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EJN launches new migration reporting guidelines

Tuesday 4 October 2016, by SIGNIS

Jakarta, October 4th, 2016 (EJN). At the Jakarta World Forum for Media Development, the Ethical Journalism Network launched new guidelines for migration reporting. This new guide is a tool for media to use when reporting on migration and to analyse news coverage.

Indeed, it has been showed, notably in a report from December 2015, that despite many examples of excellent coverage, journalists often fail to tell the full story and routinely fall into sensationalism and propaganda traps laid by politicians, when they are covering migration.

Tom Kent, former Associated Press Standards Editor and newly-appointed Editor in Chief of Radio Free Europe, who advised the EJN on the guidelines said: “The five points offer excellent advice for ethical, professional and accurate coverage of migration issues.”

EJN board member Chris Elliott, the former readers’ editor of The Guardian also helped develop the guidelines: He said: “Never has there been a greater need for fair, cool and measured reporting of the issues of migration. These five basic principles form a simple set of guidelines for reporters around the world.”

The guide was launched at a workshop on the second day of the Jakarta World Forum for Media Development, which included journalists and media development professionals from the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Somalia, Sudan, and Tunisia.

Tom Law, the EJN Director of Communications and Campaigns said: “There was a consensus that migration reporting is one of the biggest challenges facing the news media and will be for years to come. It is essential that media rise to challenge of covering migration and put ethics at the centre of their coverage.”

Jeremy Druker, Executive Director of Transitions – a publisher and a trainer of journalists in Prague – who attended the workshop said: “It was a great summary of what every journalist should consider when covering migration. I hope that news media around the world use this new resource to guide their reporting on this critical issue.”

Participants at the interactive session suggested that further resources could be developed to compliment the guidelines, including how to conduct solution-based journalism around migration, creating easy-to-digest definitions of legal terms around migration, and other more regionally-focused versions of the guide for journalists in countries where recent flows of migration have stemmed from.

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