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IOM Pakistan, GMMA and SSDO Strengthen Media’s Capacity on Ethical Reporting on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling in Pakistan
[Islamabad, 22 November 2023] - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Pakistan, in partnership with the Global Migration Media Academy (GMMA), and the Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO), successfully concluded a series of trainings dedicated to improving ethical reporting practices on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) in Pakistan.
From 13 to 22 November 2023, IOM organized three trainings within the framework of the project ‘Countering TIP and SOM in Pakistan’, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denmark and aiming to support the Government of Pakistan on achieving various objectives under the National Action Plan (NAP) to combat TIP and SOM (2021-25).
Over 100 journalists and media professionals from across Pakistan participated in the trainings that covered a range of topics such as key concepts and legal frameworks of TIP and SOM, media's role in prevention and protection efforts, victim-centered and gender sensitive approaches to reporting, identifying stories through community engagement, and ethical use of data. Recognizing the emotional toll associated with reporting on sensitive subjects, the training also addressed the importance of self-care and support mechanisms for journalists and media professionals.
Emphasizing the vital role of journalists in combatting TIP and SOM while protecting the victims, Ms. Suzana Paklar, Senior Programme Coordinator, IOM Pakistan, in her opening remarks highlighted that, "In the pursuit of truth, journalists are the torchbearers of justice, and their narratives have the power to spark positive change in societies. Through capacity building on responsible reporting, IOM aims to empower journalists to be the voices of those who often go unheard."
Over the course of each training, Ms. Sandra Ruiz Moriana, the lead trainer from IOM’s GMMA, equipped journalists with practical tools on ethical reporting on TIP and SOM, enhancing their abilities to responsibly and precisely report on these sensitive issues, and empowering them to fight misperceptions relating to these crimes.
Representing SSDO, Mr. Syed Kausar Abbas covered aspects relating to legal frameworks on TIP and SOM. He clarified the roles of law enforcement entities, such as police departments and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), in combatting TIP and SOM and provided a comprehensive overview of the NAP and the role of media in its implementation.
The trainings also featured participation of renowned senior journalists such as Ms. Myra Imran, Vice President, National Press Club, who shared her experiences and insights while working on the subject and shed light over ground realities and challenges.
Commenting on the impact of the trainings, one of the participants shared that “routinely reporting on sensitive subjects such as TIP and SOM has potential to desensitize us to the sufferings of the victims. This training has helped us refocus and serves as a reminder to approach victims with empathy”.
Overall, the trainings served to be a unique and critical initiative in Pakistan, and will significantly contribute towards the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to combat TIP and SOM in a comprehensive and holistic manner, ensuring that safety and well-being of victims of TIP and migrants in vulnerable situations are at the core of all interventions.
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