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Asylum: BBC Programmes Should Contribute to Informed Debate

Billed as 'Asylum Day' by the BBC, Wednesday 23 July's programmes represent a significant allotment of broadcasting on asylum issues.

Amnesty International UK Refugee Affairs Programme Director Jan Shaw said:

'It is important that the BBC should tackle the vital topic of safeguarding refugee rights and we hope that the programmes will contribute to and foster informed debate.

'On asylum, responsible reporting is acutely necessary given that many asylum-seekers have suffered torture and other horrors.

'Asylum is literally a matter of life and death for some people, and all broadcasters should be extremely wary of trivialising this matter by turning it into 'entertainment.''

Last month Amnesty International UK and other refugee and human rights organisations commissioned a MORI public opinion poll showing that many young people in Britain are ill-informed on asylum and that most have a negative perception of asylum-seekers.

Last year a similar poll showed that there was wide public misunderstanding over refugee numbers in the UK and a distinct impression that the UK media more often present refugee issues negatively than positively.

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