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Project information

Fair & humane media reporting on migration

The most common word associated with migrants in the British press is ‘illegal’. Studies have found a clear correlation between negative media coverage and public attitudes. We will campaign on the issue of media portrayal of migrants and promote positive change in practice.

June 2016 - June 2019

Charity information: People & Planet

People & Planet logo
  • Need


    For migrants there is a vicious cycle of damaging media portrayal, public attitudes and tough government policy. “Newspapers often present images of asylum seekers and refugees likely to raise feelings of fear and hostility among their readers.” and the most common word associated with migrants in the British press is ‘illegal’. Studies have found a clear link between media coverage and public attitudes to migrants. This misrepresentation supports a culture of regressive policy and persecution.


    We will raise awareness by campaigning on the issue of media portrayals of migrants, promoting positive changes to media practice and reducing this key driver of prejudice. We will challenge discriminatory and badly evidenced portrayals and entrenched practices in specific print press companies. We will train migrants themselves and our supporters to produce and spread positive, ethical media content.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Producing a Charter of Ethical Reporting


    » Consult with journalists, migrants and NGO's to produce a charter setting out standards and best practice in reporting. Lobby for agreement & support

    What success will look like

    Endorsement from 20 journalists and 20 media outlets

    Aim 2

    5 of Daily Express biggest advertisers to pull out until they agrees to improve damaging practices.


    » Mobilise and support members of the public to hold regular creative actions targeting key advertisers in Daily Express.

    What success will look like

    Commitments from 5 leading advertisers to remove their paid advertising from Daily Express.

    Aim 3

    Develop a media ‘fact-checker’


    » Train and operationalise an independent group checking both for factual inaccuracies, but also for instances of negative associations and bias

    What success will look like

    A working network of 150 student 'fact checkers' to highlight factual inaccuracies, hidden retractions and examples of distorted media representation pushing out regular content.

    Aim 4

    Train a diverse new group of media activists, both migrants and students, to produce media content


    » Hold annual regional and national training events that include in-depth skills training on media relations/PR and investigative journalism.

    What success will look like

    Training delivered with positive feedback from participants. Media content created with coverage in mainstream media. 200 articles published in student, local and online media.

  • Impact


    This project, as part of a broader range of actors, pushes for fair treatment of migrants by addressing one of the root causes of the problems - shifting the core media narratives.
    As a result it will be more difficult for certain sections of the media to promote divisive rhetoric and messaging.
    We would expect to see more discussion on the topic of migrant representation, as well as a reduction in negative coverage.
    Finally we would expect to see, and measure, an increase in positive messages.


    Media backlash - target media outlets could seek to discredit our campaign. We will need to ensure research and policy are sound and evidence based from respected / peer reviewed or primary sources. We will also collaborate with other agencies to bolster our research and policy asks.


    We will report back on significant campaign victories, as well as individual success stories for example placement of positive stories on migrants.
    Produce regular updates and monthly fact-check round-ups.
    Jointly host a national conference on decolonising the media

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,250 Marketing & Communications Marketing & Communications
      £1,350 Supplies & materials Supplies & materials
      £1,250 Printing & design Printing & design
      £3,150 Travel & Accomodation Travel & Accomodation
      £2,050 Fees and subscriptions Fees and subscriptions
      £950 Postage & telephone Postage & telephone
  • Background


    National - across Universities around the UK.


    UK University students and migrants will directly benefit from skills building on journalistic research, writing and media liaison.

    A selection of detainees/deportees will benefit from the above by having their personal stories highlighted in the media.

    Journalists and media will benefit from the Charter and the improved practice that results.

    The ultimate beneficiaries will improved cultural conditions for migrants living and working in the UK.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Our network is uniquely well-placed to deliver this project. We have around 60 active groups across the country with a proven track record of achieving change on campuses and in communities, engaging young people in social change activism, and always focusing on the root causes of the issues we tackle.

    The network themselves voted to make this campaign one of our three organisational priorities back in 2016. The make up of our groups will reflect the communities most affected by the debate.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Hapreet Paul

    Hapreet is Co-Director leading and overseeing the project. She has a background in corporate law and has previously worked for Amnesty and REDRESS.

    Neelam Rai

    Neelam will be Campaign Co-ordinator for Undoing Borders.

I would like the meaning of the term 'migrant' to change in the media

Bilal, Student Organiser