Refugee Council submission to the Leveson Enquiry - Refugee Council
February 1, 2012

Refugee Council submission to the Leveson Enquiry

The Refugee Council was cited in the Leveson report as a result of the inquiry of the same name. The following is a reproduction of the text in which we are mentioned:

3.16 In written evidence submitted to the Inquiry, both the Refugee Council and Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum suggest that some parts of the press seek deliberately (or, at least, recklessly) to conflate statistics for asylum and immigration to imply a growing “wave” of asylum seekers coming to the UK, despite evidence that the number of asylum seekers has fallen significantly since 2002.81 82

This view is also shared by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, which contends that the motive may be a political one. The Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum draws attention to a report by the Cardiff University School of Journalism, ‘What’s The Story’ (2003), which noted that asylum debates tended to focus heavily on statistics and figures which were un-sourced.

3.17 In his book, Democracy under Attack, Malcolm Dean of Sheffield University, suggested that certain strands of press reporting on asylum and immigration (and often the strand which may have been only loosely based in fact) have played a role in influencing Government policy on these issues.

3.18 The submissions received in this area went a little further than simply criticising inaccuracies in reporting; they also claimed that there was a tendency in parts of the press to discriminate against certain minorities and to inflame tensions or exacerbate difference.

The Refugee Council suggested that some titles were less active than others in engaging with organisations who work with the relevant communities when seeking comments for articles on asylum and immigration: consequently, negative content is less likely to be balanced with positive stories.87 ENGAGE drew attention to a report by the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies which concluded that, between 2000 – 2008, references in the press to radical Muslims outnumbered references to moderate Muslims by 17 to one.”

You can read more about the report here: The Report into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press