MU Director Trains Arab Broadcasters on Migration Issues in Tunis

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil led a three-day workshop for Arab broadcasters on best practices in covering migration, refugees and human trafficking in Tunis in a bid to raise standards and help the trainees sharpen their mobile journalism (MoJo) skills.

Magda Abu-Fadil describes the fine points of migration media coverage

She joined forces with audiovisual multimedia expert David Hands to train participants from the southern Mediterranean region in November 2023 as part of the EUROMED Migration V initiative in cooperation with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).

The training relied on an interactive, mentoring and engaging approach using presentations based primarily on the migration and media guide authored by Abu-Fadil, but also on references, articles, reports, case studies, videos and relevant materials culled from media, academia, international organizations and other sources.

Arab broadcasters learn about coverage of migration, refugees and human trafficking

Abu-Fadil and Hands provided exercises to test participants’ comprehension of the topics’ complexity, including a grasp of terminology used to characterize (or mis-characterize) migration, refugees and human trafficking; how they had covered these subjects (or planned to cover them) by using certain tools and skills; understanding what international and local organizations and NGOs actually do in their respective countries and abroad; the laws and conventions on the matter; and, what level of importance they placed such coverage as opposed to other news. 

The trainers focused on the craft of combining solid research, writing and editing with impactful, visual and sharable storytelling for informed audiences through digital multimedia as well as amplifying the work of journalists across social media.

The trainees learned about the quality of images and sound, how audiovisual elements are related and how best to edit them using different apps for Android and IOS devices. They produced content the trainers evaluated with feedback from colleagues in the workshop.

David Hands demonstrates how to fine-tune mobile journalism skills

Trainees were also coached in the principles of media ethics, physical and mental health as well as security matters. The trainers immersed the journalists in the art of interviewing and information verification. 

Abu-Fadil and Hands drew on their years of journalistic experience and of teaching and training in various countries, notably in news gathering, writing, editing, digital multimedia, traditional photography, videography, radio broadcasting, social media, audience engagement, media analytics and blogging.

Abu-Fadil and Hands flank migration media trainees

They previously trained journalists in Tunis as part of the Migration Media Award under the auspices of the ICMPD-Thomson Foundation program, and Abu-Fadil served as a member of the jury for the entire duration of the Migration Media Award.

MU Director Leads Migration & Media Workshops in Tunis

Media professionals from state-run Middle East/North Africa broadcast organizations were immersed into intensive workshops on migration, refugees and human trafficking in the Euro-Mediterranean region in a bid to enhance their coverage of these complex topics.

Magda Abu-Fadil on best practices of covering migrants, refugees and human trafficking victims

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil led the training that incorporated key migration concepts, the accurate use of terminology, legal considerations, best practices in coverage of migration, media ethics, safety considerations, mobile journalism principles and practice, and the impact of Covid-19 on the migration media environment.

Abeer Saady raises safety issues during coverage in sensitive areas

Journalist/trainer Abeer Saady and journalist/multimedia expert David Hands were co-trainers who, with Abu-Fadil, used the EUROMED Migration V (EMM5: 2020-2023) curriculum “Migration and Media: A Journalist’s Handbook” she authored as a primary reference in designing the workshops in Tunis in December 2022.

Profound discussion on media ethics

EMM5, an EU-funded program implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), organized the two consecutive workshops of three days each in cooperation with the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) and grouped participants from Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine and Tunisia.

David Hands explains camera shots for use in mobile journalism

Abu-Fadil, Saady and Hands explained the language, terminology, organizations, international resolutions, and laws related to migration, refugees and human trafficking; the need for being ethical in covering the subject; the importance of safety, notably of women journalists, physical and mental health issues/trauma for media in coverage of migrants, refugees and human trafficking; and, learning mobile journalism skills for shooting and editing multimedia packages

The trainers provided participants with tips on interviewing techniques, notably when dealing with traumatized and displaced persons. The journalists interviewed members of Tunis-based NGOs that deal with migrants and refugees and one group interviewed a Syrian refugee who settled in Tunisia.

Trainees interview Syrian refugee living in Tunisia

Abu-Fadil, Saady and Hands used presentations and videos, showed documentary films, provided case studies, and conducted a series of exercises to test the participants’ grasp of the topic.

Abu-Fadil, Saady and Hands flanked by trainees

The participants produced pieces based on their interviews and at the end incorporated the interview with elements from the workshop’s presentations into a larger story.

