A workshop on investigative journalism on; Free Movement and Migration has opened in Takoradi with a call on journalists to report accurately on issues of migration.
The workshop, on the theme: “Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa,” is being attended by more than 20 journalists drawn from both the private and public media.
Organised by Media Response Communication without Borders with support from European Union and ECOWAS Commission, the workshop seeks to equip journalists with skills to advocate the rights and responsibilities of citizens on issues of migration. It is also to increase their knowledge on regional integration, international migration as well as create a network of journalists to work on the promotion of safer inter-regional migration. The journalists would be taken through topics such as Human Trafficking and Child Rights, ECOWAS Protocols and Dangers of Irregular Migration. Dr Kwaku Afriyie, the Western Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf, gave the assurance that the Government would continue to support the Ghanaian media to enable them to conduct investigations on all aspects of social life. He said the Region, with its numerous natural resources including oil and gas, was prone to migration issues and urged journalists to critically report on migration and human trafficking. Mr Moses Dotsey Aklorbotor, the Western Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), commended Media Response for the workshop, which he noted would adequately resource journalists to conduct investigative journalism. He called on the management of the various media houses to pay their journalists well and shift from general to specialised reporting. Mr Aklorbotor noted that the current situation where journalists were made to cover all programmes from agriculture to sports was not the best since it did not allow journalists to master subject areas effectively. He stressed the need for media houses to always endeavour to maintain journalists who attended such specialised training workshops to enable them to develop the requisite skills in writing good stories. Mr Samuel Dodoo, the Executive Director of Media Response, noted that the media in Ghana had a critical role to play in the promotion of safe and secure inter regional migration. He said the inability of Ghanaian journalists to adequately cover and accurately report on migration had resulted in the gradual erosion of public confidence in their ability to provide trusted information and knowledge necessary for promoting migrants’ rights and safer migration practices. "The lack of adequate knowledge and understanding of national and international frameworks for migration among front line journalists and field correspondents, coupled with negative perceptions of migration among the populace are some of the weaknesses that underline these challenges," Mr Dodoo said. There were solidarity messages from the Police, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana News Agency, Information Services Department and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association.