New Media Development focuses on communication rights of migrants and refugees

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The human rights — in particular the communication rights — of people on the move are in the spotlight with the most recent Media Development, WACC’s quarterly journal.

The articles in the 4/2023 issue, “Migrant Rights Are Human Rights,” explore the question of how media and communication can become vehicles to help migrants exercise their rights.

“Communication with, from, and by migrants and refugees is fundamental to their wellbeing and to strengthening their sense of self-worth and dignity,” underlines editor Philip Lee.

He notes that, despite much well-intended media coverage, migrants and refugees are often hindered from making their voices heard and taking part in discourse in their host societies. “Speaking on behalf of migrants has the effect of sidelining and silencing them.”

Three introductory pieces give background to people on the move, to the role that journalism plays in shaping public perception and opening up space for nuanced discussion, and to the Global Compact for Migration, a landmark international agreement on migration governance.

Practical recommendations give journalists guidance for reporting on migration.

Migrant voices in Asia, West Papua, Nigeria

In “Recognizing and surmounting barriers to migrants’ communication rights,” Rey Asis of the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) outlines how APMM worked with migrants to ensure they have a voice in the process to review the Compact and its implementation in the region.

An article by Juan Patricio Gavilán highlights the struggle of forcibly displaced West Papuans in Indonesia to bear witness to the violence and discrimination they experience and to advocate for their rights.

Lekan Otufodunrin of Journalists for Christ International Outreach reports on a WACC-supported project in Nigeria that served to shift media reporting of internally displaced persons in the country. The new model of news coverage is putting the hopes and struggles of IDPs at the center and advancing their rights and welfare.

Contributions in Spanish bring perspectives on media and migration in Latin America; communication rights and global migration; countering nationalistic, discriminatory discourse with human rights discourse; and the human right to communication in the digital era.

The issue also includes the digital justice agenda developed by the WACC partner consultation in August in preparation for the 20-year review of the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) in 2025 and prizes awarded by the Ecumenical Jury at film festivals in the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary, and Italy.

Media Development 04/2023 is available to subscribers and WACC members. Articles in the issue include:

  • Background: Migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people
  • Background: Why accurate media coverage of migration is important
  • Background: The Global Compact for Migration
  • Recommendations for journalists reporting on migration and minorities by RespectWords
  • Recognizing and surmounting barriers to migrants’ communication Rights by Rey Asis
  • “Entre duelos y anhelos, tomé la decisión” por Doris Falcón
  • Forcibly displaced in West Papua by Juan Patricio Gavilán
  • Media reporting of displaced persons in Nigeria by Lekan Otufodunrin
  • Derechos a la comunicación y migración mundial por José Luis Soto
  • Fomentar discursos de derechos humanos como alternativa a los discursos nacionalistas, discriminatorios y de odio por Solange De La Cruz Matos
  • El derecho humano a la comunicación en la era digital por Javier Tolcachier
  • Advocacy and Action Agenda on Digital Rights/Justice: Towards WSIS+20
  • On the screen

Refugee families from Ukraine walk across a road at the Vyšné Nemecké border crossing between Slovakia and Ukraine in mid-March 2022.
Photo: Albin Hillert/Life on Earth