Strengthening knowledge, access to information and tools for journalists to better report on migration in Pakistan

In recognition of the need to enhance the media’s practitioner's knowledge and strength their capacities on migration issues, two 3-day trainings in Islamabad and Lahore for over 30 journalists and media representatives are organised from 20-28 July 2022. The training provided the participants an understanding of the regional and international context of migration, explain the terminology of migration, consider existing media coverage of migration, especially its ethical aspects. The trainings dispel key commonly held myths on migration, and present a primer on the national legal framework governing migration.

Migration is not an easy topic to cover. It is mired in complexity, opacity and the concerted effort of some, with a particular agenda, to perpetuate myths and misconceptions. Challenges faced by journalists in covering migration, and methods to overcome them, are also addressed in the training.  The journalist find the training modules highlighting common myths around migration, the resources that can be utilized to access the most recent data on migration and the guidance on the optimal steps for creating multimedia content on migration very relevant and interesting.

The experts during the training also shared the best practices in migration journalism and one of the key one highlighted was putting the individual first and giving migrants a voice. Ms. Myra Imran, Vice President National Press Club share that “it also requires the careful and accurate use of terminology, prudent use of pictures, and care not to contribute to the reinforcement of stereotypes and myths.” Mr. Talha Ahad, CEO  The Centrum Media (TCM) while elaborating the importance of digital media, its visual impact and the  the ways to use the social media tool effectively shared “the internet and digital platforms offer traffickers numerous tools to recruit, exploit, and control victims; organise their transport and accommodation; advertise victims and reach out to potential clients; communicate among perpetrators; and hide criminal proceeds – with greater speed, cost-effectiveness and anonymity.”

Over all these trainings, allowed the participants to focus on specific topics in each training and building a broad understanding of migration issues in general, and in Pakistan in particular. The training programme will furthermore allow for practical exercises, aiming to produce articles on migration. ICMPD developed a training manual for journalists on human trafficking in 2017  and a migration media  reporting guildeline (2020) which builds the basis to develop a more thorough programme. Journalists for the training were chosen based on a call for applications and a specified selection process, evaluating applicants by experience, years of media engagement, sample writings and endorsements by senior editors.

In July 2022, Pakistan has recently moved up in global ranking from Tier- I watch list to Tier- II  in combatting human trafficking in Pakistan. Irregular migration remains a high priority issue for the Government of Pakistan.  The government, national and international organsiations have taken significant steps in preventing and combatting the phenomenon.  Migrant smuggling and  human trafficking like any other enterprise are processes that end up in making illicit money through exploitation. Traffickers often lure people with false job offers, including fake modeling advertisements, sham recruitment agencies, and high recruitment fees charged by illegal labor agents or sub-agents entrap Pakistanis in debted and bonded labor, including in Gulf countries. The trainings over all contributed to more evidence- and human rights-based, ethical and responsible reporting on migration.

Other interesting and learning sessions included  Irregular migration and human trafficking including legal framework,irregulat migration trends, legal and labour migration, migration trends and data, digital story telling, reporting ethics,avoiding hate speech and picthing stories to the editor was conducted by Azaz Syed, Hssan Gilani, Dr. G.M Arif, Fauzia Rana and Ayesha Qaisarani

These trainings are a part of a project, “Raising awareness on migration in Pakistan (PARIM) funded by the European Union (EU), Ministry of Interior, Austria and Bulgaria and implemented by International Centre for Migration and Policy development (ICMPD).

 About the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) Pakistan:

The Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) was established in Islamabad and Lahore in 2016. The MRCs work under the auspices of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (MOPHRD) at Federal Level and with the Department of Labour, Government of Punjab at the provincial level. They are supported by the EU-funded project “Raising Awareness on Migration in Pakistan” and implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). The MRCs help people make informed decisions when considering to migrate. They provide different types of services: personal counselling, referrals to services for migrants, pre-departure orientation and outreach to outgoing, intending and potential migrants by engaging with local communities, technical, vocational institutes, universities and government offices.

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