Newsroom / CNA
During a meeting held on World Refugee Day, the Cyprus Media Ethics Committee, the Union of Cyprus Journalists, and the UNHCR Country Office in Cyprus gathered at the Journalist House in Nicosia to discuss the vital role of the media in creating an inclusive and accepting atmosphere for refugees. The aim was to embrace and recognize refugees as valuable members of society.
Elli Kotzamani, the President of the Cyprus Media Ethics Committee, shed light on the growing number of complaints regarding media reports that violate the non-discriminatory and hate speech clauses outlined in the Cyprus Media Code. She emphasized the committee's meticulous process in addressing these grievances, underscoring the significance of upholding ethical standards in journalism.
George Frangos, the President of the Union of Cyprus Journalists, emphasized the union's commitment to ethical reporting on refugees and migrants. He expressed readiness to support initiatives that promote responsible and ethical journalism, stressing the importance of accurate and unbiased portrayal of these vulnerable groups.
Katja Saha, the UNHCR Representative in Cyprus, addressed the concerning decline in public opinion and Cypriots' perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers. Presenting evidence from UNHCR-commissioned opinion polls conducted over the years, she highlighted the pivotal role of the media in reversing this negative trend. Saha emphasized the need for proactive engagement with the media to provide accurate information, challenge misinformation, and humanize the discourse on refugees and migration.
During the meeting, Etinosa Erevbenagie-Johnbull, co-founder of Generation for Change CY, a non-profit organization dedicated to positive social change through support for vulnerable and marginalized communities, shared compelling examples of how inaccurate and negative reporting significantly impacts local perceptions and the lives of refugees and asylum-seekers.
The meeting facilitated discussions on terminology, procedures related to asylum and migration, and ideas for promoting positive media coverage. Participants stressed the importance of storytelling that conveys the human side of the refugee experience. Collaborative awareness initiatives, such as media training and briefings, were explored to shape a more inclusive and humanized narrative.
The participants expressed their commitment to working together, harnessing the power of the media to create a welcoming environment for refugees in Cyprus. They recognized the ongoing need for dialogue and collaboration among media professionals, organizations, and civil society to ensure accurate, ethical, and inclusive coverage of refugee and migration-related issues.