Ken Livingstone has launched the third annual ‘Reporting Asylum: The London Press Awards’ scheme designed to recognise good practice shown by many of London’s local, regional, faith and black and minority ethnic newspapers for their fair and balanced coverage of refugee and asylum seeker issues.
The scheme follows two independent reports, commissioned by the Mayor, to gain a better understanding of the nature of reporting in London’s newspapers on issues concerning asylum and refugees.
The reports, which also looked at the potential influence news reporting may have on readers living in London’s communities, found that the sample of London’s press, covering local, regional, faith and black and minority ethnic papers, presented stories on asylum seekers in a balanced, accurate, wide-ranging way, which is likely to promote an informed debate about the people and issues involved.
Mayor Livingstone said the capital “is one of the most diverse cities in the world, whose history is integrally linked to the skills and energies of newcomers from abroad.”
“Each successive generation of newcomers to London has brought new skills, experiences, cultures and ideas to the city, making us a dynamic and forward thinking city, but the often negative media coverage of refugees and asylum seekers can lead to them being marginalized and experiencing hostility in their local communities. It is essential that the reality of the positive contribution of migrants to London is reflected in our media. These awards aim to recognise those local newspapers, which are acting in a more responsible way.”
The Mayor was backed by Ms Bemma Donkoh, UNHCR Representative to the UK who described London as “an example of good practice in the integration of asylum seekers and refugees.”
“UNHCR has supported the awards since their conception and is pleased to see them enter their third year with a broader remit to capture the good work of Londoners to welcome those in need of international protection”
Awards will be made to the winning publications by the Mayor and Shami Chakrabarti- of the human rights organisation Liberty- at a ceremony in City Hall, on Wednesday 5 December 2007.
For more information on Reporting Asylum – the London Press Awards visit: