In cooperation with Jordanian Women’s Union (JWU), the Heinrich Böll Foundation - Palestine and Jordan organized a Journalist Summer School titled “Telling Migrant Stories, Raising Migrant Voices” in Amman, Jordan from 23-25 August, 2022. The School aimed at empowering young professional journalists who are interested in learning more about the situation of migrant workers and wish to spark debates in the media on important labour migration issues. The School offered information on labour migration provided by experts and journalists, civil society actors and international organizations working in the field.
In total, 12 journalists from Jordan and Egypt participated and enriched the School with their valuable contributions, expertise and experience. They were selected based on their work experience and motivation to work on the topic of labour migration.
The Summer School was commenced with welcoming words by Dr. Florian Reindel, the Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy in Amman, Ms. Dorthe Siegmund, Office Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation – Palestine and Jordan (hbs) and Ms. Nadia Shamroukh, the General Manager of the Jordanian Women’s Union Association (JWU).
Through theoretical and practical sessions and inputs, the 12 selected participants received background knowledge and skills training to cover the topic of labour migration in the future. After her welcoming words, Nadia Shamroukh, provided an introduction on the topic, talked about the first acknowledged human trafficking case in Jordan, and the work of JWU on the ground to combat this crime. Christina Ostebo from The International Organization for Migration (IOM) shed light on migration trends, presenting collected data and recent numbers. Tareq Abu Qaoud and Abed Al Jawad Al Natsheh from the International Labor Organization (ILO) explained the situation of migrant workers employed in the garment industry in Jordan, the current labour standards and ILO’s efforts in improving them.
Rania Sarayreh, an expert journalist on labour migration, emphasized that interviews are a key element of reporting and taught the participants how to improve their skills on research, questioning techniques and interviews on sensitive issues. Following, Mohammad Shamma, a professional editor, taught the participants how to best compose interview scripts and how written texts can be further improved. He talked about the different styles of reporting and laid out the difference between in-depth reporting, investigative reports and short news announcements underlining the importance of words, their power and meaning.
During the field day of the School, participants visited JWU’s shelter, where they had the opportunity to witness first-hand reality of human trafficking victims and the social programs and efforts by civil society aiming to provide them with protection. Additionally, they had the chance to listen to and interview JWU’s hotline staff, who are handling human trafficking cases. They also visited the studio of Radio Al-Balad, where they were offered to test the technical equipment and to put themselves in the shoes of a radio moderator. Daoud Kuttab, the Director of the Amman-based radio station talked about the diverse radio shows and programs the radio station broadcasts, and answered questions raised by the participants.
Another day was filled with a training conducted by the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) addressing migration key terminology used in international human rights law and recommendations to use to avoid discrimination as well as to ensure gender-sensitive reporting. Moreover, the discussion addressed how to come up with insightful, new and relevant story ideas on the topic of migration and how to deal with trauma victims in a professional and non-exploitative manner.
The Journalist Summer School provided an excellent platform for sharing experiences, exchanging knowledge and networking, and is hoped to contribute to an increased media coverage of labour migration and human trafficking issues in Jordan. Following the Journalist Summer School, two participants decided to conduct further individual research on labour migration in Jordan and created their own media products.
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Hussein Al Smadi created an awareness raising animation video on human trafficking and Shefa’ Qudah wrote an informative article on the language barriers facing migrant workers in Jordan, how this affects their life and may complicate legal procedures.