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 Trains Palestinian Refugee Journalists

Palestinian refugees across Lebanon are almost forgotten but journalists in their ranks are active and eagerly participated in a December 2022 workshop to sharpen their skills with Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil providing day-long training to empower them.

Magda Abu-Fadil provides pointers on mobile journalism

Fifteen trainees from various Palestinian refugee camps learned how to produce professional journalism as a means to better their lives by landing full-time or freelance jobs on one of three days organized by Women in News (WIN), an arm of the Paris-based World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).  

While the journalists are refugees, they are not necessarily well versed in covering their own story or that of displaced people and human trafficking that often involve desperate people in Lebanon (including Palestinians from the camps) riding death boats seeking asylum in Europe.

How do we frame the story?

Abu-Fadil stressed the importance of context, the proper use of numbers and statistics, how to capitalize on visuals, the verification of information, the use of accurate terminology, how to protect themselves physically, mentally and online, and, how to sharpen their critical thinking skills.

Abu-Fadil asks journalists to assess news content and production elements of migrant story video

She conducted four intensive interactive and practical sessions on coverage of these complex topics, including international resolutions and laws related to migration, refugees and human trafficking, and incorporating media ethics in all reports.

Abu-Fadil provided tips on the mobile journalism basics of shooting photos and videos, producing good sound pieces using phones, as well as optimum applications for various devices, equipment and accessories.

Palestinian refugee journalists and WIN Middle East/North Africa director Dalal Saoud (standing) watch report on media coverage of migrants and refugees

She also discussed mental and physical health challenges of coverage, safety aspects for journalists, particularly to women reporters facing threats and intimidation when conducting investigative reports on the topic, as well as the lingering perils of Covid-19 and its variants, a 2022 outbreak of cholera in Lebanon (the first since 1993), and climate change.

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.