IFJ-ILO's webinar on reporting migration and forced labour: Telling the whole story

The IFJ hosted the IFJ-ILO webinar on Reporting migration and forced labour- A European perspective on 14 September, which focused on why do so few journalists report on these topics and what key skills should they develop to portray migration without falling into stereotypes and bias. This was the first of a series of four regional webinars bringing together migration experts and specialised journalists . 

Webinar speakers

Discussions covered issues such as international labour standards, terminology,  legal channels and loopholes leading to exploitation loopholes and tips to improve journalists' reporting. The International Labor Organisation (ILO) also presented its toolkit on reporting forced labour and fair recruitment.

Speakers included Ariadni Agatsa (Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspapers - JUADN), Clara Van Panhuys (ILO), Jean-René Bilongo (Agro Food workers Federation in Italy-FLAI), Lam Le (Independent journalist), Tania Bozaninou (Greek To Vima daily), Kevin Burden (Independent media trainer and consultant)

Journalists Lam Le and Tania Bozaninou explained how terminology can strongly impact the way a story is received by readers. While journalists may choose to report on a specific aspect of the story, it is also important not to leave out key facts without which the report may contribute to resentment towards migrants.

In addition, they described how governments' responsibility towards forced labor isn’t usually being covered. The main reasons behind this is that many governmental actors are reluctant to speak to journalists, and journalists know they need to stay in good terms with such sources to be able to access official data later on.

Jean-René Bilongo and Kevin Burden underlined the difficulty of accessing sources, noting the importance to go to the field and appreciate the slavery-like conditions migrant workers face. However, there are a number of barriers which often prevent journalists from doing so. They include the fact that most work behind closed doors and the anxiety of migrant workers of losing their jobs or being exposed for speaking out as well as language barriers and security issues.


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