Refugee Council welcomes Press Complaints Commission guidance for media reporting on asylum - Refugee Council
October 23, 2003

Refugee Council welcomes Press Complaints Commission guidance for media reporting on asylum

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) today publishes a guidance note for newspaper editors on media reporting of asylum issues.

The Refugee Council, as a major advocate for refugees in the UK, has been leading the campaign to improve standards in media reporting of asylum issues, in particular to address inaccurate reporting.

The PCC’s guidance acknowledges the confusion among the media and public about the terminology used to describe those claiming asylum. It defines the terms ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘refugee’ and explains why the phrase ‘illegal asylum seeker’ is inaccurate. The guidance addresses the confusion between asylum and immigration and explains why it is not appropriate to describe asylum seekers as ‘illegal immigrants’.

Speaking on behalf of the Refugee Council, Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“We are delighted the PCC has taken such an active interest in the asylum debate and has recognised the role it can play in improving media coverage of a much misunderstood issue, by tackling inaccurate reporting.

“We hope that the national and regional press will use these guidelines as a basis for improved reporting of this vital issue.

“Freedom of the press, as a cornerstone of our society, comes with responsibilities. The PCC’s guidance is an important step forward in striking the right balance between these in the case of asylum seekers.”

The guidance published by the PCC underlines the dangers of inaccurate, misleading and distorted reporting, which can generate an atmosphere of fear and hostility not borne out by the facts.

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Further information & links

Download the guidance from the Press Complaints Commission website