The following media release was published Monday morning by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ):
Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) President Hugo Balta condemns the assaults against migrants currently seeking asylum at the border. It is imperative for all newsrooms to dedicate the appropriate resources and journalists in covering the current humanitarian crisis.
Earlier today, the United States Border Patrol unleashed tear gas on the caravan of refugees. Newsrooms should be conscious that accurate context while reporting helps to frame a story appropriately and gives specific definition to language used during coverage. It is a fact that seeking asylum is both a human and legal right.
When coverage is poorly executed it can quickly contribute to the growing trend of profiling Latinos as scapegoats for a variety of society’s ills. Consequently, hate speech leads to discrimination and threats against the Latino community. As journalists, from concept to execution, the impact is large enough where just as a report has the ability to quickly inform, it also has the ability to cause great damage to communities. NAHJ implores media to challenge false narratives and claims, instead of relaying propaganda and calculated strategy by politicians.
Once again, NAHJ questions the choice of words by the Associated Press Sunday in an attempt to describe the migrants as they “march toward US border in show of force.”
AP reporter: U.S. agents fire tear gas after some migrants attempt to breach fence along U.S.-Mexico border at Tijuana. https://t.co/SVuaCSYbnS
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 25, 2018
In this case, it is not accurate to use language that imply war and invasion to describe a courageous group fleeing environments of terror and violence. On the contrary, NAHJ member Adolfo Flores uses the same word (march) here, but does not pair it with “loaded” context to achieve unbiased and fair reporting.
People are starting to march toward the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana. pic.twitter.com/UqcDBprfQI
— Adolfo Flores (@aflores) November 25, 2018
This story comes with great responsibility. NAHJ expects the appropriate resources and journalists be dedicated to creating quality in storytelling, providing a moral force. NAHJ believes that responsible, fair, and non-simplistic coverage of this complex issue is in order. The words used can be part of the problem or can contribute to fair and accurate coverage and a fruitful public debate.
About NAHJ The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is the largest organization of Latino journalists in the United States and dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. The mission of NAHJ is to increase the number of Latinos in the newsrooms and to work toward fair and accurate representation of Latinos in news media. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. NAHJ has approximately 2,300 members, including working journalists, journalism students, other media-related professionals and journalism educators. For more information please visit NAHJ.org or follow on Twitter @NAHJ.