MU Director Equips Tunisian Media With Migration Coverage Know-How

Migration, refugees and human trafficking once again featured at a three-day workshop in Tunis grouping 16 journalists from various media who learned how to shape the story, focus the narrative, keep it ethical, and make it more relatable.

How to cover migration, refugees and human trafficking

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil, cameraman/editor David Hands and senior media training and exchange expert at the Open Media Hub Petko Georgiev led the mini-course.

Magda Abu-Fadil and David Hands mentor Tunisian journalists during workshop on migration and media

It aimed at helping the reporters and editors better understand the subject, identify who the stakeholders are, acquire the correct terminology to define people and their status, know where to dig for contextual information, and what traps to avoid when reporting the story.


Tunisian journalists complete in-session exercise

The workshop in November 2018 included journalists from Tunisia’s national television channel, newspapers, news websites, the state-run national news agency and radio stations.

They had proposed story ideas to pursue prior to the training and several went out with Hands to shoot footage and conduct interviews during the sessions.


David Hands helps edit footage for a migration story

On their return to the mentoring periods the journalists were then guided by Hands and Georgiev on the mechanics of assembling the elements into viable short pieces for broadcast while Abu-Fadil pitched in advice on ethics and interviewing techniques.

The previous week Abu-Fadil moderated a panel at the Assises Internationales Du Journalisme De Tunis where some 500 Francophone participants from Euromed and West African countries gathered to probe the question: Journalism Useful for Citizens?

Assises Internationales Du Journalisme De Tunis drew 500 Francophone participants from Euromed and West African countries

The three-day event in the Tunisian capital – almost 50 thematic sessions, debates, exhibitions and side activities – comes at a critical time when freedom of expression is being tested and violated on a daily basis in many of the countries from which the delegates hailed.

Abu-Fadil chaired a session entitled “No Useful Journalism Without Verification: How Do We Confirm An Image, Information?” during which she also plugged the UNESCO book she co-authored “Journalism, Fake News and Disinformation” .


Abu-Fadil (right) chairs panels on verification

The Assises Internationales Du Journalisme De Tunis is supported financially and programmatically by the Open Media Hub, which is implemented by the Thomson Foundation.

MU Director Trains Arab Media on Migration Coverage

Don’t take migration issues lightly, do proper research, never assume, avoid hate speech, stick to the facts, use visuals ethically and tell a good story.

That’s some of the advice Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil gave journalists at a three-day workshop in Tunis in September 2018 organized by the Open Media Hub, a European Union-funded initiative administered by the Thomson Foundation.


Magda Abu-Fadil explains the ethics of shooting photos and videos of migrants and refugees

The production-led training grouped print, radio, TV, online and multimedia journalists from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Syria and provided them with tools aimed at improving their reporting on migration.

Cameraman/editor David Hands, senior media training and exchange expert at the Media Hub Project Petko Georgiev and Abu-Fadil were the instructors.

Migration and media – a complex topic to cover

They aimed to reinforce the journalists’ knowledge and abilities to help them achieve balance in their stories and provide unbiased public perception of migration.

Participants were asked earlier to submit a pitch for the story they intended to finalize during the workshop sessions.

Petko Georgiev, senior media training and exchange expert at Media Hub Project and cameraman/editor David Hands

The stories will be broadcast/published in their respective news outlets and made available on the Open Media Hub’s platform and website, for exchange between participants locally and internationally.

The workshop was built on a text Abu-Fadil wrote, “Migration and Media: A Journalist’s Handbook” – a cooperative project of the Open Media Hub, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), and Euromed Migration with funding from the EU – that will be available online in English, Arabic and French.

Migration and Media: A Journalist’s Handbook

The handbook was also turned into an OMH online course in the three languages.


The importance of visuals in media coverage

The objective was to ensure journalists have a basic firm understanding of the complex issues of migration, refugees, and human trafficking and their impact on the politics, economics, demographics, environment, security, education and cultures of affected countries and beyond.

The trainers spent half the workshop mentoring their charges by helping them fine-tune proposals to produce viable reports and provided useful technical tips on video and audio production.


Mentoring journalists on how best to cover the topic

Another hitch is the lack of adequate resources and support from news organizations, so the Open Media Hub has stepped in to help defray the cost of travel and local coverage to journalists pitching credible stories that may then qualify for the EU-funded Migration Media Award (MMA). 


