IOM, Pan - Atlantic University Develop Comprehensive Course for Journalists on Migration Reporting in Nigeria

The relevance of media in all aspects of human endeavour cannot be overemphasised, especially in the area of better migration management. Media engagement is imperative given the pressing need to promote safe and regular migration as well as discourage irregular migration. 

IOM’s role goes hand in hand with a strong and impartial media towards enlightening, mobilising, and sensitising both the public and stakeholders in Nigeria.  With support from the media, the International Organization for Migration is making efforts to address some of the challenges faced by migrants, returnees, internally displaced persons, refugees and potential migrants. Issues such as stigmatisation, misinformation and vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation can be tackled via mass media and community-based interventions. 

IOM in partnership with the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU) developed a course curriculum for reporting migration stories as part of the Global Migration Media Academy (GMMA). The GMMA provides the platform for IOM as a global organization to standardise media training on migration and strengthen ethical, factual and accurate reporting of migration in mainstream media.

“The commitment of IOM to address irregular migration and fight against human trafficking in Nigeria aims at achieving sustainable impact through a comprehensive and holistic approach,” said Ms Prestage Murima, IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission, a.i. “IOM will continue to work with media to shed light on the plight of the people, and the hidden opportunities that arise from migration. Governments, migrants, potential migrants, and average citizens are much more likely to hear about IOM’s work through the media,.” she added.

The GMMA was created to bridge the gap in media trainings on the topic of migration. It is a learning hub that offers classroom and online courses in multiple languages to anyone interested in covering this complex topic.  Currently, IOM missions in Nigeria, Mexico, Serbia, Morrocco and the Philippines are part of the academy. The GMMA is committed to providing fact-based, balanced and diverse viewpoints and promoting new voices in the field by eliminating barriers to professional development and learning. 

“The production and promotion of positive narratives on migration has been identified as an effective way to counter misinformation and disinformation that incite fear and sow divisions that lead to stigmatisation and discrimination. As we establish the GMMA, it is key to have reputable academic institutions working with us to develop standardised training tools on media and migration.” said, Lalini Veerassamy, IOM Ireland Chief of Mission Lalini Veerassamy.

Between 16–20 May 2022, 30 journalists from Lagos, Abuja, Benin City, Asaba, Maiduguri and Yola were trained by facilitators from the School of Media & Communication at PAU. The trainers tackled topics such as Migration & Climate Change Development Communication and Migration, Reporting Vulnerable Audience and Migration through Storytelling; Social Media and Migration Reporting, Media Ethics and Migration, Reporting on Data amongst others.

Earlier, a similar course module was delivered to students of the department of Media and Mass Communication of the Pan-Atlantic University. Five IOM volunteer migrants also took part in the training, and they shared their first experiences of their migratory journeys.

“The Global Migration Media Academy is an excellent platform that will enthrone ethical leadership and programme migration studies for better media reporting and understanding of the migration context in Nigeria and Africa. We are glad that we are partnering IOM on this,” said Dr. Mike Okolo, Dean, School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University.

The overarching goal is for these modules to be accredited by the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to form part of the curriculum in departments of Media and Mass Communication of Nigerian Universities.

The partnership between IOM, and PAU aims to promote sensitisation on safe migration choices through ethical and fact-based reporting of migration stories in the mainstream media.

This initiative is funded by the European Union and Government of Netherlands.

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