The Federal Government has called for balanced and informed media coverage of labour migration in the country. The Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Yerima Tarfa (Dr) made the call when he flagged – off a workshop organised in Abuja for Labour Correspondents on “Effective Coverage of Labour Migration” recently.
Yerima Tarfa noted that to achieve balanced and informed reportage on labour migration, media practitioners need to equip themselves with the relevant background information on it, which include: international and national legal frameworks as well as the National Policy on Labour Migration, and their recognition of fundamental human rights.
The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director of Reform Coordination and Service Improvement in the Ministry, John Magbadelo (Dr) said that informed and responsible reportage would effectively eliminate the public misperception and misconception of labour migration by striking the necessary balance between its benefits and disadvantages.
Tarfa stressed that the objective of the workshop was to expand the capacity of media practitioners in their knowledge of both the ILO Conventions and national policies on labour migration, which would enable them to achieve fair and balanced reportage. He added that such reportage would contribute to the elimination of public misconception against migrant workers, while highlighting their positive contributions both to the migrant worker and to the society when labour migration is well-governed and practiced.
He also noted that responsible, fair and ethical reportage would serve to discourage prejudice, intolerance and stigmatization against migrant workers and their families as well as unfair recruitment and dehumanisation of migrant workers. “Poor reportage has the potentials of triggering off negative public perceptions of labour migration and creating discontent, whilst balanced and fair reportage will bring about positive perception from the same public. Positive reportage will further help to stem the usual conflict between local labour and migrant labour,” the PermSec explained.
While pointing out that responsible and balanced reportage would counter the negative narrations on labour migration, he noted that this is attained by highlighting its contributions to the socio-economic development of the places of origin and destination of migrant workers. He further warned that media coverage of labour migration should not overlook abuses, exploitation, violation of human and labour rights and other negativities in the migrant labour market, as well as the dangers and risks of irregular, unsafe and badly-governed labour migration.
On his part, the Deputy Director in the Press and Public Relations Unit of the Ministry, Charles Akpan while welcoming the participants hinted that the workshop was designed to equip journalists with the necessary tools to help them achieve responsible reportage on labour migration within the ambit of best global practices.