IFAP Keynote at Migration and the Media Conference in Istanbul

The Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey, organized on 26 March 2018, in cooperation with the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO and its Communication Committee, a conference on “Migration and the Media”.

The conference, attended by some 40 participants, was opened by the Chair of the Communication Committee of the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO, Prof. Dr Bayrakdar, the Dean of the Faculty of Communication of Kadir Has University, Prof. Dr Kahraman and the Vice-President of the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO, Ambassador Deniz Çakar.

The conference topic covered the issue of migration from countries in danger and its representation in the traditional and social media. Core issues behind the migration of people from endangered regions and the theme of extreme violence and its prevention via media awareness and education were discussed.

Prof. Dr Deniz Bayrakdar stated that the “Migration and the Social Media Project” aims to make a statement on the situation of the migrants’ social media usages. The hypothesis that the social media users are moreover the younger generation reveals another hypothesis that the social media skills are transferred to the middle-aged and elder generations due to the necessities of migration, as a survival tool on the way to other spaces.”

Ambassador Çakar underlined: “Media has a very important role to play vis-a-vis migrants. Media organizations can cover these success stories with a view to changing the negative perception about migrants. They can launch awareness campaigns with strong messages for the understanding of the essence of the situation of refugees by citizens and the change of negative sentiment towards refugees.”

Ms Chafica Haddad, Chair of the Information For All Programme (IFAP), stated in her keynote: “As violent extremist groups are ever more effective in using Internet and social media to promote hatred and violence, UNESCO and IFAP’s work to counter online radicalisation leading to violence is having an increasing significance for the Member States. UNESCO is equipping young people with the necessary knowledge and information literacy skills to expand their social choices, to build new forms of global citizenship, and to become more resilient to manipulation when using Internet and social media. Concrete initiatives foster youth empowerment through ICTs, as well as critical thinking, tolerance and respect for universal values… IFAP is determined to stand-up against youth radicalisation in an active, holistic and efficient manner.”

Representatives of the Ministry of Interior, the Office of the Prime Minister, and different Universities and the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO contributed to clarify the picture of migrants in the media in Turkey touching social mobility, nationalism, discrimination and prevention of violent extremism through education.

Mr Korucu of the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO recalled that “UNESCO, with reference to its founding purpose of building peace in the minds of men and women, focuses decisively on the popular and current issue of migration, especially through the Management of the Social Transformations (MOST) Programme. Nonetheless, under the Communication and Information (CI) sector, UNESCO provides target-driven programmes such as Information for All Programme (IFAP) and International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) in which the migration interacts with media, particularly social media, that enables a more inclusive research area for the link in between aforementioned two phenomena.”

The Information for All Programme (IFAP) was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international cooperation in the area of access to information and knowledge for the participation of all in the knowledge societies. IFAP is a unique UNESCO intergovernmental programme that focuses on ensuring that all people have access to information they can use to improve their lives.