Migration and Communication Rights
All over the world, the number of people forced to migrate continues to grow at an alarming pace.
Globally, there were around 281 million international migrants in the world in 2020, which equates to 3.6 per cent of the global population (IOM 2021). There were also 89.4 million people living in displacement (includes refugees, asylum seekers, displaced Venezuelans and IDPs) (IOM 2021). Of this, 55 million are internally displaced people, 26.4 million are refugees, 3.9 million are displaced Venezuelans, and 4.1 million are asylum seekers (IOM 2021).
WACC is addressing a host of communication concerns for people on the move: access to information, media representation, sharing their own news and participating in new communities and societies — all in an increasingly complex political, cultural and digital communication landscape.
As migration and displacement of people have increased, so has media coverage, not all of them positive. Some coverage has led to increased hostility towards migrants. And, in an age of rampant misinformation and disinformation, migration has become a lightning rod for xenophobic groups seeking to undermine trust in public institutions, including the media.
WACC believes that, now more than ever, migrants’ rights and communication rights advocates must work together to help migrants and refugees gain greater access to information, access communication platforms in order to have their voices heard, develop media literacy skills, and challenge dominant narratives about migration.
The ability of migrants and refugees to make themselves heard in their host societies and to contribute to public discourse on migration is severely curtailed by linguistic, cultural, economic, and political factors. The absence of their voices, in turn, impoverishes public debate. In most cases, migrants have next to no avenues to contribute to public conversations on migration, despite being at the centre of it.
As part of its efforts to help migrants and refugees exercise their right to access information and to exercise freedom of expression, in 2020-2021 WACC is partnering with grassroots organizations that help enhance the capacity of migrant groups to engage in advocacy, build relationships with media houses, and produce a body of evidence to help raise public awareness about the issues they face.
Projects supported under this theme align with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, SDG 10 on Reduced Inequalities, as well as with the UN’s 2030 Agenda. It also aligns with the goals of the UN Global Compact for Migration, particularly objective 17, “Eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration.”