Minority Rights Group International (MRG) Deputy Director, Claire Thomas, writes this opinion piece for the Thomson Reuters News Foundation.+ LEARN MORE
Media, Minorities and Migration
Media, Minorities and Migration
Minority rights and migration are major issues in the world today. Our exciting new project will offer journalists, journalism students and students from social sciences and humanities interested in journalism in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia the chance to learn how to source important stories relating to these issues, how to get coverage for them and counter the dominant anti-migrant narratives in the media. We want to raise public awareness in the four countries of poverty, migration and exclusion of minority communities, and we can’t do this without working with journalists. Through various education opportunities, training schemes, graduate internships, stipends and awards, we will strengthen the capacity of journalists and journalism students to report sensitively on those issues and promote positive attitudes towards migrants and refugees across the general public.
Opportunities for journalists
Minority Rights Group Europe, a human rights organisation based in Hungary, will work in cooperation with Cracow Economic University in Poland, the Human Rights League in Slovakia and Gender Project for Bulgaria in Bulgaria to offer a range of training, travel and reporting opportunities to journalists and journalism students in the four target countries.
8-week online course on development, minorities and migration for 200 journalists and journalism students.
7-day face-to-face training and site visits to urgent frontline EU arrival points and Africa.
National high-profile roundtables on development journalism for senior media professionals.
1-month internships for journalism students graduates of online training at national media outlets.
International high-profile media gatherings on development journalism for senior media professionals.
Who are we working with?
Media, minorities and migration is a free eight-week online course for media professionals and students covering global development issues, with emphasis on reporting on minorities, indigenous peoples and the causes of migration.
Successful graduates of the course will also be provided with further training and career development opportunities, including; field visits to minority and indigenous communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and within the EU to frontline arrival points for migrants; one-month internships with national media houses, working in foreign affairs departments; stipends of up to 1600 euros for reporting projects linked to field visits within Africa; the opportunity to compete for new journalism awards for international development reporting.
When is the course happening?
The next round of the course will happen between 24th February and 24th April 2020. The deadline to apply is 2 February 2020.
The course will last for approximately eight weeks (around 5 hours per week per student). During the course your progress is facilitated by tutors who will give you mentoring on a one-on-one basis as required. Further webinars will be organised during the course and led by leading professionals in international development journalism.
The language of the course is English.
Who can apply for this course?
Journalists, journalism students and NGO media officers – (including photo-journalists, editors, media students, students with an interest in media, journalism, development and foreign affairs, bloggers, online media makers and filmmakers).
Applicants must be from / based in: Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia with a proven interest in and including a record of published articles on development, minorities and/or migration and a commitment to extending their professional expertise.
Candidates from a minority, indigenous or migrant background are in particular encouraged to apply.
Why take part in this course?
- Gain a new angle for your stories and gain a better understanding of what lies behind the political issues in the world’s migration hot spots.
- An opportunity to report on exclusive international development and foreign affairs stories on the ground through first-hand contact with minorities, indigenous peoples and migrant communities in Africa and Europe.
- Reflect the real issues more accurately in your writing about aid programmes and humanitarian assistance from the European Union and your country.
- Report more effectively and ethically on development and minority rights and migration.
- Gain resources, contacts and tools for covering issues on international development and the global South.
If you need more information, please, contact our coordinators:
Anna Alboth – email@example.com
Stanimira Hadjimitova – firstname.lastname@example.org
Magdalena Zajaczkowska – email@example.com
Peter Ivanic – firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the programme about?
This project facilitated by the international NGO Minority Rights Group (MRG) in cooperation with Cracow Economic University in Poland, the Human Rights League in Slovakia and Gender Project for Bulgaria in Bulgaria (LINK) seeks to raise public awareness of international issues related to development, poverty, migration and exclusion of minority communities amongst the public of these four countries. The program aims to strengthen the capacity of international development journalism, through training and capacity building of journalists, media houses, students, students, bloggers, filmmakers, NGOS and online media makers to report sensitively on those issues, provide balanced journalism and reporting in environments where there dominant anti-migrant and international development public discourse.
Why are we delivering this programme?
