Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today launched the first London Local Press Awards. The scheme aims to recognise good practice shown by many of Londons local newspapers in their balanced and accurate coverage of refugee and asylum issues. Ken Livingstone said, "London is built on successive waves of immigration and diversity is one of the citys great strengths. For Londoners, immigration is a way of life and each new wave, including asylum seekers and refugees has enhanced London as a global city. However, negative media images of refugees and asylum seekers contribute to making them among Londons most vulnerable residents, facing insecurity, social exclusion and hostility. The media has a responsibility to present a fair and accurate picture of London and its diversity. These awards aim to recognise those local newspapers, which are acting in a more responsible way." The awards scheme follows independent research commissioned by the Mayor into media coverage of refugee and asylum issues. The Media Image, Community Impact report published last year, found evidence among the national press of unbalanced and inaccurate coverage, which was likely to cause fear and tension within communities across London. These community tensions can influence incidents of racial harassment of asylum seekers. The research also found that the local press are more likely than national press to provide a balanced picture on the issues that affect local people. Winning publications will be awarded by the Mayor at a ceremony in City Hall, on Thursday 21st July 2005.
Notes to Editors
1. The scheme is also open to London's regional, faith and Black, Asian and minority ethnic press are also welcome to enter the scheme. 2. London's Local Press awards is supported by the Metropolitan Police Authority, the National Union of Journalists, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and LBC News 1152AM. 3. Research for the "Media Image, Community Impact" report was carried out by the Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees in the UK (ICAR) based at King's College London. 4. For more information and to download the report visit www.london.gov.uk/mayor/equalities/llpa/ 5. The judging panel includes representatives from human rights organisation Liberty, the Refugee Council, London Refugee Voice, the Network of Exiled Journalists, the Metropolitan Police Authority and the National Union of Journalists. 6. Entries are being encouraged from refugee community groups and service providers, London's local, regional, faith, Black, Asian and minority press, London boroughs and voluntary sector organisations. 7. Those wishing to submit an entry can also contact the GLA via LLPA@london.gov.uk or 020 7983 4605 8. Deadline for nominations is 28th June 2005