On 21 Feb 2018, EJN’s adviser, Bill Orme, addressed an informal hearing at the United Nations as part of the preparatory process for an international conference for migration to adopt a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.
The session was opened by the President of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák and also heard from Louise Arbour, Secretary-General of the intergovernmental conference to adopt the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. The session focused on the importance of quality and disaggregated data, including looking at the common misperceptions around migration including the use of facts and how migration is being portrayed.
The panel, which was moderated by Michele Klein-Solomon, Senior Policy Adviser to the Director General of IOM, addressed the “challenge of inaccurate narratives about migration” focusing on the role of media and the need to work in partnership to encourage an evidence-based debate about migration. The discussion considered practical ways media can contribute to shaping the debate around migration and avoid misinformation.
According to the UN News:
Mr. Lajcak said that during the Compact’s consultation phase, there were repeated calls for more disaggregated data on migration.
He warned when facts and information are absent, a vacuum develops in their place, and the vacuum can quickly be filled by emotional rhetoric, politicized messaging, or even hate speech.
The private sector, civil society, regional organizations and the UN can act as crucial sources of data and facts needed for Governments to make decisions and policies on migration, he stressed.
Furthermore, an objective media is key because it can distil sometimes technical, or complex, data down to information products, which are accessible to wider audiences.
Bill spoke about the Ethical Journalism Network’s migration reporting guidelines, which are available as an infographic and as a video, as well as the findings of the three major reports on migration reporting that the EJN has published or contributed to.
- How do media on both sides of the Mediterranean report on migration – A 17-country study commissioned by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development to produce a study analysing how media cover migration in Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
- Fatal Journeys – Improving Data on Missing Migrants – Published by the IOM in 2017.
- Refugees Images: Ethics in the Picture – From the EJN’s 2017 Ethics in the News report.
- Moving Stories – An international review of how media cover migration published by the EJN in 2015.