28 February 2013

BBC criticised over UK immigration debate

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Founders of Migration Matters, a bipartisan organisation lobbying for an 'open and honest debate' on UK immigration, has written to the BBC to complain about its portrayal of Migration Watch UK.

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Migration Matters claim Migration Watch UK is treated as an impartial commentator in UK immigration debates by the BBC.

Migration Watch UK is an independent organisation chaired by Sir Andrew Green, they have consistently commented on high rates of UK immigration and called for drastic measures to reduce rates.

While Migration Matters say Migration Watch UK is entitled to voice its objectives, the organisation claims the BBC allow them to state their case without criticism or debate.

"Migration Watch UK are not an independent think tank, or academic body, but a lobbying and campaigning organisation that is currently engaged in a campaign entitled 'Not to 70 Million'," reads a letter from Migration Matters to acting director of BBC News, Fran Unsworth.

"Its policy objective, described in the organisation's own words in a nutshell is 'to control the number of non-EU migrants who are given the right to settle permanently in the United Kingdom."

The letter, obtained by the Guardian newspaper, claims the BBC has treated Migration Watch as 'neutral analysts of UK migration patterns' whose arguments go unchallenged by the broadcasters.

Atu Hatwal, director of Migration Matters, said: "Migration Watch are not a think tank, but a campaign group with a very clearly defined agenda.

"No one has any problem with the BBC giving a platform to their views, but they need to be treated in the same way as any other political lobbying group.

"An organisation that campaigns under the slogan 'No to 70 Million' and claims 'immigration will bite everywhere' clearly has a partial, rather than neutral, view of migration and its impacts."

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