According to the Secretary General of the Ghana Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Mrs Ama Serwaa Nerquaye-Tetteh, even though, the media was doing much, there was more to be done to push the agenda forward to address challenges associated with irregular migration.
Mrs Nerquaye-Tetteh disclosed this during the opening of a two-Day Stakeholders Forum on Media and Voices of Migration in Ghana in Accra yesterday.
The programme which was held in partnership with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and other implementing partners builds on a project funded by the Italian Government dubbed “EmpoweringYoung People in Africa through Media and Communication.”
The three year project aimed at addressing the root causes of migration, including high youth unemployment rate in Africa by improving access to information, freedom of expression and building the capacities of youth and media.
The forum was to discuss and share ideas on good practices of the implementation of the project and provide recommendations to address the challenges.
Mrs Nerquaye-Tetteh said migration was an issue in the West African countries that needed to be addressed, but most importantly there were some misconceptions about what entailed in migration.
“Young people think it’s so easy due to some media misconception coupled with economic hardship, they could travel to seek greener pastures despite the dangers associated to it. They tend to think that we are close to Europe and if only they can walk for about three weeks what was the worst that can happen, they can easily get to Europe and their fortunes can change but the reality is often not what it is and someone needs to tell them that story,” she added.
The Country Director for UNESCO, Mr Abdourahamane Diallo said the media played a crucial role in providing verified information, informed opinions and balanced and inclusive narratives that enabled better public understanding of the migration process.
He said media coverage of migration significantly affected the diversity and quality of information received by the public, especially migrants, adding “It also shapes the perception and reaction of society about issues related to migration.”
According to him, it was in this regard, the GJA with support from UNESCO had developed a handbook on migration reporting for media practitioners which sought to address the gaps in ethical reporting on migration.
The Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Daniela d’Orlandi expressed Italy’s support towards the initiative and commended the government for its effort in tackling the root causes of irregular migration and to create a conducive environment for the media.