West Africa trains journalists on “Good Media Practices and Migration”

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The last of a series of trainings for journalists on migration coverage was carried out by the IOM country office in Burkina Faso. The series of trainings were held in four countries – Senegal, the Gambia, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

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With a fast-growing, young and increasingly urban population, West Africa is undergoing rapid changes in population dynamics, which influence migration patterns. Senegal, the Gambia, Burkina Faso and Ghana are crucial countries for several reasons. They play a very important role as countries of origin and/or transit along the main migratory routes.

Burkina Faso is one of the most relevant transit countries in the region. Along with Mali, it is the last crossing before migrants reach Niger and the “desert highway” to Libya. There is an increasingly complex mix of migrants utilizing this route, including economic migrants, refugees and migrants fleeing crisis.

The dimensions of this mixed migratory flow must be explained in media coverage of events related to migration in Burkina Faso and in the region. These considerations are quite important when reporting about migrants in vulnerable situations, including victims of trafficking, unaccompanied migrant children or even when discussing certain stereotypes and stigmas attributed to migrants.

Rémis Fulgance Dandjinou, Minister of Communication and Relations with Parliament of Burkina Faso, said: “A more relevant and valued information could lead to another representation of migration, questioning its real issues while contributing to deconstruct the negative vision that the people and governments (from the host or destination country) may have or maintain towards those persons.”

The trainings were organized in each of the above-mentioned countries and lasted two days. The participants attended workshops on how to use the right terminology, the difference between smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons, the importance of image in media coverage and interactive role plays on migration issues.

Said one participant: “In our role as journalists, I agree that ethics, mastery of the terminology and semantics, respect for the private life of migrants, the diversification and the verification of the sources of information are the duties which are incumbent on all of us working on the thematic.”

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