Secretary General, Ghana Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Mrs Ama Serwaah Nerquaye-Tetteh, has urged media practitioners to raise awareness on risks of irregular migration to deter the youth from engaging in such voyages.
She said there was too much misinformation on migration that was luring the youth to continue to embark on such dangerous journeys.
“We have been told a lot of stories to make it seem that once you travel outside of the country your fortunes would change. This had made a lot of them commit to travel regardless of what risks or dangers they could face,” she said.
Mrs Nerquaye-Tetteh said this on the sidelines of a stakeholders’ forum on Media and Voices of Migration in Ghana.
The forum discussed findings from a three-year project commissioned by UNESCO and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation dubbed: “Empowering Young People in Africa through Media and Communication.”
The project seeks to address the root causes of migration by improving access to information, freedom of expression and building the capacities of youth and the media.
It is being implemented in seven other African countries – Senegal, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Cameroun, Guinea- Conakry and Mali.
Mrs Nerquaye-Tetteh said the media had a critical role to play in dispelling the misinformation on migration by providing accurate and experiential information on the risks of illegal migration.
She said the situation worsened with the advent of social media, which made it seem that there were greener pastures outside the country.
Mrs Nerquaye-Tetteh highlighted some of the findings from the project resulting in irregular migration, including misinformation on social media, harsh economic realities and lack of opportunities for the youth.
She said it was important for the media to continue to throw more light on the risks of irregular migration until the trend was lessened.
Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, UNESCO Representative to Ghana, said access to credible information on migration was an essential pillar to enable the youth to make informed choices on migration.
“Media coverage of migration significantly affects the diversity and quality of information received by the public, especially migrants. It also shapes the perception and reaction of society about issues related to migration,” he added.
He said the project addressed gaps in reporting on migration and built capacities of journalists to produce quality information on migration risks.
Madam Daniela d’Orlandi, Italian Ambassador to Ghana, said the issue of migration was a complex and structural phenomenon, which required seeking shared and long-lasting solutions.
“Migration is a global phenomenon, which according to the IOM data will be involved in 2020, 280.6 million of international migrants that represents 3.6 per cent of the world’s population.”
“Moreover, according to the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, the number of emigrants from Ghana has more than doubled in the last 20 years,” she added.
Madam d’Orlandi said though migration might be the result of a choice, it was not always based on reliable, up-to-date, nor sufficient information.
She said that was why potential candidates for migration could be victims of misinformation, which sometimes had a heavy impact on their migration routes and exposed them to perilous journeys, particularly to Europe.