31 January 2014

Asylum Aid published earlier this month a report on media coverage of asylum and refugee issues in the UK, entitled “Diving lines – Asylum, media and some reasons for (cautious) optimism”. The report looks back at ten years of media coverage and concludes that today the media has changed in subtle but important ways.

The report finds that today, there are fewer anti-asylum stories in the media than there were ten years ago in the British media, and that articles about asylum in the mainstream media have nearly halved in number between 2006 and 2012. The report argues that public support for refugees and asylum seekers has increased and that the media environment has changed in a way which allows for opportunities to promote a more positive and progressive discussion of refugees and asylum rights.

The report states that advocates for asylum justice need to work closer with journalists and editors. “All journalists benefit from tips on great stories [on asylum]: tales of personal achievements in the face of adversity, or stunning political incompetence, or petty bureaucracy ruining lives”, argues Russel Hargrave, author of the report.

Asylum Aid proposes that asylum campaigners facilitate the creation of a network of asylum seekers and refugees who are willing to speak about their experiences to the media. This group could be a resource for any campaigner or organisation being contacted by a journalist who wants to write about a refugee’s or asylum seeker’s experience.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 31 January 2014
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