Media outlets and individual journalists can be key influencers in how migrants are perceived, highlighting the issues and challenges faced by migrants, and bringing these into mainstream discussion. Migrants are among the social groups most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, and - in Jordan as in other countries in the region - have suffered disproportionately from its social and economic consequences. Unfortunately, much media reporting in Jordan has not focused on the plight of migrants, or the critical role that many have played at the forefront of the pandemic working in essential services including health, cleaning, domestic work, agriculture and food production, and ensuring the continuity of supply chains. Worrying, reporting on migrants has sometimes been discriminatory, oversimplified and promoting stereotypes, such as that migrants spread disease, or ‘steal’ jobs from national workers.
Continuing the collaboration started between the ILO’s FAIRWAY Project and the Jordan News Agency (Petra News), in 2018-19, this webinar brought together a range of Arabic-language journalists and sought to highlight the importance of ethical reporting on migration in Jordan, and the prevention of hate and discriminatory speech.
- Mr. Mohammad Alkhateeb, Former spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour
- Mr. Tony Mikhael, Media Monitoring Expert, Maharat Foundation
- Mr. Abed Aljwad Alnatsheh, ILO National Programme Officer, FAIRWAY
The webinar focused on the importance of the role of the media in promoting a balanced public understanding of migration, and rights-based language and reporting styles when reporting on migrant workers.
Another channel to influence public opinion is through social media. Given the impact of the pandemic on domestic workers, including overwork (as family members stay away from offices and schools), non payment of wages and other challenges, there is a need to promote better legal compliance by employers of domestic workers. To encourage employers to respect the rights of their domestic workers, the FAIRWAY Programme, together with the IOM and the Kuwaiti social enterprise Al Passion developed a behaviourally-informed communications campaign to be implemented via social media, to test which types of messaging is most effective in getting viewers to commit to better compliance.
Meanwhile, in Lebanon, in collaboration with its partner Fe-Male, FAIRWAY has reached hundreds of thousands of viewers on Facebook with interactive content on the treatment of migrant domestic workers, which is being analyzed to better understand how to influence attitudes towards such workers through social media content