Leveson criticises treatment of migrants in UK press

04 Dec 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The Leveson Report, which has looked into the ethics and operations of the British press, has criticised the way in which migrants and UK immigration news stories are represented by in the papers.

The 2,000-page report assessed all areas of press journalism and recommended some serious changes to the way in which the industry is moderated. It called for the introduction of an independent regulator that has greater backing in law than the current Press Complaints Commission, which has largely been deemed a failure.

Part of the assessment, overseen by Lord Justice Leveson, focused on the way in which certain topics are covered. Lord Leveson found that “when assessed as a whole, the evidence of discriminatory, sensational or unbalanced reporting in relation to ethnic minorities, immigrants and/or asylum seekers, is concerning”.

He explained that there are enough examples of reckless reporting on these areas to conclude that this approach is a feature of journalistic practice in certain areas of the press, as opposed to an irregularity.

The report stated: “It is one thing for a newspaper to take the view that immigration should be reduced, or that the asylum and/or human rights system should be reformed, and to report on true stories which support those political views. It is another thing to misreport stories either wilfully or reckless as to their truth or accuracy, in order to ensure that they support those political views.

“And it does appear that certain parts of the press do, on occasion, prioritise the political stance of the title over the accuracy of the story.”

The report concluded that the “influence over community relations” wielded by the press means that newspapers need to ensure that what they publish about UK immigration is accurate and is “not calculated to exacerbate community divisions of increase resentment”.