By Adesuwa Ehimuan
Chief of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Nigeria, Frantz Celestin, has pointed out that the media was crucial in delivering verified information, informed opinions as well as balanced and inclusive narrative.
He made the observation while speaking at a two-day round table forum with media agencies to review and validate the ethical guidelines on migration reportage in Abuja.
Frantz Celestin, who was represented by Dr Adebanke Ogun, noted that in some instances, media perception portrays migration as a problem rather than a multi-faceted global phenomenon with a variety of challenges and opportunities.
She, appreciated all South-South, South-East, North-West geopolitical zones representatives for their presence at the round-table forum.
Contributing, the Honourable Federal Commissioner (HFC) of The National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Person (NCFRMI), Senator Basheer Garba Mohammed, represented by Director Migrant and Refugee Affairs, Dr Ejibunu, commended the organizers of the event, the European Union (EU )and International Organisation for Migration ( IOM), within the EU-IOM Initiative as well as the consultant, Dr. Obiezu, for the noble initiative.
Dr Ejibunu, said they were optimistic that by the time these set of guidelines are validated, the problem of use of wrong terminologies by the media, use of dehumanizing languages against migrants, and hate speeches against migrants and migration related issues will be curbed.
According to him, with the guidelines in place, they expect that the media would start to connect with migrants by engaging them in their discourse to get accurate information, victimization of migrants and oversimplification of benefits of migration, such as remittances will be avoided in ensuring balanced coverage, evidence-based public discuss on migrants and migration issues should be promoted.
He further stated that media should avoid all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shapen perceptions of migration.
Director and Programme Coordinator, Civil Society Network on Migration and Development (CSOnetMADE), Dr Emeka Obiezu, said it was imperative for the media to understand migration issues and abide by some ethical guidelines if they, as relevant part of the Nigerian migration management mechanism must add value to migration, governance and awareness creation on regular and irregular migration.
Dr. Obiezu urged media agencies to ensures that migration is beneficial to all and to validate the media ethical guidelines, tools and strategies to ensure professionalism in disseminating adequate migration information to the populace.
Programme and Administrative officer, Civil Society Network on Migration and Development (CSOnetMADE) Mary Osato task Media Agencies to understand the issues and shape their stories in ways that avoid exposing migrants to dangers of abuses and spur the nation in harnessing the values inherent in migration development nexus.
Participants were drawn from three geopolitical zones of South-South, South-East and North-West.