Media coverage of refugee and asylum issues would improve if exiled journalists were employed in mainstream media, says a report backed by media ethics charity PressWise.
The idea is one of 29 recommendations in the independent report The challenge of reporting refugees and asylum seekers, produced by the Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees in the UK. The organisation argues that journalists must help break down barriers between the media and refugee groups if inaccurate and hostile coverage is to change.
Local journalists are closer to the public than their national colleagues and could play a key role, suggests the 32-page report by Nissa Finney. It analyses the results of a series of countrywide meetings between refugees and the local media organised by the PressWise Refugees, Asylum-seekers and the Media project with the NUJ, the Refugee Council, Refugee Action and the Refugee Media Group in Wales.
PressWise director Mike Jempson said: “The PCC, the Home Office, media, refugee support groups and refugee organisations confirm the view that coverage would be more balanced if the media employed some of the exiled journalists forced to seek asylum after being persecuted back home.”