(Friday 12th October, 2018 Issue)
West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) Wednesday concluded a-2-day professional production techniques and reporting training on irregular migration for Gambian radio journalists.
The training is part of activities under the project; 'Using radio to curb irregular migration', a West Africa Democracy Radio project with support from the German Federal Office.
Agnes Thomasi, WADR station manager said the project is part of WADR efforts to build the capacity of journalists from its partner radio stations in a bid to enhance reporting on irregular migration by West African youth and its attendant consequences on the affected communities and countries.
The issue of irregular migration, she said, is becoming increasingly important to focus on as it continues to affect lives in the West Africa region especially young people.
"Main objective of the training is to build the capacity of journalists to produce programmes on irregular migration and orientate station managers."
Speaking on the role of Civil Society in curbing irregular migration, TANGO programme manager Madi Jobateh described the training as timely, acknowledging the fact that The Gambia is one of the highest producing migrant populations in Africa. He said migration is a fundamental right, but said what pushes people to migrate have to be looked at to determine how to address the issue.
"We need to look at how we are all contributing to causing migration. If we maintain a political system in terms of promoting democracy, building strong institutions, making governments accountable to deliver public services to people and create opportunities, the tendency is that migration will result.
Presenting on the role of the media in curbing irregular migration, The Gambia Press Union president Sheriff Bojang Jnr said in covering irregular migration, journalists need to know the causes and all other components because people rely on them for information. He advised journalists to do away with single story when reporting on migration as people migrate for various reasons.
"As long as we want to curb irregular migration as journalists, there are ethical issues you can never do away with or take for granted. You have to be truthful, impartial and also check your facts."
Information minister Ebrima Sillah said irregular migration post-departure has serious implications including food insecurity.
He said as a country, Gambians need to start the difficult discussion on where they want to be in the next five years with policies that will ensure young people stay in the country, saying migration is a fundamental human right, but what are the things that can encourage people to stay in the country and take ownership?
"We have to tackle everything that is making it difficult for people stay in the country. The government has to provide political environment for people to trust to stay."
Mr. Bojang said the media has to hold the government accountable to ensure that what is budgeted for and the funds giving to the government are transparently spent so that people can benefit from them.
"When people have confidence in the government and stay and work in the country, we will develop rapidly. We are losing a very important component of our society which is the youth."