Geneva/Dublin – Irish Aid and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced Friday the launch of a worldwide academy for journalists and communication students to tackle the spread of misinformation and xenophobia in the media.
Underscoring its importance, they chose today, 18 December, the date observed annually by the United Nations as International Migrants Day, to launch the global initiative.
Combatting the spread of hate speech and deliberate distortions of truth on social media is increasingly recognised as an international priority. One of the main objectives of the Global Migration and Media Academy will be to equip students of journalism and media worldwide with the online tools, contextual knowledge and ethical standards they will need to report fully on migration in this fast-evolving information age.
Anchored in universities in Ireland, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines and Serbia, the Academy will partner with media organizations and journalism faculties to create a truly global facility for students and media practitioners. The first enrolments are expected in the spring and the courses will be free and universally available in multiple languages online.
“Migration touches us and usually for the good, but it is also a hot-button issue open to distortion and uninformed rhetoric,” said Lalini Veerassamy, Chief of Mission, IOM Ireland.
“Our partnership with media will help ensure facts are reported, and diverse voices and nuanced opinions are heard. A media training project on this global scale made possible by generous support from the Irish Government will champion future generations of journalists from all over the world to tell real and authentic stories.”
The Academy will provide insight into trends, data and global and regional developments, covering topics ranging from environmental migration to gender-inclusive reporting. Anyone will be able to access the courses via the website. Taught modules will be introduced in undergraduate media studies and journalism programmes in the four pilot countries.
Embarking on a project for the first time with IOM, the Government of Ireland shares a profound knowledge and interest in global cooperation on migration. It is also joining the United Nations Security Council in January, an arena where the power of misinformation to threaten international peace and security is increasingly recognised.
The project will be coordinated from Ireland and benefit from insight provided by influential media organizations and journalism and human rights academia.
“There are over 270 million migrants worldwide today –living new lives, building and contributing to communities in every corner of the globe. I look forward to the Global Migration Media Academy playing an important role in providing accurate stories to counter the misinformation and distortion that can surround migration,” said Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Just over 3 per cent of the world’s population are migrants. Media play a critical role in how the public thinks about migration and how policies are shaped. The project seeks to support media’s role in bringing to light the different dimensions of this expansive topic, including coverage of under-reported areas such as migrants’ contributions to global development.
This year, International Migrants Day is marked by the theme ‘reimagining human mobility’, according to the Global Compact for Migration, a watershed international agreement and roadmap comprising 23 objectives to manage migration in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Academy supports Objective 17, “Eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration”.