Objective

UNESCO commissioned Ridgeway to produce case studies analysing the media reporting on migration in West and Central Africa.

Context

Aligned to UNESCO’s regional mission to empower young people in Africa through media and communication, this analysis aimed to provide insights into the portrayal of migration across localised editorial content. Working in partnership with BBC Monitoring we analysed press, TV and radio broadcasts to provide in-depth assessments of media reporting on migration in:

  • Cameroon (English, French)
  • Côte d’Ivoire (English, French, Nouchi)
  • Ghana (English)
  • Guinea-Conakry (French)
  • Mali (French, Bambra, Hausa, Songhai, Tamasheq)
  • Niger (Arabic, English, French, Hausa)
  • Nigeria (English, Hausa)
  • Senegal (French, Wolof)

Our approach

The analysis was localised and tailored to the media landscape in each country. Together with our partners, we monitored and collated data on online and real-time reporting on radio, television, print and online media outlets in the eight case study countries. In total, collecting and analysing 780 items of editorial content and 505 online articles. Applying a rigorous approach to research and analysis, the case studies reflected country-specific nuances and built a comprehensive picture of media reporting on migration-related issues.

Based on this information and data, we conducted sentiment and content analyses and produced statistics on each migration theme. We were also tasked to examine reporting from the perspective of journalists in each country. To achieve this, we made local connections to interview local editors, journalists, and media experts. Through the interviews, we focused on identifying opportunities for UNESCO capacity building efforts to build informed, verified and balanced coverage of migration-related issues and that reinforced the safety of journalists.

Challenges and solutions

The editorial and online content collected spanned eight languages and different geopolitical contexts. To ensure careful checking and benchmarking, we deployed our in-house language and cultural capacity. In particularly hard-to-reach geographies, we worked closely with our partner to identify and analyse appropriate media sources.

We successfully addressed challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic media reporting, limited access to local media resources, and the practice of self-censorship in certain country contexts.

Key outcomes

We identified crucial country-specific and regional patterns and trends of media reporting on migration. We found that: the local media in the region does not always adequately reflect the reality of migration, journalism is underfunded, misinformation, media biases regarding the portrayal of minority populations, copying from international outlets are all recurring problems, and security for journalists is a significant issue. Nevertheless, workshops and training are improving the quality of investigative journalism in the region.