EU Ambassador to Tunisia Patrice Bergamini at the Migration Media Award

Several of the workshop participants were winners of the 2018 MMA in its second edition and hope to secure financial backing for follow-up stories.

As a member of the jury for Arabic-language media, Abu-Fadil presented the first prize in print to Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Mustafa whose story “Europe is Not Paradise” was published in the daily Al Akhbar.


Abu-Fadil handing Arabic Migration Media Award first prize in print

The MMA for print, radio, TV and multimedia stories in Arabic, English and French was launched in 2017 to recognize excellence, relevance and newsworthiness of journalistic pieces dealing with migration in all its aspects in the Euro-Mediterranean region.


End of a successful workshop

This year’s awards focused on diaspora, labor migration, vulnerable groups, and legal and irregular migration.

Abu-Fadil Trains Libyan Journalists in Conflict-Sensitive Reporting

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil pulled all the stops to familiarize Libyan journalists with the concept of conflict-sensitive reporting aimed at producing a code of ethics for their country’s media.

MU director explains the impact of deadly rumors

MU director explains the impact of deadly rumors

During two training courses, Abu-Fadil focused on definitions of conflict-sensitive reporting and bias, propaganda, hate speech, rumors, pictures, images, and video clips, the pros and cons of online and social media, religious incitement, and peace journalism.

Propaganda stokes conflicts, journalists told

Propaganda stokes conflicts, journalists told

The final event, a workshop grouping some of the participants from the second training and others who complemented the assemblage, focused on hammering out a code of ethics to be adopted by Libyan media.

Ethics, media and conflicts

Ethics, media and conflicts

UNESCO’s Division for Freedom of Information and Media Development in collaboration with the Tunis-based UNESCO Libya CI focal point commissioned the work that was conducted in Amman, Jordan in April 2016.

UNESCO's Raja'a El Abasi at training workshop for Libyan journalists

UNESCO’s Raja’a El Abasi at training workshop for Libyan journalists

The event followed earlier efforts by UNESCO to establish a base for media ethics in Libya. The Amman program was co-funded by the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.

Michael Croft, UNESCO Head of Office and Representative in Libya addresses participants as US Public Affairs Officer Stephen Ibelli (center) looks on

Michael Croft, UNESCO Head of Office and Representative in Libya, addresses participants as US Public Affairs Officer Stephen Ibelli (center) looks on

The journalists came from Libya, Tunisia and Egypt to Jordan. Some of the participants were already in Amman, since they work for Libyan media based in the Jordanian capital. They represented print, broadcast and online media.

Abu-Fadil describes causes of conflicts

Abu-Fadil describes causes of conflicts

The program sought to change behavior and practice in Libya’s media sector. It drew on frameworks the journalists had established and adopted in the Madrid Declaration of July 2015 issued by Libyan media managers in talks facilitated by UNESCO in Spain.

Abu-Fadil and El Abasi with Libyan journalists in Amman

Abu-Fadil and El Abasi with Libyan journalists in Amman

The journalists are expected to work with their peers, civil society, and local and national authorities to establish a national consensus on media practice, freedom of expression, and the role of the media in Libyan society.

Amal Alwerfali receives workshop certificate

Amal Alwerfali receives workshop certificate



Abu-Fadil to Tunisian Journos: Separate News & Views

Don’t report the process, tell the audience what is important and why, BBC veteran Russell Peasgood instructed Tunisian journalists at a workshop to review their output following an earlier course.

Peasgood provided insights on how to improve radio and TV reports, what camera angles are best for what types of shots, indoor and outdoor sound quality, broadcast interviews, and overall content.

Russell Peasgood critiques Tunisian TV report

Russell Peasgood critiques Tunisian TV report

The training was co-conducted by Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil in Tunis and is funded by the European Union (EU).

Abu-Fadil urged the trainees to distinguish between news and views and to separate the two in their reports

She also advised them to simplify the language they use in print, broadcast and online reports and to address themselves to their respective audiences, not to their bosses.

Magda Abu-Fadil explains difference between news and views

Magda Abu-Fadil explains difference between news and views

The trainees represented media based in Tunis, Sousse, Manouba, Sidi Bouzid, Nabeul, Sfax and Djerba.

Tunisian journalists benefit from professional training

The workshop in March 2014 is part of a journalism training project funded by the EU and run by a BBC Media Action-led consortium covering 17 countries in the “European Neighbourhood.”