35 Print, Online Journalists bags €60,000 for Migrants reportage

  • As Labour teams up with EFCC, ICPC on probe over N516bn Paris refund

The European Union funded Migration Media has recognised and rewarded 35 journalists from 16 countries with 60,000 Euro for their reportage on migration in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Soeren Bauer, Senior Communications and Knowledge Officer, the EUROMED Migration IV of International Centre for Migration and Policy Development (ICMPD), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)  that the winners were drawn from Euro-Mediterranean countries.

The award, he is the first edition of the scheme that focuses on the various challenges that journalists face producing balanced and fact-based reporting on migration.

The Countries, he explained included Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Morocco and the UK.

Bauer who stated that the journalists won prize money ranging from 500 Euro to 7000 Euro for journalistic pieces that were turned in for the competition; noted that an international jury, composed of senior journalists, evaluated more than 120 applications consisting of an already published piece and a proposal for a future production.

“The award is a contract for future journalist work; two-thirds of the journalistic works evaluated was already published and one-third was the evaluation of the proposal for future journalistic work.

“If you are a first prize winner, you can receive up to 7000 Euro of funding for that future piece of journalistic work; third prize winners this year we started with 500 Euro.

“So the range is in between 500 Euros and 7000 Euro; there is no guarantee that as a first prize winner, you will receive 7000 Euro, because we know a little bit about countries and constraints of journalists working in certain countries and costs of journalistic work.

“For instance, TV journalists necessarily require more resources and more funding than print or radio journalists.

“The 35 winning journalists were awarded a total of almost 60,000 Euro prize money for future productions,” Bauer said, adding that a review of the first edition of the awards would be done and consequent opportunities for journalists from other regions globally to participate would be available.

Bauer also added that creating opportunities to award publications on migration would create awareness on migration-related issues.

“The Migration Media Awards is not limited to journalistic pieces on immigration but also looking at journalistic piece sn the opportunities migration, of highly successful migrants; diaspora engagements, economic opportunities, what it is and how to make them invest in their home countries.

“Our hope is that people start to understand, migration is always two things: immigration and emigration.

“These are topics that are not really covered and we believe that they are important to make people aware that migration also comes with a lot of opportunities,” he said.

Aidan White of the Ethical Journalism Network, who was also a jury member earlier said the reporting done by the journalists “does great credit to the cause of public-interest journalism.”

“It shines a powerful light on the humanitarian and policy challenges of the recent migration crisis.

“The authors raise questions that cannot be ignored and challenge those who come up with easy answers,” White said.

The 12 first-prize winners for the four categories of video, print, online and radio in the English, French or Arabic languages were from eight different countries.

They are Sameh Ellaboody, Ahmed Shalaby and Abdelrahman Ayyash from Egypt; Marco Panzetti, the team Marco Stefanelli, Nerina Schiavo and Nadia Lucisano from Italy and Fouzi Bendjama from Algeria.

Others were Catarina Santos from Portugal; Daniel Trilling from the UK; Elisa Perrigueur, the Egypt-based team François Hume-Ferkatadji and Jenna Le Bras from France, as well as Salaheddine Lemaizi from Morocco.

A multimedia prize was presented to Migration Matters from Germany as an additional first prize.

The Migration Media Award is a new EU-funded journalism competition bringing together four partners based on the initiative of the ICMPD.

The EUROMED Migration IV and OPEN Media Hub projects, funded by the EU, developed the scheme in partnership with the European Asylum Support Office and Malta’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion.

In the meantime, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to probe the states, which defaulted in the first tranche of the N516bn Paris Club loan refund.

The TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, and the NLC General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson, confirmed this to The PUNCH on Thursday, adding that the partnership between Labour and the anti-graft agencies would equally be important in the utilisation of the second tranche of the refund.

The labour centres had alleged that some state governments failed to use part of the money they got from the loan refund to pay salaries or to offset arrears of pension deductions.

The federal and state governments had, in December 2016, agreed that states should use  50 per cent of the refund to settle salary and pension arrears when the fund was released.

But the NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, had, in an interview on June 4, said more than 26 states benefited from the first tranche of the Paris Club refund, but lamented that about 10 states were still owing workers and pensioners.

“Many of the states have been diverting the bailout meant to pay outstanding salaries and pension to other things; and this is why we are in the present situation,” he had stated.

The Federal Ministry of Finance had, on Friday, published the allocation of the first tranche of N516.38bn reimbursement to the states.

From the statement by the finance ministry, the top five states are Rivers, N34.92bn; Delta, N27.6bn; Akwa Ibom, N25.98bn; Bayelsa, N24.89bn and Kano, N21.7bn.

These five are followed by Lagos, N16.74bn; Katsina, N16.4bn; Kaduna, N15.44bn; Borno, N14.68bn; Jigawa, N14.2bn; Imo, N14.01bn; Niger, N14.42bn; Bauchi, N13.75bn; Sokoto, N12.88bn; and Osun, N12.62bn.

Others are Cross River, N12.15bn; Anambra, N12.24bn; Edo, N12.18bn; Kebbi, N11.95bn; Kogi, N11.05bn; Abia, N11.43bn; Ogun, N11.47bn; and Plateau, N11.28bn.

Similarly, Yobe got N10.82bn; Zamfara, N10.88bn; Ebonyi, N9.01bn; Ekiti, N9.54bn; Enugu, N10.7bn; Gombe, N8.95bn; Nasarawa, N9.1bn; Oyo, N13.31bn; and Kwara, N10.24bn.

Others are Adamawa, N10.25bn; Benue, N13.7bn; Ondo, N14.01bn; Taraba, N9.32bn, and the Federal Capital Territory, N1.36bn.

Additional report from Punch