CSN TASKS MEDIA PRACTITIONERS ON BALANCE REPORTAGE AS WATCHDOGS
Mary Ekere, Benin
With the aim of shaping and balancing the narratives on media reporting of migration and its policies, the Civil Society Network on Migration and Development has organized a capacity building workshop for media agencies.
The Society expressed that the media which is known for making the masses see what they want them to see, ought to balance their reports on migration and the discourse surrounding it.
They upheld that migration is far off what the media coloured as evil thus, the need for them to make efforts toward verifying their data, aim at accurate presentation in order to educate the public that “migration is for the benefit of all”.
The workshop which was a two-day event, 8th and 9th April, 2021 was held at Vichi Gates Hotel and Suites, Benin city.
It was funded by the European Union, EU within the framework of the European Union – International Organisation for Migration, EU-IOM union migrants protection and reintegration in Nigeria.
Affirming that the media plays an important role in disseminating migration narrative to the populace with an agreement on their part, that the narrative may not be balanced, the Chief of Mission, International Organisation for Migration, Celestin Frantz said the essence of the Workshop was to showcase the positive perspective of migration and to discuss the role that the media plays, in having a balanced conversation and reportage.
Frantz through his Representative, Project Officer, Migration Data and Policy, Adebanke Ogun expressed optimism that with the two days Capacity Building Workshop, media agencies will understand migration dynamic, the trends, use of right terminologies and the better way of communicating migration in Nigeria and in the globe whilst coming to terms with the IOM’s mission statements, ‘Migration for the benefits of all’.
Ogun revealed that so far, the project has been undertaken in two other geo-political zones of North-West and South-East with the South-South zone as the third beneficiary of the workshop.
The Coordinator of Civil Society Network on Migration and Development, Nigeria, CSOnetMADE, Emeka Obiezu urged media agencies to ensure that right terminologies are used in reporting issues of migration with emphasis that “no person is illegal but he or she could only make an irregular movement from a home country into a country of destination”.
Also, the Honourable Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, NCFRMI, Basheer Mohammed expected that Journalists will engage the lessons from the workshop in Strengthening their capacity to design more strategy nationally, regionally and globally on media reporting.
The Zonal Coordinator, NCFRMI South South Zone, Innocent Efoghe who represented the Federal Commissioner implored the Practitioners to help shape public perception of migrants, ensure that migrants have equal access to migration while showcasing the responsibilities and consequences of cross border mobility, settlement and protection.
Appreciating participants at the close of the Workshop, the National Program Officer of International Organisation for Migration, Ukamaka Osigwe said she is optimistic that with the training afforded the media community, narratives on migration will be balanced and no longer portrayed from one slant.
Likewise, the Program Officer, Mary Osato while presenting the overview of the workshop said, the realization that the media plays a critical role through their reportage prompted the training and other interfaces with media agencies across various geopolitical zones of the country.
Media participants thanked the partnering organizations for organizing the workshop which has made them better informed hence, pledging to bring to bare, the lessons learnt from the training and ensuring that reports on migration are balanced, factual and accurate with the right terminologies used.
Meanwhile, an evaluation session was held in assessing the level of assimilation whilst, ethical guidelines for reporting of migration was drafted by the participants.
Some activities for day one included “presentation on EU-IOM initiative” undertaken by Adebanke Ogun, “migration and the media” by Osita Osemene and “understanding migration: concepts and definitions” by Emeka Obiezu.
Day two featured “migration trends and dynamics”, “migration governance in Nigeria” and “thematic session for developing the ethical guidelines”.
Representatives of the media drawn from the South South geopolitical zone were, Mary Ekere reporting for Niger Delta Post, Akwa Ibom State, Uko Sam Ebema for Radio Nigeria, Akwa Ibom; Edo State – Adesuwa Ehimuan (FRCN), Andy Egbon(Nigeria Observer), Churchill Okoro (Business Day), Akpomejaro Friday (Plus Tv), Peace Ifidon (Vibes FM); Bayelsa State – Grace Orumieyefa (Radio Bayelsa), Bedford Benjamin (thebreath Tv, online).
Others were, Cross River State – Umo Bassey Edet (NTA Calabar), Maria Ewa (Radio Nigeria), Magdalene Eyoma (CRBC), Delta State – Eunice Emeyazia (Delta Broadcasting Service), Akpokona Omafuaire (Vanguard Newspaper) and Rivers State – Kome Odhomor (Quest TV) and Farid Suleiman (NTA Port Harcourt).