The recent and heavily publicized flows of migrants and refugees into Europe, si triggering one of the most intense and divisive debates in the history of the European Union. It is also leading towards an increased climate of intolerance towards those arriving on European shores. Migrants and refugees are often negatively portrayed in the media of the targeted countries; this misrepresentation leads to discrimination, dehumanising and negative attitudes among the general public towards migrants and refugees.
At the same time, the important link between effective development policy and the courses of ethnic and religious persecution and marginalization, is being forgotten in public debate.
The media plays a central role in constructing discourses and communicating information to citizens. Hostile anti-migrant rhetoric , has led to a climate in which public opinion of these issues takes place in an environment lacking in accurate, impartial, balanced and reliable information. In particular the focus of media attention, relates mainly to the arrival, impact and experience of migrants and refugees within the EU and not on the causes of migration in the first places. There is a need to provide both visual and textual reporting that is based on both the in-depth investigation and sensitive presentation to the readers. The programme will, therefore, aim to improve reporting on development and migration in the media, raise editorial standards and provide more training opportunities to journalists in the four target countries.
The main component of the programme is a free 8-week online media course on global issues, with emphasis on minorities, migration and development, aimed at students, journalists and NGOs.
How does the course work?
Each week, student will address a new topic. The purpose of the course is to make you familiar with the basic concepts of international development, minority inclusion and migration and develop effective approaches to sensitive, inclusive and balanced reporting on these subjects. We will not ask you to read through long studies but will provide an interactive course framework, with assessment based on journalistic pieces and exercises and opportunities for interaction with tutors, experts and fellow students.
The course is open to all levels of experience, with an interest in this subjects. Previous rounds of this program have included experienced foreign affairs journalists, media students.
Field trips: what opportunities are there available ?
After each round of the course, students will have the opportunity to apply for field visits, where they will participate in a face-to-face training, including community visits and collect stories about minorities, indigenous peoples and migrants in both Africa and Europe. For students of the first round of the course (Oct 2018), the first field visit will take place in Kenya in Dec 2018, with a second opportunity to visit a migration entry point in either Greece or Italy in 2019.
Our staff on the spot will help you. The visit will last around 7 days, with all costs covered. Participants will be able to apply for bursaries to extend their stay in the field locations and undertake reporting on minority, indigenous and migration issues within these locations.
Who can travel?
A call will be made open to students of the online course, around 20% of students will be supported to participate in the filed visits and apply for bursaries.
Who can apply for internships?
Course students may also apply for one month internships in national media houses. These internships will be ideal for students or less experienced journalists and will provide the opportunity to gain experience in foreign affairs journalism. The internships will be arranged in advance by MRG and will be available in each of the 4 project countries. Students will be invited to apply for the placement. Again however, we will only be able to support around 20% of students to undertake internship placements.
What language is the course conducted in, and is the programme accessible?
The course will only be available in English because our experience (including in the target countries) is that to cover international development issues effectively, at least a working knowledge of English is required. However, trainees will be able to submit examples of published media pieces in their own languages.
MRG will ensure that the programme is accessible for those with disabilities and that online material is compliant with international web norms, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Who is Minority Rights Group?
Minority Rights Group (MRG) has worked for over 40 years to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples worldwide. We have extensive experience in training on minority and indigenous issues. We also work directly with over 150 grass-roots organizations in nearly 50 countries, giving us unique access to minority and indigenous communities.
The course will be supported by two tutors, supervising approximately 25 participants each. They will engage with each participant for half an hour every fortnight, via Skype or through a live online chat facility. The tutors will have a background in training, with a focus on training journalists. They will be knowledgeable about international development issues, including those relating to minorities, indigenous peoples and migration. From our extensive experience of online training, we know that the tutors are critical towards ensuring that participants actively engage with each other, follow and complete the course.
We will hold five rounds of the course between 2018 and 2020, applicants not successful for the 1st round (Oct 2018) will be able to apply for future rounds; each round will last eight weeks. During this time, participants will be expected to devote three hours every week towards reading, doing their own research, completing the quizzes and tests, and doing the assignments. Every fortnight, they will have a half-hour conversation (or live chat) with their tutor. We estimate therefore that successful participants will need to devote a total of between 18 and 25 hours to the course. We have deliberately kept the course relatively short in order to make it realistic, especially for professional journalists. We will endeavor to be flexible, allowing participants to go at their own pace – with prior agreement of the tutor. Some professional journalists may, for example, prefer to complete the course in 3-4 days, between assignments, and we will seek to accommodate that. If journalists have to interrupt their participation due to work obligations, we will strive to keep places open in subsequent rounds so that they may resume their participation. And for those who receive developing country reporting assignments during the course, we will seek to adapt contents so that they can draw on their own experiences.
