Malaysia, as one of the key players in ASEAN and a current member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, should lead the way in ensuring decent work for both citizens and non-citizens who contribute to the economy of Malaysia.
Deputy Regional Director of International Labour Organisation (ILO) of the Regional Office for Asia & the Pacific, Ms Panudda Boonpala made the call when opening the 4-day Safe & Fair pre-summit hybrid national workshop on Inclusive & Gender-Sensitive Reporting on issues related to Women Migrant Workers hosted from Kuala Lumpur on 23rd June 2022.
She added that ILO’s Member States, employers and workers have adopted the global call to action for a human centered recovery that is inclusive, sustainable and resilience.
This is because decent work is an imperative and not a choice if countries intend to seize the opportunities and address the challenges to shape a fair, inclusive and secure future of work with full, productive and freely chosen employment for all. And such a future of work is fundamental for sustainable development that puts an end to poverty and leaves no one behind as spelt out under Agenda 2030 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mass media, specifically news reports and social media, remains the most prominent source of information about migrant workers in most countries.
As such, positive representation of women migrant workers in the media can significantly contribute to better understanding and perceptions surrounding women migrant workers within our societies.
These perceptions might also influence the policies and provision of rights, protections and services to women migrant workers.
In this age of misinformation and disinformation, media practitioners need to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalised are also given voices and spaces to make their stories heard by the majority.
Ms Boonpala hoped to see the results of this engagement through more use of the rights gender-inclusive language in media reporting, especially when covering labour migration issues.
33 participants including 17 physical and 16 online attendees from 9 countries joined the four-day workshops fully with commitment and interactive participation. The participants were also required to do practical exercise to write Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on Women Migrant Workers during the workshop.
There were also suggestions that it is vital that journalist and editors come up with a Code of Conduct on reporting for migrant and foreign workers issues. It must encompass the Do No Harm principles.
The term Migrant Journalism is relatively new to the Malaysian’s scenario. As such trainings for journalist must be on going on a series before they can specialize in migrant and foreign workers issues. This will take few years as there are many principles and rules they need to learn. A special session to educate the Editors to understand why terminologies used can be highly damaging for the migrant community and to not become propaganda tools of the government. It is good AIBD have a fellowship programme that last for a year, with mentoring and coaching by migrant rights activist.
Here are some of the feedbacks gathered from the Speakers on the workshop.
- “Excellent job in networking and building up AIBD’s profile to be a lead agency for media reforms in Malaysia and region. The facilitation was very bold and addressed critical issues faced by the media towards the migrant community in Malaysia and region”….Adrian Pereira of North-South Initiative.
- It is great that organisations such as AIBD not only recognised the importance of the media’s critical role in shaping society’s perception regarding migrants and refugees, but also provide training for media practitioners making sure they get sensitised to the topic and avoid misrepresenting this particularly vulnerable group. In this way, AIBD makes the full circle of ‘stand where you sit’ principle”…..Dr Milica Pesic, Executive Director, Media Diversity Institute, United Kingdom
- “It was a very enriching experience as the issue was a very relevant one and is a pertinent demand of the present times. I was delighted that towards the end of the Interactive Session, the Expectation of the RESULTS of the ONLINE POLLING on the subject discussed is 100 %.”…… Dipendra Kumar Mazumder, Media Trainer, Faculty from the National Academy of Broadcasting & Multimedia, the Apex Training Institution of India’s Public Service Broadcaster – PRASAR BHARATI, India.
Based on our evaluation from the participants who gave 63.6% as “excellent” and 36.4% as “good” for the followings:
- usefulness of the topics in context related to Women Migrant Workers;
- disinformation and migrant journalism;
- creating compelling PSAs on issue of Women Migrant Workers;
- Gained in terms of knowledge relevant to their job;
- Gained in terms of skills for performing job; and
- Gained in terms of Attitude towards job issues.