration correspondents in all newsrooms
- Improving the conditions of journalists and media workers, including freelance staff
- Providing resources for research and in-depth journalism to report on the complexities of migration
- Promoting national media partnerships for coverage of migration
- Preparing and circulating glossaries and handbooks on migration reporting for newsrooms and journalists working across all media platforms. Make them available in real time in languages used by the media and have them updated regularly.
- Encouraging the appointment of people with experience of working on migration issues or journalists who are migrants or come from migrant families to work in media
- Promoting media action to give more voice to migrant communities through support for media initiatives targeting migrants and refugees (settled communities and new arrivals) including radio programmes in appropriate languages; blogs, columns and articles by migrant commentators
- Strengthening the capacity of public service media to report on migration particularly by providing special news and information resources for displaced people from war-zones to help them keep in touch with their home communities
- Establishing regular and continual media monitoring and reporting on how media cover migration Encouraging newsrooms to move beyond coverage of the migration “crisis” and move into coverage of issues of integration that will assist normalisation of migrants in the public sphere.
The Role of Policymakers
To encourage policymakers, community and civil society leaders to play a more active role in creating space for tolerance and dialogue in public discussion of migration. In particular,
- Policymakers should examine how they can fund and support better journalism without compromising the editorial independence of the media;
- Political leaders and people in public life who feature in the media should be fact-based in their communications and restrained in the language and terminology they use;
- All officials and agencies providing information to the media should check facts and verify information thereby assisting the media to prepare balanced reports.
Building Dialogues: Understanding Migration and a Culture of Civil Discourse
To promote the sharing of information and experience between countries and new dialogues at national level aimed at improving understanding in the media and the public at large by
- Organising national workshops and conferences with journalists and media on the challenges of covering migration, to share experiences and to identify possible joint programmes of editorial work;
- Organising regional media “summits” or sub-regional conferences to exchange information on the challenges facing journalists and media in different countries;
- Promoting activities for dialogue involving all stakeholders – migrant communities, civil society groups, academics, media and policymakers – on the need for a common approach to
- combat hate-speech, stereotyping and misinformation in public discourse
- awareness and understanding of migration as a natural process with historical roots in all communities
- the importance of independent and inclusive media coverage to creating peace and stability
- Inserting migration issues into existing programmes to support public education and training in media literacy
- Developing research and media monitoring programmes with universities, media support groups and the media at large to create reliable and useful information on migrant conditions, the impact of media coverage and the creation of an information space for all stakeholders around migration issues.
- Encouraging the creation of independent and alternative media voices inspired from within migration communities.