By Ndey Sowe
Eight Gambian journalists, who took part in a six months Migration Reporting Fellowship (MRF), graduated on 3rd November, 2021 at Baobab Hotel in Bijilo.
The Fellowship programme, which is meant to “strengthen communication on migration in The Gambia”, is an initiative of Globe Media Service, a premier integrated communication agency, with financial support from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
While IOM provided funding through the “European Union Readmission Capacity Building Facility (EURCAP)” project, Globe Media provided mentorship and coaching to the Fellows to report on various aspects of migration focusing on three tracks: regular and orderly migration; irregular migration; and human trafficking.
“Over the last six months, the Fellows have been equipped with the right skills, techniques and concepts in reporting migration stories with a view to promoting safe and orderly migration and discouraging irregular migration,” said Lamin Jahateh, Director of Globe Media Service and Chief Mentor.
“The stories, some of which tried to address the issue of support to reintegration processes, alternatives to irregular migration (on trade, employment and education), returnees who found ways to make it at home, and unsolved human trafficking issues, contributed significantly to the migration debate that could advice policy decisions,” Mr. Jahateh detailed.
The fellows, drawn from the print and electronic media, received extensive coaching and training on return and integration, key migration terms, an overview of irregular migration on West Africa and the Mediterranean; the role of the media and reporting tool kit on migration among other pertinent migration issues.
During the course of this Migration Reporting Fellowship, the Fellows covered a wide range of migration issues in 20 feature stories for print and online newspapers, and features and talk shows for radio and television.
“We have seen within the period of the fellowship in-depth reporting, direct and frank discussions that brought a sharp focus on very important local and international issues that seek to address The Gambia’s migration challenges,” Modou S. Joof, an MRF Mentor, said.
“For the local media, there is a minimal focus on reporting on migration issues compared to other beats like politics. But this Fellowship has set precedence on the need for the Gambian media to take up its integral role as an educator and watchdog to shed more light on various aspects of migration for positive change,” Joof added.
Simeonette De Asis, the Officer in Charge IOM said the programme is timely and a great milestone when it comes to advocacy and promoting good migration governance.
“Your role is very vital when it comes to public perception of migration which is very much related to the realization in terms of provision of accurate and timely information on all status of migration,” De Asis implored the fellows.
De Asis hopes that the mentorship programme will enable the fellows to fully understand their role on how crucial information is when it comes to combating misinformation about migration.
“This should continue, especially with the fellows, because we can only find solutions to Gambia’s migration challenges when it becomes a constant feature of the national discourse involving various stakeholders. Let’s continue reporting the migration story which includes all aspects of regular migration; irregular migration; and human trafficking,” emphasized Modou Lamin Joof from Teranga FM / QTV while speaking on behalf of the fellows.
Modou Lamin Joof – Teranga FM / QTV
Ndey Sowe – Foroyaa Newspaper
Yero S. Bah – Mansa Banko Online
Omar Bah – The Standard Newspaper
Alagie Manneh – The Standard newspaper
Sankulleh Janko – West Africa Democracy Radio
Muhammed S. Bah – Foroyaa
Sally Jeng – Freelancer Newspaper