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Covering Migration: Toolkit for journalists around the world now launched online

13 July 2020

Media and social media narratives have a bigger than ever role in shaping public opinion about what is going on around us. Minority Rights Group (MRG) has spent years working with and training journalists covering stories about minorities and migration. We seek to ensure that otherwise uncovered stories get told and that it is the concerned communities themselves that get to do the telling. This involves fighting stereotypes and identifying the best practices about how to portray these communities in an appropriate, effective and in-depth way. In the process, we have had the privilege to work alongside and learn ourselves from experienced media professionals. Now we have gathered all these lessons and experiences into a single online resource that we hope every journalist will find useful.

’We believe passionately about the importance of quality journalism, not least in these troubled times,’ emphasises Carl Söderbergh, MRG’s Director of Policy and Communications. ’That is why we want to share with all interested media what we’ve learned over the years, through our online courses, webinars and field-trips. Our aim is to support development journalists who are seeking a truly global outlook by bringing a more diverse and complex picture of migration-related issues to audiences, while at the same time empowering the subjects of their coverage through a respectful and inclusive approach to their work’.

MRG knows that migration is a complicated topic. The more complex relationships, such as that between minority exclusion and poverty, and the role of development and poverty alleviation in addressing the root causes of migration, are even less well-understood. The dangers of low levels of public awareness and understanding of issues concerning development, migration and minorities, are manifold.

‘We know that the media can both help and hinder the fight for minority and migrant rights. Inaccurate or insensitive coverage can lead to reduced good will towards refugees and other migrants living in our societies, make the general public vulnerable to misinformation and manipulation, harm social cohesion, and even lead to violence or unrest,’ adds Söderbergh.

The “Covering Migration” toolkit, compiled by Peter Ivanic, teacher of global journalism and journalist himself, will be continuously updated and will hopefully become one of the leading resources for journalists and other media professionals daily covering stories of migration. We also hope that the toolkit will be useful for editors who work with these reporters, as well as media professors, students of journalism and even NGO media workers.

The toolkit provides learning resources, case studies, checklists on ethical, impartial reporting, list of contacts and links. But what is special about our toolkit is that it goes deeper, it encourages journalists to reflect on who they are and why they think about certain issues in a way they do. At the same time we have realised that most of the similar toolkits as well as NGOs focus dominantly on coverage in the field, but in reality the vast majority of coverage on global issues, including migration, takes place from behind a desk. And there is huge space for making things differently. Our toolkit might help with that, too.

All journalists: experienced professionals and beginners, who seek to enhance the quality of their work when reporting on migration, should take a deeper look.

Note to editors:

  • Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is the leading international human rights organisation working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples. We work with more than 150 partners in over 50 countries.

For more information or to arrange interviews contact:

Anna Alboth, MRG Media Programmes Officer

M: +491781426627 / E: [email protected] / Twitter: @MinorityRights