Reporting on forced labour and fair recruitment

In collaboration with Foreign Employment Board, the ILO organized a workshop to train Nepali journalists to report on issues of forced labour and fair recruitment.

The International Labour Organization Country Office for Nepal in collaboration with the Foreign Employment Board (FEB), Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security organized a two-day training for journalists on reporting on forced labour and fair recruitment. 27 journalists representing all forms of media – print, radio, television - participated the training, which took place in Nagarkot on 14 to 15 November 2019.  The participants were selected based on their consistent work on reporting on issues related to labour and migration.

The media plays a major role in reporting on abusive and deceptive recruitment in the labour migration process, which can often lead to forced labour.  The media help shape debates around forced labour, recruitment, migration and decent work.  Effective news coverage can bring a cause into the mainstream, by engaging people and creating the public mobilization and support to drive policy changes. Yet, inaccurate, biased media reporting, as well as under-reporting of positive stories, can lead to misinformation, and at worst, may be an instigator for discrimination, xenophobia and unfair treatment. Similarly, prospective migrants might take decisions based on lack of accurate information or based on misleading information produced by the media.  Din Bandhu Subedi from FEB in his opening remarks reiterated this stating, “The media plays an important roles relaying accurate information to its audience.”

The training was geared at sensitizing the journalists on the concepts of forced labour and fair recruitment as well as equipping them with the practical skills they need when reporting on these issues. Participants discussed the importance of using the correct terminology, be it trafficking, forced labour, bonded labour, child labour, human trafficking or human smuggling in their reporting. The sessions on practical skills included sessions on how to find story ideas; dealing with ethical challenges related to the production of stories on these concepts; how to successfully tell the story and maximize its impact. The sessions were based on the upcoming online Toolkit for journalists on reporting on forced labour and fair recruitment.
Recognizing the significant impact journalists have in affecting public perceptions, Charles Autheman, the lead facilitator of the training said, “As journalists you have to be aware of the dominant perceptions that exist and find a way to change it.” Rajan Prasad Shrestha, the Executive Director of FEB in his closing remarks urged the participants to apply what they have learnt over the two days to their subsequent reporting. He said, I urge our journalist friends to do more evidenced-based reporting. As a result, we may have someone from Nepal winning the next ILO Global Media Competition.”

The workshop was supported by the Integrated Programme on Fair Recruitment (FAIR), A Bridge to Global Action on Forced Labour (The Bridge Project) and Foreign Employment Board (FEB).