Trains journalists, CSOs on forced labour, fair recruitment reportage

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

Concerned over the plight of migrant workers, the International Labour Organisation, ILO, through the FAIRWAY Programme, has been seeking to work more collaboratively with relevant stakeholders in contributing to addressing discriminatory attitudes towards migrant workers from Africa to Arab States in addition to facilitating improved access to information and support services throughout the migration cycle.  

As part of efforts to achieve this agenda, ILO with the support of Swiss Development Cooperation, SDC, has been engaging with constituents’ and stakeholders to strengthen capacities for effective labour migration at national and inter-regional level.

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In line with this drive, ILO held a two day training in Lagos on ILO’s Media Toolkit on Forced Labour Reporting and Fair Recruitment which has been contextualized for use in Nigeria.  

The media Toolkit on Forced Labour and Fair Recruitment, according to ILO, was launched in 2020 to contribute to quality reportage by journalists in the area of forced labour and recruitment.

The Toolkit besides including a media-friendly glossary on migration, as well as concrete tips for improving media productions and story ideas further aims to support the production of quality reporting on forced labour and fair recruitment issues, creating or strengthening networks of specialized journalists as well as building partnerships with those institutions who have the capacity and mandate to take forward media training and outreach.  

The ILO informed that the objectives of the two day interface were to introduce “Media Toolkit on Forced Labour Reporting and Fair Recruitment adapted for use in Nigeria to media and Civil Society Organisations, CSOs; Strengthening capacity of media and CSOs in Nigeria to better understand, engage and report more factual and accurately in areas related to labour migration and forced labour using ILO’s media toolkit; and    Facilitating establishing networks of core professionals of media and CSOs for sustaining ILOs engagement at country level.  

Welcoming participants, Country Director of ILO, Ms Vanessa Phala, said the training was a means through which stakeholders could be supported to report and engage more effectively in the area of forced labour and fair recruitment.

  Represented by the ILO, National Project Coordinator, Mr Austin Erameh, Phala said,

“While we encourage media practitioners to abide as much as possible to the contents provided and suggestions in the Toolkit, we are not oblivious of the challenges that are existent at country level.

“Also, it is within those challenges we as much as possible encourage the media to be professional in their job, relying on existing platforms and networks. Also, they should ensure that the stories they turn out are factual and not sensational.”

Speaking, a Migration Governance and Policy Expert, Mr Emeka Obiezu, called on the media to focus more on positives of migration instead of its negatives.

According to him, migration was common to the nature of humanity and had developed individuals and strengthened the growth of countries.

Obiezu said: “Where conditions are not favourable, migrants move from one place to somewhere that are safer and meet their needs. Migration is part of the way that civilisations are also developed in different parts of the world.

“We see that through migration, countries have engaged in the growth of their Gross Domestic Product in terms of the economic impact that migrants brings to them.

“Also, in terms of social life which comes with culture and new values that migrants bring to that community: so, it is important we highlight these.”

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