The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has opened entries for applications for its maiden West and Central Africa Migration Journalism Award for journalists who have brought attention to the many facets of migration within the two sub-regions.
Entries for the first edition of the Award are opened for free and will run from September 15 to October 15, 2021. The Award will recognize eight winners with rewards of up to US$1,250 each in prize money. The winning Journalists will also receive a plaque of recognition and will be invited to a virtual Award ceremony that will be broadcast on IOM’s social media platforms. The IOM said the winning submissions may also be republished on a media partner’s platform.
Meanwhile, the main aim of the Award is to foster quality reporting on migration. As such, the Award sets out to recognize outstanding stories from the region that shed light on migration from various perspectives. Some of the areas include safe migration, migration and climate change, and returning migrant reintegration. It will also focus on environmental migration and irregular migration. Another key area is work that debunks false and discriminatory narratives about migration and promotes balanced, evidence-based reporting.
Role of journalists
Christopher Gascon highlighted that the competition seeks to celebrate journalists who have shone a light on migration and its impact. According to him, proper reportage on migration will help paint a clearer picture on the issue and also aid decision making.
“Migration issues are multidimensional and are often subject to misunderstanding. The support of journalists is the best way to unpack these complexities and give a clear understanding of all sides of the dynamics of migration. Effective reporting on migration ensures that people are presented with a more complete view of these issues which can provide a true understanding. We look to migration stories being reported in a balanced way to help ensure that migrants can make informed decisions and that the public at large receive objective information” .Christopher Gascon, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa
Eligibility of Journalists
Eligible journalists for the Award must be nationals of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, and the Republic of Congo. Journalists from Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Liberia may also apply. Other eligible countries include Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Nevertheless, the IOM stated that the journalistic works in the areas highlighted must have been published on radio or television, or in traditional media or digital platforms. The IOM said, “submitted entries that have not been previously published will immediately be disqualified without notice”. Such publications must also be between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021.
Furthermore, the IOM warned that articles should not exceed 5,000 characters while video or audio/radio reports should not exceed three minutes. More importantly, the IOM noted that it will only accept entries in which the applicant is the primary author or the co-author.
Requirements for entries
According to the IOM, entries for the Award must meet journalistic principles and basic requirements, strictly adhering to professional ethics and standards. Also, they must be an original body of work without alterations.
Meanwhile, the jury to select the winning submissions include the IOM and the media. It will also include specialists from the four thematic areas: Migration, Environment and Climate Change, Reintegration, Awareness raising about irregular migration, and Alternatives to irregular migration. Applicants can submit their entries in English or French via reportingmigration.org .
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