When Rekiatu Musa Jingi, an investigative journalist and human rights advocate in Cameroon, shares her learnings about reporting on migrants, she speaks from both her heart and her mind: “I learned how to get and how to conduct great interviews and how to take good pictures and videos without victimizing anybody.”
In short, she added, “Words matter.”
She added: “We should examine the terminology we use to respect the dignity of migrants and avoid using demonising language, to ensure balance in our coverage and avoid victimization or oversimplification of issues.”
Jingi and other journalists were part of a cross-regional migration reporting programme called “Changing the Narrative.”
The five-month program organized by the World Association for Christian Communication and launched in January, aimed to help journalists cover refugee and migration issues ethically and accurately. The initiative also emphasized the need for refugees and migrants to speak on their own behalf.
In an online event on the 9th of June, the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) celebrated the achievements of the journalists and communicators who successfully completed their projects.
Jingi’s project shed light on the resilience and enterprise of women refugees who have been working hard to provide for their families’ needs rather than relying on their husbands or on help from relief agencies. Some of the women refugees she interviewed included a cattle breeder, a midwife, a farmer, a fashion designer, and an entrepreneur who makes reusable sanitary pads.
Why do people migrate?
Anamê Gnanguenon, a former journalist who works with migrant domestic workers for advocacy campaigns, also participated in the initiative. Gnanguenon, along with fellow participants Teresa Di Mauro and Seblewongel Tariku, produce the podcast series “Women of the Blame”.
Every episode of “Women of the Blame” features three to five women migrants from different countries who share their dreams and the realities they confront upon arriving in Lebanon. “It’s a topic we never hear about, the reason why people decide to migrate,” Gnanguenon said.
Other episodes discuss their experiences with recruitment agencies in their home countries, with racism and discrimination, with mental health and coping mechanisms, on motherhood, and with returning home. The series is broadcast in French, English, and Amharic.
Giulia Trincali, a freelance journalist from Italy, said her multi-media project, opened her eyes to the remarkable achievements of people who study in refugee camps and pursue higher education in Italy through scholarships provided by University Corridors for Refugees, a project of Italian universities which receive support from institutions such as the UNHCR, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Diaconia Valdese and Caritas Italiana.
In his opening remarks, WACC general secretary Philip Lee explained the importance of changing the narrative in stories about migration and other issues. “First, it’s an issue of communication rights — all those rights that enable people to express their identities and needs, of freedom of expression and opinion, the right to information, language rights, etc. Denying these rights is a form of silencing or censorship,” said Lee.
The event also featured responses from experts in conflict journalism, global migration, and EU policy and legislation.
Lekan Otufodunrin, a journalist and media career development specialist based in Lagos, said the podcast series that featured women migrants and refugees “who ordinarily would not have been given voices in the traditional media able to speak up…is very important.”
Rev Dr Seforosa Carroll, program executive for Mission and Mission from the Margins, World Council of Churches, congratulated the participants, saying that their projects have amplified the voices of people in the margins of society. “You’ve done it in an incredible way, you’ve also lifted their dignity, which is what I really appreciated. You’ve allowed a space and a platform to enable their voices to be there… It’s amplifying, it’s also allowing them to speak for themselves.”
Originally from Webpage: "oikoumene.org"
CCD reprinted with permission.