Dex Sibiya and Tumelo Waga Dibakwane
MPUMALANGA journalists and communication practitioners attended a workshop in which they were trained on how to positively report on migration and health issues.
The conversational workshop was organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) last week in Nelspruit.
“The media play an important role in shaping public perceptions, through the dissemination of information with the power to either enhance understanding and awareness of migration-related issues or contrary to foster stereotypes and pave way for discrimination and xenophobia,” said the national communication and reporting officer for IOM Ntokozo Mahlangu.
Journalists from print and digital media attended the seminar that focused on the human aspects of migration by putting faces behind numbers given in statistics made in regard to migration.
“Using the correct terminology, understanding legal aspects pertaining to migration and human rights, avoiding bias reporting and the use of images and videos,” explained Mahlangu.
He continued to say that IOM hopes that through the information shared to them will become a motivation to reporters and media-houses to become the voice of those who tend to be voiceless in communities.
During Mahlangu’s presentations over the two day workshop he challenged the myths associated with foreign nationals such as the perception that foreigners are stealing jobs from the locals.
At the end of day journalists from the different media-houses agreed that the workshop was an eye-opener and the information would defiantly help improving how they report on migration and health stories.
“This workshop has been a learning curve for me. The smallest words that we use as journalists carry so much weight that can mean many things. As journalists we have somehow also forgot how much power we have as the media,” said Nkomazi Observer editor Mduduzi Nkosi.