- The importance of positive narratives and developing counter-narratives to the many negative ones prevalent in media concerning development assistance programmes, migration and minorities;
- Why covering minority and indigenous issues will make for more interesting reporting;
- Concepts such as minorities and indigenous peoples;
- Introduction to minority and indigenous peoples’ rights; gender equality aspects
- Introduction to intersectional discrimination – issues concerning marginalised groups within minority and indigenous communities;
- Introduction to the main themes covered by the programme – marginalisation of minorities and indigenous peoples; structural discrimination and poverty; poverty as a driver of migration; development assistance and poverty alleviation as means to tackle the EU’s migration crisis.
Introduction to international development:
- Main conceptual frameworks of international development, e.g. human rights-based approaches;
- Key actors in international development;
- The Sustainable Development Goals, including implementation mechanisms;
- Target country approaches to international development;
- Minorities and conflict, discrimination as a driver of conflict, impacts for development outcomes;
- Migration and international development;űVulnerabilities and development, including issues concerning gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, health status and disabilities; and
- Issues concerning intersectional discrimination.
Critical issues affecting minorities and indigenous peoples, e.g.:
- Access to basic services and resources;
- Meaningful participation;
- Natural resource extraction and land rights;
- Climate change;
- Large-scale infrastructure projects; urbanisation.
Introduction to issues concerning migration:
- Introduction to principal concepts, including: migration within and across borders, internal displacement, refugees (fleeing persecution and/or armed conflict);
- Key drivers of migration and refugee flows, including poverty, discrimination, persecution, armed conflict and climate change;
- Situations in principal countries of origin;
- Identifying minority and indigenous issues concerning migrants and refugees;
- Primary pathways towards Europe, including experiences en route;
- Situations upon arrival in frontline locations along the EU’s external borders;
- Government and EU policies towards migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees;
- Reporting ethically on migration; and current trends relating to migration to Europe.
Media, minorities and indigenous peoples:
- Media law concerning discriminatory reporting;
- Importance of obtaining diverse voices; diverse sources, how to find and evaluate them;
- Basic principles of reporting on diversity – dealing with prejudice and discrimination, avoiding stereotypes, culturally sensitive use of language;
- Issue identification;
- Building contacts in minority and indigenous communities;
- Investigative journalism; journalistic ethics.
Minority-sensitive development journalism in practice:
- Identifying stories;
- EU-specific timelines for useful ‘hooks’ to use when publishing media pieces – e.g. European Development Days;
- Pitching stories to editors;
- Developing contacts;
- Culturally sensitive interviewing and photography; and
- Reporting on vulnerable migrants and refugees.
The course will be designed to be highly engaging, with embedded photo-stories, audio recordings and video clips. Special webinars will be delivered by senior media professionals, especially those with extensive development journalism experience. Participants will be tested regularly on the knowledge they have acquired through interactive exercises such as quizzes, self-assessments and assignments supervised by the tutors. Assignments will offer trainees possibilities to apply their learning: to research and write about their own countries’ development and refugee policies, to interview development officials and (where possible) minority and indigenous community representatives. An example could be to interview and write a profile of a minority person’s experiences – using the individual to showcase development issues facing his/her community.
Minority Rights Group Europe and partners will use their widespread contacts with community groups around the world to facilitate these exercises. The final assignment will be to produce a draft story (a newspaper, online article, radio or television script) to be shared for feedback from the tutor and other participants.
A good balance of gender, target country representation and experience (including balance between journalists, students and influencers) will be sought. Applicants from minority, migrant or refugee backgrounds will also be encouraged. We will ensure that other factors (e.g. ethnicity, age, disabilities) do not prevent people from applying or participating.
The representatives of all the partner organizations will take part in the process of recruitment.
First step? Apply!
Deadline: 2 February 2020.
Who are we working with?
This project is funded by the European Union. This content is the sole responsibility of Minority Rights Group International and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.