Yasir Mirza, head of Diversity for The Guardian News and Media, presented the Guardian's three inter-connected programmes to diversify voices in the media: the minority writers workshop, the minority media conference and the diversity ambassadors programme. Mirza encouraged London migrant communities to contribute their voices and stories to the Guardian and offered practical tips and support. Mirza's ambitions is of a society of such diverse voices that we can start to hear 'a voice' and not just a 'migrant voice, English voice, gay voice, etc'.
Ming Gao from the ‘Ground Land’ organisation in Southern China (Xiamen), shared her organisation's experience in empowering migrants to produce their own communication materials and raise their voices publicly. Unlike the Uk, it is still very difficult in China to access the mainstream media. Ground Land works with internal Chinese migrants from rural areas who have different entitlements from residents of their urban host community, due to the 'Household registration system'. This system links welfare rights to the area of birth.
The meeting discussed the development of the network, its strategies and future activities
to engage migrants with the media and the host community in order to positively influence the debate on migration.
Anne Stoltenberg from Migrant Voice updated participants on the activities of the Birmingham network and MV Spring conference that took place April 15-16 at Amnesty International. She called on migrants to build alliances and solidarity for taking this work forward. Journalist Charles Atangana highlighed the activites taking place in Glasgow.
Nazek Ramadan from Migrant Voice invited members to contribute to the next issue of Migrant Voice newspaper which will be launched in December to mark the International Migrants Day. Nazek stressed the importance of broadening the conversation with the host community.
The London network is part of the UK Migrant Voices for Change Project. The network is an opportunity to engage in an ongoing discussion to develop migrant led short and long term media and communication strategies. This project also engages in work leading up to the next general election, to positively influence the debate on migration.