Specialized workshop on journalism and migration brought to a close
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Panama, with the support of the Western Hemisphere Program and within the framework of the communication for development campaign Piénsalo 2 Veces, held a workshop from 12 to 14 July, 2022, with the aim of strengthening the capacities of social communicators and journalists from different television, radio, print and digital media for the production of ethical, stereotype-free and responsible information content on migration with a human rights approach.
The journalists and social communicators who participated in the workshop also had the opportunity to expand their knowledge on the contexts and legal, social and political nature of human displacement with emphasis on Panama and the region to strengthen the generation of media content that addresses the situation and conditions of migrants with a focus on human rights and that allow the migrant population to have access to reliable information on human trafficking, migratory regularization and labour rights.
In addition to having practical components, during the first two days people participated in theoretical training sessions that were carried out by government counterparts such as the National Commission against Trafficking in Persons and specialists from IOM and other agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations System such as UNAIDS and PAHO. It is worth mentioning the participation as facilitator of the doctor, lawyer and academic Rosario Correa, who is part of the UN Committee of Experts on the Rights of the Child.
In the practical session on the third day, participants addressed different quick reference documents with considerations when covering migration based on what was learned in the workshop.
"For me, the Specialized Workshop on Journalism and Migration was very enriching. Each topic addressed by the facilitators, in addition to being extremely interesting, was dynamic and complete. Personally, I can say that my vision regarding the development of migration procedures changed completely when I knew what this represents; especially when we understand that migration is a process that includes people whose human rights are the same for everyone, regardless of their nationality, age, sex or religion. As a social communicator, after this workshop, I feel committed to fulfilling my role as a journalist who influences society with behaviours, habits and values whose main objective is to guide citizens to be more human and provide dignified treatment to all migrants", said journalist Maybelline Melony of Noticias Stereo Oeste
In Panama, the issue of migration has historically been at the heart of the national discussion, but in recent years, together with the increase in migratory flows, there have been moments that have generated debate and make these movements of particular interest to the media at the national, regional and international levels.
It is key to take into account the importance of addressing this issue based on facts and evidence that contribute to reducing prejudices and generating awareness about the contribution of migrants to society. Great progress has been achieved so that this media coverage promotes an understanding of the migratory phenomenon and contributes to eliminating prejudice and discrimination.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has worsened pre-existing inequalities in society. While the coronavirus does not discriminate, it has inadvertently exposed migrants to higher levels of discrimination and xenophobic reactions both online and on the streets.
"For IOM, it is essential to support processes that lead to the formulation of messages that recognize the positive contribution of migrants, which is why the media has an important role to play in improving public opinion on migration, migrants and suppressing discriminatory, stigmatized discourse, deconstructing narratives of ‘us versus them’ and enhancing access to reliable information for this population”, said Santiago Paz, Head of IOM's Global Administrative Centre and Chief of Mission in Panama. For more information, contact IOM Panama's communications team via email@example.com