Improving media coverage on the topic of labour migration in Jordan

The ILO and the Panos Europe Institute train Jordanian journalists in ethical and effective reporting on labour migration and human trafficking issues.

Press release | 15 August 2014
AMMAN (ILO News) — The first national media workshop on labour migration and human trafficking in Jordan closed on Thursday (August 14) at the Jordan Media Institute in Amman. Organized by the International Labour Organization and the non-governmental media development organization, Panos Europe Institute (PANOS), the three-day event brought together some 15 Jordanian journalists with the aim to tackle challenges facing media professionals reporting on labour migration and human trafficking in Jordan, as well as consider the country’s position in relation to international labour standards.

‘’Together with PANOS, this is the first workshop of its kind the ILO has conducted with media in the Arab region,’’ said Hélène Harroff-Tavel, an ILO expert on labour migration and human trafficking. ‘’We have discussed a variety of issues, including journalism ethics, strengths and weaknesses of current reporting, as well as some of the untold stories of labour migration and trafficking that should come to light.’’

During the event, print and broadcast journalists discussed overarching issues related to reporting on labour migration and human trafficking in Jordan. ‘’We know that if we want to have an impact on the way that the reporting is being done currently on this issue, we have to discuss the issue directly with those who report the news, to hear from them about some of the day-to-day difficulties that arise from working with a vulnerable population that have specific needs,’’ said Charles Autheman, program manager at PANOS. These issues included lack of timely or reliable data, news cycle pressures, as well as the difficulties surrounding access to credible and reliable sources.

‘’One of the most pressing issues facing journalists in Jordan is their lack of courage,’’
said Fayçal Basel Abu Ghanem, a reporter from Jordan Television and one of the workshop participants. “We do not have the same capabilities or freedom (as other countries) to deal with these issues in an open manner.’’

Participants were also presented with global best practices on labour migration reporting which included advice on interview techniques, the use of images, reporting with statistics, and elements of ethical reporting specific to the field.

‘’Jordanian journalists require skills development and greater awareness of methods to cover labour migration,” said Rania Alsarayrah, a reporter from Al Ghad newspaper. “These efforts also need to expand in order to reach out to more journalists and editors who have the final word on what gets covered.‘’

Representatives from trade unions and civil society also spoke to participants of their concerns as well as the role media plays in highlighting issues related to migrant workers in host countries.

The workshop was part of the ILO project entitled “Improving Labour Migration Governance and Combatting Human Trafficking in the Middle East,” funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, which aims to provide technical support to improve the protection of migrant workers as well as improve the governance of labour migration in the Arab region.

Journalists who participated in the workshop have also been tasked with the production of stories on labour migration in Jordan by their respective media outlets within six weeks. The ILO and PANOS plan to hold similar national media workshops on labour migration and human trafficking in Gulf States as well as a series of trainings with the Al Jazeera Media Network.

For media queries, contact: Salwa Kanaana, Regional Communication and Public Information Officer, tel: +961 1 7520400 (ext 117), email: kanaana@ilo.org