Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Shami Chakrabharti, Director of Liberty, announced the winners of the ‘Reporting Asylum – The London Press Awards’ at a ceremony at City Hall. The awards, now in their 2nd year, recognise excellence in London’s local, regional, faith and black and minority ethnic newspapers for their fair and balanced coverage of refugee and asylum seeker issues.
The Mayor spoke of the major contribution to London’s prosperity throughout the centuries created by refugees, and how we face a future of accepting refugees from climate change; the issues for refugees were not likely to become less important, hence the need to continue promoting positive media coverage.
Bob Deffee, Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager for the Refugee Council, who was on the panel of judges said ”It’s nice to be focusing on how the media can do the right thing and present positive awareness of refugees, when we spend so much time battling myths propagated by factions in the national press through our “Don’t Believe the Type” campaign. The Mayor rightly made the point that regional media frequently is much better at showing a balanced and fair picture – and the real stories of individual asylum seekers shine through with honesty.”
- The newspaper for the Somali community in London – Kasmo – won the category for Faith and BAME newspapers for an editorial about the attempted London bombings on 21 July 2005.
- The Barking and Dagenham Recorder won the ‘Visual Material’ category for photos used to illustrate celebrations in a refugee centre during Refugee Week.
- The Barking and Dagenham Recorder also won the ‘Comment’ category for an investigation which refuted claims that Barking and Dagenham was being ‘flooded’ by asylum seekers.
- The London Informer won the ‘News Report’ category for exclusive interviews with an asylum seeker about the situation shared with fellow detainees: ‘Lost in the System’.