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JIFORM releases reports, video, recommends migration language

Razaq Bamidele

Journalists International Forum for Migration (JIFORM) has formally released the report of its maiden global migration summit held in Abuja, Nigeria between November 26 and 28, 2019.

Apart from this, the video/footage of the seminar according to the Foundation championing advocacy against irregular migration is now available on YouTube link stated as: https:/youtube/ifalgMA29GM.

A statement issued at the Headquarters of JIFORM in Lagos, Nigeria signed by its President/Executive Director Abayomi Ajibola, stated that the body shall be guided by inputs as submitted by different institutions during its summit and its participation at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), conference on media charterer in Tunisia last December to further propel its advocacy in 2020.

The President said that analyses of submissions clearly indicated the need for more awareness towards stemming the tide of human traffickers; provision of alternatives to both pull and push factors fuelling irregular migrations in nations and formulation of policies to cater for resettlement plans for returnee-migrants.

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“Development and implementation of entrepreneurial projects with impact on the youths, women and potential migrants in the developing nations;  empowerment and training/workshop for media on migration, review of the existing ethical guidelines on migration reporting to ensure balanced reporting and human face stories.

“Connectivity among local and international actors on migration affairs; and the need to review migration policies in nations to accommodate regularization of migrants’ status cum reflection of human dignity according to the international law.”

Ajibola said, “henceforth, we want to charge the media to say never again must the word “illegal” be used to described the personality of migrants as stated by both the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service(NIS), Muhammad Babandede, and  Professor Ikechukwu Anthony Kanu at the JIFORM summit.

“As parts of the take home from the IOM summit, we want to implore the media to refrain from blaming the migrants for their situations rather the root cause of migration should be highlighted with recourse to humanity at the centre focus of the story.

“The media headlines should reflect true position of migrant’s feelings without prejudice. In this regard, positive stories about migrants’ situation should be encouraged as they are potential economic developers.”

The President noted that often the media have always taken side against the migrants by reporting only the angle of law enforcing officers without subjecting it to thorough investigation.

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“We are pleading that this development must be reversed in the interest of humanity.

“Media outlets and civil society should put more resources into interrogating the immigration enforcement industry and the decades-long increase in the incarceration of migrants.

“Reporters should consider seeking access to immigration detention centres, and where possible build relationships with detainees and those affected by broader immigration enforcement policies,” Ajibola sermonised.

He said JIFORM was in total agreement that, “migrants escaping persecution are often portrayed as more deserving of public support than those deemed as migrating simply for ’economic’ reasons.

“The under representation of migrants in the media has allowed negative reporting to go unchecked, leading to a one-sided, ‘us’ versus ‘them’ migration narrative to take root. Considering that the ‘immigration debate’ dominates the headlines, accompanying stories are rarely written by those with direct experience of migration,” the President concluded.