'Govt must improve media relations on asylum'

The Home Office needs to improve its dialogue with media in order to tackle hostile reporting on immigration and asylum, new research suggests.

The report - by the independent research group Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees (ICAR) - says the Government should deliver more frequent media briefings to ensure policy is understood.

It also states that the Home Office press function should be ‘appropriately staffed and resourced' to provide reliable facts and figures on refugee and asylum issues.

‘The Home Office needs to better engage the media where hostility may be aroused by insensitive reporting,' said report author Dr Roger Grimshaw.

But the Home Office told PRWeek that some of the recommendations have already been implemented. It said in a written statement:  ‘Reforms are ensuring that we engage to a much greater extent not only with media, but with the public, staff and stakeholders, too.'

Grimshaw said the Home Office commissioned the research after becoming concerned about the negativity of reporting on immigration issues.

The study, published this week,  monitored 50 news­papers over ten weeks back in  2005.

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