Dublin – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) today finalized a new partnership to provide free courses for journalists and students to encourage accurate reporting on migration and balance narratives that fuel the stigmatization and discrimination that migrants face around the world.
“The last 12 months have shown us all how important our news and news sources are for keeping us informed and educated,” said Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, speaking at Monday’s event.
“While fake news is a danger that more and more people are aware of, countering it or revealing it isn’t something that many know how to do. Therefore, I warmly welcome this important initiative from NUI Galway and Irish Aid to tackle misinformation and fake news being spread about migration.”
The Global Migration Media Academy (GMMA) initiative led by IOM supports efforts to tackle misinformation and promote diverse perspectives on this expansive topic. The project is co-funded by the IOM Development Fund and Irish Aid.
NUI Galway will provide an introductory course; a global overview of migration which will be made available free of charge online and in universities. Working with IOM country offices in Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines and Serbia, the university through the GMMA will also support media training programmes with a country and regional migration focus. The Academy will expand to other countries and regions as the project evolves.
The partnership was formalized at a special online event to acknowledge the new Global Cooperation Agreement between NUI Galway and IOM. The agreement also allows for NUI Galway to collaborate with IOM in other migration related projects in the future.
The production and promotion of positive narratives on migration has been identified as an effective way to counter misinformation and disinformation that incite fear and sow divisions that lead to stigmatization and discrimination, said IOM Ireland Chief of Mission Lalini Veerassamy.
“As we establish the GMMA, it is key to have a reputable academic institution such as NUI Galway working with us to develop standardized training tools on media and migration,” said Veerassamy.
The global foundation course, which will be contextualized to reflect different migration dynamics will equip journalists from all over the world with the necessary tools to develop more balanced and accurate narratives on migration which in turn will reduce the spread of misinformation.”
The GMMA will have a strong focus on training journalism students to identify and track disinformation and harmful content, including fact-checking techniques and data journalism.
“Our journalism academics are international experts in media literacy and it is an honour for them to work with the IOM and Irish Aid on this vitally important international project which will have far-reaching positive learning for society,” said Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway
Courses will draw on migration research and data, as well as explore unfolding global developments like COVID-19 influencing the future of mobility and migration, including public attitudes.
Students are encouraged to explore this complex topic from different perspectives and publish compelling, nuanced and evidence-based stories.