A central thrust within the Biblical narrative is the call to welcome or love the stranger. The city in 2009 is a fluid and changing place which relies on flows of migration. In the face of the current recession the targetting of the 'stranger' may well increase as if often does during periods of unemployment. This is the moment to keep an eye on the papers....How do they report stories about unemployment, crime, housing, education, health.....Are they scapegoating asylum seekers? What can we do?
- Does your blood boil when you see papers blaming all the ills of the world on asylum seekers?
- Do you worry about relationships in your community when soem newspaper articles seem to stir up 'racial' or religious hatred?
- Do you want to find a way to respond and to answer the Biblical call to 'love the stranger'?
Did you answer 'Yes' to any of these questions? If you did then read on....The guidelines below were developed as part of the YEAST IN THE CITY Community Ministry project...Use them to respond to stories in the media that demonise asylum seekers or stir up racism....
- Home in on just 1 newspaper/broadcaster
- Focus on headlines, pictures and opinion pieces
- Keep a kind of scrap book of articles featuring asylums seekers
THINGS TO LOOK FGOR...
- The accuracy of facts
- Whether mention of the phrase 'asylum seeker' is relevant to the story
- Evidence of incitement to racial religious hatred [a crime]
- Confusion of themes [i.e asylum with legal immigation]
- The placement of stories and the ways in which pictures are used]
- Any pattern of clear bias within a particular newspaper/broadcaster
- Be constructive
- Stick to the use of language/pictures in the story
- Be specific
- When contacting a newspaper ask for the news editor or features editor
- When phoning to complain have a clear idea of what you want to say
- Write a letter to be published in the letters section of the newspaper
- Where facts are incorrect ask for a retraction/correction/apology
- Encourage newpsapers to print 'good news' stories...be ready to supply these.
- Write/email your M.P/Local councillor.
These guidelines might help to focus anger, faith and action. Have a go and post any reponses you get on the Blog.....