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Overview

In the 1990s the issue of refugees and asylum seekers has become highly politicised in the UK. Locally, regionally and nationally some politicians have used the issue of refugees claiming asylum in the United Kingdom to gain support for their own political parties. The national media focussed their reporting on the issues in London and the South East (where most asylum seekers and refugees lived) so that for a time it was only the local media in the South East which had a vested interest in reporting on these issues. However the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act introduced the ‘dispersal process’, effectively making this a truly national issue, with local media across the UK now increasingly interested in and reporting on refugees and asylum seekers. This research examines how the Welsh local media have covered issues concerning refugees and asylum seekers, even though at the time of this report being published in March 2001, the dispersal process has still not started in Wales. The report results from the work of the ‘Asylum Seekers and Refugee Media Working Group’ which first met in April, 2000 in the Oxfam offices in Cardiff. It has met monthly since with representatives from Oxfam Cymru, British Red Cross, Save the Children Fund, Barnardo’s, Welsh Refugee Council, Presswise (Refugees and Asylum Seekers Media Project), Cardiff Council and Newport County Council’s Press Relations Unit and The Tom Hopkinson Centre for Media Research, affiliated with the Wales Media Forum, located in the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University

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