Aiming to expose professional journalists and journalism students to correct migration terminology as well as migration and child protection related local and international legal frameworks, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Morocco carried out three media workshops on migration reporting in February 2020. 

In total, 118 participants attended these workshops, which were organized by as part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in North Africa and in collaboration with the joint project ‘Protecting and empowering child and youth refugees and migrants in Morocco,’ implemented by IOM, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Resident Coordinator Office in Morocco. 

To reach not only those working in the capital Rabat but also local journalists who are working for different regional and national media institutions, the workshops took place in Oujda, Casablanca and Rabat cities.

“Regular capacity building trainings for journalists are very important especially in the field of migration, which is characterised by fast-changing dynamics and constant public and political attention,” explained Salaheddine Lemaizi, a journalist covering migration in Morocco.

During the trainings, experts from UNHCR, the United Nations Children's Fund, IOM and the Higher Institute of Information and Communication – a public journalism school in Morocco- were invited to share their knowledge and experiences with the participants.

Speaking about what she has learned during one of the workshops, Oumaima Bazzi, a journalism student said: “The workshop allowed me to deepen my understanding of the rights of migrants and to learn more about the role that media should play. I have also learned new terminological and legal tools to cover migration in an informed way.”

The trainings were based on an IOM guide on migration reporting ‘Media coverage of migration based on international law and evidence: Journalist's guide,’ which was launched in February 2020 with support from the European Union and the IOM Development Fund.

“As journalists, we should play a proactive role in encountering hate speech and in order not to fuel hostility, xenophobia, and discrimination against migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. The workshop opened my eyes to all of this,” said Yahia Bali, Publishing Director at one of the local newspapers in Morocco. 

Beginning in June 2019, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in North Africa aims to contribute to the strengthening of migrant protection and sustainable reintegration systems in North Africa by improving protection and enabling the voluntary return of stranded migrants and migrants in transit, supporting targeted countries to enhance the sustainability of reintegration through an integrated approach to reintegration, increasing the capacities of North African countries and relevant stakeholders to develop or strengthen return and reintegration policies and processes.

The Joint Initiative is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.