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9 journalists win IOM maiden “Migration Reporter” award

By Our Reporter

Dec. 18, 2020- The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has awarded nine journalists who emerged winners from its “Migration Reporter” competition aimed at awareness creation on the dangers of irregular migration through fact-based, educative reportage.

The maiden Migration Reporter Competition which held on Friday in Abuja seeks to recognize and reward the contributions of journalist who have highlighted the dangers of irregular migration through their write-ups.

The award ceremony was also held by the IOM in commemoration of the International Day for Migrants.

The nine journalists were awarded under three categories: Television, Radio and the Print media, three journalist in each category with the grand prize, first place and second place.

Ms Cyprine Cheptepkeny, IOM Project Officer Awareness Raising said the Migration Reporter is an annual competition launched in 2020 to increase awareness and improve access to trusted sources of information.

Cheptepkeny who was represented by Ms Esther Obaje, IOM Project Assistant, Awareness Raising said the competition also aims to promote informed decision making through professional and fact-based journalism.

These she explained is reflected through human interest stories, news articles, and investigative journalism pieces on promoting safe and informed migration, providing information on irregular migration.

Cheptepkeny said the fight against human trafficking and irregular migration is not a task of an individual agency but involves all of you as key partners including journalist who play a key role.

We believe it is through our joint efforts using information campaigns that we can be able to reduce the incidents of irregular migration and trafficking in persons.

“As you are aware that accurate information is error-free, thus, the need to promote informed decision making through professional and fact-based journalism in various format including human interest stories, news articles, and investigative journalism pieces.

“On promoting safe and informed migration, providing information on irregular migration including TIP and smuggling as well as contributing to balancing the narrative on migration.

“IOM, through its Trusted Sources project, created the competition as a platform to recognize exemplary media coverage.

“The project also aims at bringing together support from other UN agencies involved in issues related to migration and boost the goals of- and visibility of the UN Migration Network both locally and internationally,” Cheptepkeny said.

Mr Mustapha Isah, President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors said that the media plays a critical role in educating the people on the dangers of irregular migration through their various platforms.

Isah said this however underscores the need for the media to furnish the populace with the right information to avoid them falling victims of human traffickers who come in different guises to lure people with lies.

He lauded IOM for the initiative, stating that it would encourage writers specialized in migration issues to do more investigative reporting which would further highlight the ills of irregular migration and create more awareness.

He said that parents in human-trafficking prevalent states of the countries should also be properly educated on the dangers of handing their children over to people who promise them better life abroad without going through regular routes.

Ms Ceciel Groot, Migration Policy Advisor, Embassy of the Netherlands said the goal of the International Day of Migrants is also the goal of the journalist which seeks to bring to fore the plights of migrant.

Groot said that migration as a global phenomenon is not bad but when done in an irregular manner poses dangers to victims; those who have been smuggled and trafficked.

“As journalists you therefore have a big responsibility of improving access to reliable information and promoting informed decision making.

“Being well informed is an important form of empowerment. Misinformation is what is being used to by traffickers to exploit their victims.

“As journalists you are also in the position to give migrants a voice and share their experiences, something that is wonderfully done in some of the winning pieces,” Groot said.

She encouraged journalists to continue to tell the hidden stories and plights of those who have fallen victims to prevent more people from falling in the hands of human traffickers and smugglers.

The Humanitarian Post

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