Discussions covered issues such as covid-19, human rights stories and emphasized the need for collaboration between journalists. The ILO toolkit on reporting forced labour and fair recruitment was also presented during the meeting.
Speakers included Mohamed Al Hammadi (President of the UAE Journalists' Association and editor of Al Rouya Newspaper), Mohammad Al Arada (General Secretary of the Kuwaiti Trade Union Federation), Hana Buhijji (Bahraini freelance journalist and writer specialised in covering migrant workers issues), and Kevin Burden (Independent media trainer and consultant). The meeting was moderated by Monir Zaarour, IFJ Director of policy and programmes in the Arab World and the Middle East.
Al Hammadi spoke about the important contribution made by migrant workers communities' to the GCC countries and the practical challenges facing journalists in communicating with the workers who have a story to tell. Al Arada exposed the importance of the media coverage of migration, the challenges facing migrant workers and the labor movement in general. He underlined the positive contribution the media can make to strengthen and defend workers' rights.
Journalist Hana Buhijji talked about the challenges facing journalists specialised in this issue including communicating with migrants because of language barriers, accessing government agencies' information and finding media organizations interested in publishing the stories. She also highlighted the emotional cost experienced by journalists covering tragedies related to migrant workers which can be equally or even more dangerous than covering war zones.
Kevin Burden presented the toolkit on forced labor and labor migration prepared by the ILO and the IFJ which is available in various languages.