IOM, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Promote Evidence-Based Migration Discourse and Media Reporting in Thailand
Bangkok – Thailand is the largest regional migration hub within South-East Asia, with more than 3 million registered migrant workers living in the country. Despite the Royal Thai Government’s (RTG) efforts to protect and promote the rights and well-being of migrant workers, they are often the target of stigmatization, sometimes fueled by fear and prejudice.
Recognizing the role media plays in combatting negative stereotypes against migrants, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) launched a two-year joint project for journalists, journalism students and government officials working in the field of communication to foster evidence-based migration discourse and media reporting in Thailand.
“Migration is often at the front and centre in national news and debate globally. Inaccurate facts, half-truths and mischaracterizations can spread fast, negatively impacting public perceptions on migration and impacting individual migrants and their families. Even the most seasoned media professionals are prone to misrepresenting and misreporting on the issue if not properly trained,” said Géraldine Ansart, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Thailand.
Through the roll-out of learning materials and a series of capacity building sessions, the project aims to strengthen traditional and non-traditional media’s competence in conducting quality migration reporting while shedding light on the complexities of migration, including the social and economic opportunities migration provides when properly managed.
The training builds on IOM’s vast experience working with media professionals around the world, in particular through the Global Migration Media Academy (GMMA) which is a media training network with an open-access e-learning platform focusing on inclusive and ethical migration reporting. IOM is currently partnering with universities in six other countries globally, including the National University of Ireland in Galway (NUIG) which hosted the first GMMA Summer School in June 2022.
“These trainings will provide Thai media a space to engage with a number of journalists and academia globally to exchange experiences and best practices on migration reporting,” Ansart added.
IOM will partner with media organizations, civil society and academia in the relevant fields, including journalism, political science, social science and law, to develop a curriculum based on existing research and studies contextualized for Thailand - covering topics ranging from environmental migration to gender-inclusive reporting. IOM will also support workshops organized by Chulalongkorn and Mahidol Universities in September and October, and a public seminar organized by MFA in December this year.
“In today’s digital age of infodemics, policymakers pay attention to the media as influential sources of news and information. Journalists reporting with sensitivity, accurate facts and ethical standards have the power to tell stories that not only shape public narratives but also influence policy discourse,” remarked Kanchana Patarachoke, Director-General of the Department of Information, MFA.
“Through our concentrated efforts with IOM, we hope to reinforce media practitioners’ ability to carry out sensitized reporting that respects the rights of migrants while promoting social cohesion among Thai public and migrant communities.”
The project aims to support the RTG efforts, including as a Champion Country of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), to advance one of its four pledges “to promote public perception regarding the positive contribution of migrants and to end discrimination and stigmatization against them.”
The joint initiative is financially supported by the IOM Development Fund.
For more information, please contact Anushma Shrestha (email@example.com).