Senior Lecturer Centre for Migration Studies, University of Ghana, Legon Dr. Mary Boatemaa Setrana has called for a paradigm shift in media reportage on migration which only focuses on the negatives of migration such as the use of irregular routes by migrants. She noted that over the years, the benefits of migration have been underestimated, and challenged the media to change the narrative by giving prominence to the positives.
Dr. Setrana was speaking at the opening of a two-day brainstorming session for technocrats in developing guidelines for migration reporting, with support from UNESCO at Aburi in the Eastern Region. The brainstorming session brought together players in academia and key media industry players.
She disclosed that as a result of strict migration laws in European countries, some Ghanaian migrants have resorted to transiting to countries like Libya, Morocco and Mali where they work to earn some substantial resources or to build the right networks to continue to Europe.
“Unfortunately, media coverage talks more about the irregular routes through Libya, through Morocco to Italy without focusing much of the discussions on statistics of what the real experiences are”.
She said there is evidence to suggest an increase in continental or sub-regional migration amongst Ghanaians. A situation which she said has made it more common to see Ghanaians move to countries such as Togo, Mali and Niger than people moving to Europe.
“To change the narrative on migration, concentrate on the positives of migration, talk about the regular migration and also the fact that people are moving within the sub region rather than to Europe. it’s only a handful that move through the desert to Europe.”
Dr. Setrana indicated that available data on migration is insufficient resulting in poor planning and decision making for require intervention.
GJA President Roland Affail Monney said under the project, guidelines on migration would be crafted as well as the establishment of migration desks in some selected Media Houses. Mr. Monney, who noted that the brainstorming was crucial to crafting the guidelines, said the project would give more meaning to ‘’solution-oriented journalism’’. He said it would also be a break from excessive politics that currently characterizes the media space to the neglect of other, ‘’critical social issues such as migration, unemployment and insecurity’’. Mr. Monney added that the focus of the media will not only be sharpened to concentrate on migration, but, also, resolve lingering issues of migration and media.’’
‘’The meeting is to craft guidelines on migration and to lead the way in establishing migration desks in some selected media houses. It is a privilege to have the right people for the brainstorming session and have the confidence they would execute the assignment to perfection.”
Mr. Monney commended UNESCO for supporting activities of the GJA over the years, stating that the project is an opportunity to foster stronger collaboration which will ensure rolling out of more programmes that benefit the Ghanaian media and Ghanaians at large.
“UNESCO has been supportive of activities of the GJA which have all been successful, I hope next year would present a new pace in the partnerships which will see the GJA rolling out more programmes which will be beneficial to the media community in Ghana.”