Workshop training

Workshop: Training Egyptian Journalists on the Do’s and Don’ts of Covering Victims of Irregular Migration and Human Trafficking

CAIRO – February 2 2022: Journalists make many daily decisions about their content, what sources to quote and which media to use, with media ethics, editorial policies and personal values ​​being some of the key factors to consider these decisions.

However, covering critical issues such as irregular (or illegal) migration and human trafficking, is generally not adequate, but rather holds victims accountable.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Egypt, in cooperation with the National Coordinating Committee for Combating Illegal Migration and Human Trafficking (NCCPIMTIP), organized a workshop aimed at building the capacity of media and journalists when covering these topics.


Are they “illegal” or “undocumented” migrants?


Emigration or immigration?


Will I be prosecuted if I reveal personal information about a victim of human trafficking?


Can I post a picture of a dead migrant boy who was washed up on the shore?

Many journalists have been mistaken when dealing with terminology and the use of multimedia, which unfortunately can convey the wrong message about migrants, contributing to their negative public image. UN and media experts have highlighted the importance of using the right words when referring to migrants or refugees to effectively address the issue and educate the public.

For example, the term “irregular” is preferable to “illegal migrant” because the latter has a criminal connotation.

They also pointed out that disclosing the personal information and identity of the victims is punishable.

“News coverage is absolutely important, but not enough, and in-depth coverage supported by multimedia, facts and stories can better address the issue,” said the journalism and mass communication professor. at the American University in Cairo, Dr. Mervat Abou Oaf during the workshop. .

She further underlined the importance of the role soft powers play if they are used correctly to “paint a true picture of the victims without framing the problem in a certain way”.

Speaking about editorial decisions in the fight against irregular migration and human trafficking, Dr Abou Oaf said that journalists must consider the consequences of their publishing decisions on victims and their impact on them. Giving examples of tragic photos of victims, Abou Oaf stressed that the consent of the people in the images must be taken without revealing their identity.

“The media is full of superficial messages from media executives that portray undocumented migrants in a punitive and negative way, and unfortunately this negative image has been pervasive and used for a long time,” she said.

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There was a slideshow showing different international coverage of the issue of irregular migration through photos, with some newspapers showing undocumented African and Syrian migrants drowning in the sea, building empathy for them, while others others showed them in boats or crossing the fence to European lands, depicting them as invaders.

During the workshop, videos of campaigns to raise awareness among victims of human trafficking were shown, as well as a clip of a song called “Fares” produced by UNICEF, mixing forms of popular music and rap, with the aim of combating irregular migration.

The workshop also highlighted the challenges and factors affecting the media and journalists when covering the topics of irregular migration and human trafficking. It also provided guidelines for participating journalists on accessing reliable sources of information, techniques for interviewing victims and the use of image.

The Director of Human Trafficking Unit at NCCPIMTIP, Yehia Osama, said that there are 11 governorates exporting irregular migrants to Egypt, namely Dakahlia, Qalyubia, Kafr El-Sheikh, Assiout, Beheira, Menoufia , Fayoum, Ghariba, Minya, Luxor and Assiut. .

He pointed out that in 2021, 156 cases of human trafficking had been investigated so far, pointing out that Egypt had established the first shelter for victims of human trafficking by the end of the year. end of 2020.

He said that the forms of human trafficking are different, but a national strategy has been developed to explain everything about this crime and the ways to confront it and then prevent it.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud Imam, director of the alternative opportunities unit and first assistant of the irregular migration unit, said there are seven ministries currently working to provide employment opportunities for young people in order to prevent them from resorting to irregular migration, as it provides them with training to enable them to work.

The imam said that they have organized trainings for social workers and prosecutors to deal with victims of human trafficking, adding that among these victims are unaccompanied minors.

He further highlighted the hotlines provided to report cases of human trafficking or illegal migration, including:


The National Council for Women (15115)The National Council for Childhood and Maternity (16000)The National Human Rights Council (15508).

The workshop was held in two groups, over four days, and brought together around 30 participants from different media agencies and local newspapers.

The launch ceremony was held on January 30, 2022 in the presence of Christian Berger, Head of the European Union Delegation to the Arab Republic of Egypt; Michel Quaroni, Italian Ambassador to Egypt, Naela Gabr, Head of the National Coordinating Committee for the Fight and Prevention of Illegal Migration and Human Trafficking, and Laurent De Bok, Head of Mission of the International Organization for migrations in Egypt.


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“Our cooperation is part of the implementation of two important programs, namely the Regional Development and Protection Program funded by the European Union, and the Conscious Migrants project funded by Italy and implemented by the International Organization for Migration,” Ambassador Naila Gabr told a news conference. the opening of the workshop.

She explained that this workshop aims to build the capacity and knowledge of media professionals on these topics, especially those who can play an important role in raising awareness in society.

She added that these programs support the National Committee in carrying out its strategies to combat human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants.

For his part, Laurent de Boc, Head of Mission of the International Organization for Migration, said: “Journalism has the power and plays a role in conveying the right message to shape our minds, promote tolerance and understanding choosing the right words and concepts and precise understanding. Journalism must shape the future.

He stressed that understanding the difference between refugees and migrants, and their fundamental rights, would in turn enhance respect and protection and encourage the establishment of an inclusive society based on human rights.