Nigerian Journalists Agree on First Code of Conduct for Ethical Journalism on Migration
Benin City – Forty-five (45) Nigerian journalists joined forces to draft the first code of conduct for ethical journalism about migrants, returnees and displaced populations in Nigeria. The document was presented following discussions during the Media Workshop on Migration hosted by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, from 18 to 20 July in Benin City.
The purpose of the training was to equip media professionals from print, TV and radio outlets with the tools and terminology to talk about migration to their audiences in an accurate and humane manner. It also served to sensitize journalists about IOM’s work in Nigeria, including the assisted voluntary return and reintegration programme which has assisted over 10,000 Nigerians to come home from Libya mainly, the humanitarian response in the country’s North-East region and the Migrants as Messengers initiative, a peer-to-peer messaging campaign that works with returning migrants to share their stories about the realities of irregular migration.
“Media professionals play a key role in Nigerian society," said Florence Kim, IOM Regional Media and Communications Officer for West and Central Africa. "They have the power to initiate a national dialogue on topics such as migration. In a migration-prone country such as Nigeria, we need to ensure that journalists can cover migration in an informed way. For the first time in West Africa, 45 journalists decided on the guiding principles they will follow to better inform the public on migration. This is one of IOM’s largest and most promising media engagement achievements in the region.”
The trainees joined a brainstorming session during which they shared ideas about the principles, terminology and key elements of the code of conduct, which they will present to their editors and fellow journalists for adoption.
The participants also had the opportunity to visit IOM reintegration projects in Edo State, the main state of departure for thousands of Nigerian migrants-where returnees are currently participating in collective reintegration activities such as poultry farming. They also heard testimonies of migrants coming back from Libya, such as Victory, a young man from Edo State who faced starvation and physical abuse on his journey. 51 per cent of the 9,159 Nigerian returnees assisted since April 2017 come from Edo State.
“One of my favorite moments was listening to the returnees tell their stories,” said Nwakaego Ohaegbulam, a radio host from HotFM radio station in Owerri. “Besides getting to know how to refer to migrants more humanely, I learned about the importance of reliable data on migration, like the fact that most international migrants come from Europe and not from Africa.”
The workshop was funded by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration governance through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative, funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries, among which 13 in West and Central Africa
The workshop was also made possible with the support from the Government of the Netherlands under the Migrants as Messengers project.