The International Organization for Migration, (IOM,) Nigeria has admonished journalists on the Africa continent to always ensure factual narrative. Apart from that, the United Nation agency also reeled out tips to promote migration reportage with human face at the maiden edition of the African migration summit held in Ghana between February 25-26, 2021.
The event was organized by the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM), headquartered in Nigeria with over 300 journalists covering migration matters across the globe in partnership with the Nekotech Center of Excellence, Ghana.
Delivering a presentation titled: The role of the media in promoting a fact‐ based narrative on migration, Jorge Galindo, the Public Information Officer, IOM Nigeria and his colleague, Elijah Elaigwu, counselled the media practitioners to always painstakingly obtain, analyse and follow rigorously journalistic principles of cross check data and information by citing sources in order to remain impartial and honest.
He said the journalists working on migration would be better for it, if more times were devoted to reflecting on issues before making it public in order to give a voice to the voiceless migrants.
For the IOM team, the media must imbibe more “ethical standards in their reports by fighting against stereotypes, respect people’s dignity, privacy and confidentiality and consider their vulnerabilities.”
While noting the zeal of the media to get the scoop and share compelling stories, they however called for more public awareness of trafficking in persons and irregular migration as a means of encouraging political and social action to combat the crime and protect its victims.
On protection of migrants identity, the IOM urged journalists to be more creative by looking into different angles into stories and situations of migrants.
“We have the power through photography to give a voice to the voiceless. When you are a migration photographer humanity comes first. We may not be professional photographers but we are all storytellers” said the IOM team.
To the IOM, migrants as part of beneficiaries of media reporting deserve respect, empowerment, solidarity, compassion interviewing migrants, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons IDPs
“Think twice before judging a person’s testimony, avoid exaggerating numbers to generate shock, be professional and restraint from broadcast or share morbid or graphic details of death, injury, pain or agony – either publicly or via closed social media groups to avoid publishing sensitive information that may put the vulnerable at risk .
Galindo encouraged journalists to always seek consent without by properly explaining purpose of media publication, avoid interrupting beneficiaries during interview or stop them from raising complaints
IOM Nigeria, is reputable for organizing the annual migration reporter award since 2020 to increase awareness and improve access to trusted sources of information.
It seeks to promote informed decision making through professional and fact‐based journalism in various formats including human interest stories, news articles, and investigative journalism pieces on promoting safe and informed migration, providing information on irregular migration including TIP and smuggling as well as contributing to balancing the narrative on migration.
IOM launches open South America portal
Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Open South America, available in Spanish, English and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.
The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.
The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.
Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.
“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.
“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.
29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM
The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.
About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.
Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.
He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.
Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.
“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”
Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.
“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.
Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.
The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.
FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK
The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.
Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.
Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.
Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.
“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.
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