Media workshop

ILO and Al Jazeera news network foster quality reporting on labour migration and human trafficking worldwide

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the global communication NGO Panos Europe Institute held a training workshop on labour migration and human trafficking for leading staff at the Al Jazeera network, as part of an ILO drive to improve reporting on these issues worldwide.

Press release | 22 September 2014
Senior Al Jazeera editorial staff, executive producers and programme directors gathered at the ILO headquarters in Geneva for a three-day workshop to discuss labour migration and human trafficking, and current reporting trends on these issues. Organised by Panos and the ILO, the workshop brought together participants from Al Jazeera offices in Doha, Washington D.C., Cairo, Sarajevo and Istanbul, along with top ILO experts.

It was the first time the ILO collaborated with the global media powerhouse, and the organization hopes it will mark the start of a closer relationship with broadcasters.

“We believe that news can change politics” said Ms Beate Andrees, head of the ILO's Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour.

The technical training for the Al Jazeera network aimed to foster further investigative reporting of labour migration and trafficking issues, and explored ideas for reporting on some of the major “untold stories”. The workshop also sought to provide Al Jazeera broadcasters with a comprehensive overview of ILO labour standards, existing data and analysis on migration.

Invited guests included the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Organisation of Employers, the World Health Organisation and the Migrant Forum Asia.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants François Crepeau said during his session on a Rights Based Approach to Labour Migration that “Human rights are never better defended than by the person themself and migrants often don’t have that opportunity”. The ILO hopes such media initiatives will highlight the stories of these individuals a and give them a more prominent voice.

Al Jazeera executives and editorial staff shared some of the challenges they face when covering issues of labour migration and trafficking, and welcomed the ILO’s initiative to build bridges with the media, and promote better coverage of these often sensitive issues.

“Journalists are there to find the truth and be transparent, not produce harm” said Mr. Jean-Paul Marthoz, Europe representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists and a journalism professor.

“This was a great initiative of the International Labour Organization and Al Jazeera is very happy to have been a part of it,” said Mr. Sami Elhaj, Director of Al Jazeera’s Public Liberties & Human Rights Department during the closing ceremony. “We look forward to continuing the discussion together.”

The event was the first of a series of training sessions that will see Panos, the ILO and Al Jazeera develop a deeper and clearer understanding of how labour migration and human trafficking issues are being covered around the world, and how such reporting can be improved.

For media queries, contact: Salwa Kanaana, Regional Communication and Public Information Officer, ILO Regional Office for Arab States, Tel: +961 1 752 400 (Ext 117), email: