A proposed asylum law causes division in the UK. Football profile Gary Lineker was caught by the BBC criticizing it. Now the Minister of the Interior has traveled to Rwanda on a promotional tour.
Rwanda is among the world’s poorest countries. The British government has offered them £140 million. Mission: Accept boat refugees who actually want to go to the UK. The aim is to deter them from fleeing to the British Isles.
This weekend, Home Secretary Suella Braverman of the Conservative Party traveled to Rwanda to promote her policy. She had carefully selected media with her.
Promotion with special guests
But the backdrop could have been better. Recently, there has been a storm surrounding Braverman and the British government.
It is the same storm that made the BBC choose to take Gary Lineker off the screen.
The agreement with Rwanda was already signed last year. The fuss today is about a new, proposed law. It will deny all boat refugees who come to the UK illegally from seeking asylum.
The proposal has met with massive condemnation both from the opposition, lawyers and human rights activists. And not least Gary Lineker, who drew parallels to 1930s Nazi Germany.
Several media have also been critical. Among them The Guardian.
Now the newspaper writes that the liberal newspapers Daily Mirror, Independent and The Guardian were not invited on Braverman’s trip to Rwanda. Neither did the BBC.
Several right-wing newspapers, on the other hand, received an invitation. The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and the relatively recently started online newspaper GB News were allowed to join the minister.
It does not go down well with The Guardian.
– We are excluded from a tax-funded trip to promote a controversial (tax-funded) policy, writes Pippa Crerar on
It isn’t first time @guardian & others have been excluded fr taxpayer funded trip to promote controversial (taxpayer funded) policy— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 18, 2023
We should be there to scrutinise.
Disappointing lack of accountability @SuellaBraverman @MatthewRycroft1 @ukhomeoffice https://t.co/KtQeuWxBrS
She is political editor at The Guardian.
– Disappointing lack of accountability, she adds.
The Guardian is deeply concerned
The newspaper has issued a statement. It is about the fact that they are deeply concerned because the minister is leaving certain media outlets out. They have sent a letter to the Ministry of the Interior asking for an explanation. The Guardian believes that the discrimination damages press freedom.
Index on Censorship is an organization that works to safeguard freedom of expression. It is also critical.
– We are concerned that journalists from media considered to be critical of the government’s migration policy have not been invited, says editor Martin Bright to The Guardian.
– Should be ashamed
The Guardian is supported by several people on Twitter.
– Excluding critics is a sign of weakness. And counterproductive. Journalists on this trip only become even more determined to expose the PR scheme, writes the former BBC veteran
Spot on @martinbright here.— Danny Shaw (@DannyShawNews) March 18, 2023
Govt visits & policy briefings should be open to a range of media.
Excluding critics is a sign of weakness.
Journalists on this trip will be even more determined to blow away the PR puff. https://t.co/A98pvI8vwJ
– If the media who went on this trip knew that others were banned, they should be ashamed of themselves for joining, writes TV journalist
If the news organisations that went on this trip knew others were shut out of it then shame on them for agreeing to go.https://t.co/YFt5kMksEx— Vincent McAviney (@VinnyMcAv) March 18, 2023
A team from a local BBC office is said to have finally gained access to the press tour on the ground in Rwanda, according to The Guardian.
Suella Braverman has not publicly commented on the allegations.
Braverman is also due to meet Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Interior Minister Vincent Biruta to discuss the deal.
Over 45,000 boat refugees
Human trafficking is a major problem in the UK. In 2022, over 45,000 refugees disembarked after crossing the channel in small boats.
It is this activity that the British government wants to stifle.
The proposed law has been criticized for being in conflict with the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Denmark had a similar plan with Rwanda. But it has been put on hold by the new Danish government.
Tags: Controversial minister trip rightwing newspapers leaving critical journalists