Nat’l Commission for Refugees chides media on negative perception of migrants

BENIN CITY – The Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Bashir Garba Muhammed has faulted the media for criminalising migrants.

In his address in Benin City at a capacity building workshop for media agencies on migration reportage, the commissioner said that “the quantum of media coverage (of migration) tend to be negative, criminalising migrants by linking asylum seekers, refugees and migrants with security, social, economic and cultural trends.”

The workshop was meant to broaden the knowledge of Nigerian media agencies on migration in framing migration reports to positively influence and impact migration policies and implementations.

The commissioner’s address was presented by the South-South Coordinator of Civil Society Network on Migration and Development (CSOnetMADE), Mr Innocent Efoghe.

He advocated a balanced reportage that would also showcase the positive side of migration.

According to him, “Migration is on the increase, with significant impact on countries of origin and destination countries and individual persons on the move.

“The analysis of media representation is critical to understand the responsibilities and consequences of cross-border mobility, resettlement and protection.

“Media help to show public perception of migrants, as well as ensure migrants have equal access to migration,” he added.

He said that the capacity building workshop was targeted at ensuring that Nigeria media have a better understanding of migration trends, dynamics and use of migration terminologies correctly in their reportage, expressing optimism that it would serve to strengthen the capacity of journalists to design more strategies on migration reportage.

The commissioner also urged journalists to speak for migrants always and educate Nigerian youths and the general public on the dangers of irregular migration.

The Project Officer, Migration Data and Policy, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Dr. Ogun Adebanke who represented the Chief of Mission, IOM, Nigeria, Mr Frantz Celestine said that the agenda setting role of the media make them very important in migration management.

While urging the media to balance their reports without endangering the lives of migrants who also have rights like other members of the society, the National Coordinator of CSOnetMADE, Emeka Xris Obiezu said that media perception can shapen migrants fear and make them have hope in the society.

Source: The Nigerian Observer