Training to journalism students in Jordan helps to create the foundation for more balanced and accurate reporting on migration issues

To support the FAIRWAY Programme objective to reduce discriminatory attitudes and actions towards migrant workers, a three-day training on ‘Media and Migration Reporting Guidelines’ was held for 15 media and journalism university students across Jordanian universities. The virtual training is part of the activities organized by ILO FAIRWAY Programme to strengthen the inclusion of migrant workers’ voices in the media and ensure balanced and evidence-based reporting on labour migration.

Over the course of three days in May 2021, the journalism students from Yarmouk, Middle East, and Petra universities in Jordan learned and discussed ethical guidelines and narrative techniques when reporting on migrant workers in the media. The training aimed to equip the undergraduate students with the technical knowledge and soft skills to support the future production of quality reporting, and perhaps even to help to change public opinion so that life becomes better for workers.

 ‘It is very important to work with journalism students in universities to raise their awareness of guidelines and principles on migration reporting because they are our future journalists.’, underscored Rania Sarairah, the training facilitator who is a journalist specialized in human rights issues. She added, ‘Usually Journalism colleges in Jordan do not address how the media should cover specific topics like migrant workers, which creates a gap when these students graduate and are asked to prepare reports in this field.’

During the training, the students discussed migrant workers’ rights in international conventions and Jordanian laws, local media coverage of migrant workers and problematic practices, such as use of discriminatory language, as well as ethical principles of reporting.  The training also addressed labour market violations against migrant workers, and the students had the opportunity to discuss how to ensure that such issues can be better covered in local media.

‘The training helped me to better understand migration issues and the basics of accurate reporting on migrant workers ‘, said Maryam Al-Khatib, a Media and Journalism undergraduate student at the Middle East University. She continued, ‘I realized that some words used around me were discriminatory against migrants. The ethical principles of migration reporting helped me to understand the importance of using the accurate terminology when reporting on migrant workers and how to give a voice to all relevant actors and remain objective in my reporting’.

Since 2017, the FAIRWAY Programme has engaged with the media, particularly in Jordan and Kuwait, producing an Arabic glossary of terms relating to migration, carrying out newsrooms visits and training for journalists, as well as content analysis of media coverage of labour migration to better understand deficits in accurate and balanced reporting. Further information on the FAIRWAY Programme’s activities with the media can be found here.

Future activities in Jordan will include a writing contest on domestic workers for media and journalism postgraduate students across Jordan with information to be shared in the local media outlets and universities.