Migration experts have tasked media professionals with the importance of reporting migration from a positive perspective, with the aim of informing the public on migration.
The experts shared their opinion at a two-day ‘National Stakeholders’ Meeting on Good Practices and Action Plan to Support a Diverse Approach on Migration Reporting’ organized by Light-up Africa Development Initiative (LADI) in collaboration with UNESCO and Media Awareness and Information for ALL Network (MAIN) with support from Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.
Identifying some of the factors behind migration and the reason the media needs to provide relevant information for members of the public to make informed decisions; Prof. Sharon Adetutu Omotoso from the University of Ibadan disclosed that many people migrate because of “status embellishment, religion, overrated diaspora value, social pressure, and dystopia mentality.”
Prof Omotoso also identified other contributory factors for migration as; “Educational level, social-cultural issues, negative attitudes towards divorced, widowed, childless or single women also contribute to a stronger push.”
On his part, Dr. Eddy Akpomera from the University of Benin noted that the trends in migration reporting are more negative than positive.
He said, “Many migration reports criminalize migrants, and see all irregular migrants as ‘illegal’ aliens; link migrants with crimes and less mention of the contributions of migrants to their economy.”
Identifying the good practices of migration reporting, Ajibola Abayomi, of the Journalists International Forum for Migration, JIFORM, explained that some journalists are intentional about their reportage of migration issues, but added that the practice needs to be dominant across board.
He added that journalists need to be passionate about reporting migration stories and report regularly.
Enitan Ibironke, Migration expert and Director of Legend Lifeskills Foundation, believes that if there is increased capacity building and funding support for media professionals, there would be adequate and positive coverage of migration.