ILO launches journalism fellowship to improve reporting on labour migration in the Arab States

The program – produced in partnership with the Ethical Journalism Network – targets journalists and digital media in order to change the narrative on migration in the region.


BEIRUT, Lebanon (ILO News) — The ILO, in partnership with the Ethical Journalism Network, launches a six-month Labour Migration Journalism Fellowship Programme. The program is part of a comprehensive initiative to promote fair migration (including fair recruitment) and contribute to the elimination of human trafficking for forced labor across the Arab States region.

The media are instrumental in shaping public perceptions about labor migration, which can in turn influence policy and practice. Coverage of labor migration in the region tends to focus on criminal behavior either by migrants or against migrants, by employers or traffickers. Often unwittingly, media can perpetuate negative stereotypes about labor migrants, increasing their vulnerability to discrimination and abuse. The fellowship program aims to address this by engaging and supporting a new generation of journalists who are trained to consider the full range of diverse issues inherent in the migration debate and understand the range of perspectives on this complex topic.

Participants to the program will take part in an expert training program on reporting and storytelling on labor migration, be provided with editorial support from a board of mentors, and be given stipends to cover field work to produce and publish a series of in-depth stories on labor migration. Reports and multimedia will be published on the ILO and partner websites, in English and Arabic.

To be eligible for the program, participants must be early-career journalists and media professionals working in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and the UAE, who are passionate about human rights, migration, and labor issues. Participants can be freelance or be working for an existing outlet. The program is open to print, TV and radio journalists, photojournalists and filmmakers, multimedia journalists, citizen journalists and social media experts.

“Improving reporting on labor migration to ensure balanced and accurate perspectives that recognize the contributions of migrant workers can play an important role in reducing negative public attitudes and perceptions,” said Eliza Marks, Technical Officer, ILO Regional Office for the Arab States. “In empowering a new generation of journalists and digital media, we can change the narrative on labor migration across the Arab region” Marks added.

“Journalists in the Arab region face a number of challenges in reporting on the topic of migration,” said Tom Law, Director of Campaigns and Communications Ethical Journalism Network. “Through this program, we aim to train and support journalists on issues of ethical reporting, labor migration, new technologies and how to share untold stories,” Law said.

The fellowship is implemented through the ILO Regional Fair Migration Project in the Middle East (FAIRWAY), with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).