No Immigrants’ Voices in the British Media

Country: UK

Published: 16 June 2014


The lack of voices of immigrants in media stories regarding immigration and its impact on the UK was revealed in new research conducted by the organization “Migrant Voice”.

Only 12% out of those quoted were migrants, in a total of 577 stories talking about immigration from eight different media outlets. The research team analysed the media during a period of 11 weeks. The BBC quoted the highest number of migrants in a seven day period in which 11 migrants were quoted in 13 stories.

On the contrary, ITV went nine straight weeks without quoting a migrant, producing 43 related stories while the Guardian was the only online media outlet which never went a week without quoting a migrant. In the whole research period, TIME had the lowest percentage of migrants quoted, with only 6% of the quotes in stories concerning migration coming from migrants. The Daily Mail and Evening Standard followed with 8% and 10% respectively. One should have in mind though that these numbers represent the average percentage, meaning that in one story there might be three immigrants quoted and in another none.

A fact worth noticing is that while immigrants, the actual protagonists of the stories related to immigration, have been silenced, most of the quotes come predominantly from politicians and academic experts. Commenting on the results, the research team said it was evident that the articles that included immigrants’ opinions seemed more credible and provided their readers with a deeper analysis. “For example, in stories about migrants taking British jobs or benefits, it would have been interesting to address these claims from an individual migrant’s perspective. It would be refreshing to read weekly migrants stories from a migrant’s point of view” they suggested.


Among the most prominent stories that media reported during the research period (January – April 2014) related to migration were reports about Syrian refugees, David Cameron’s nanny, the cost of migrants to the UK economy, Romanian and Bulgarian migrants and Yashika Bageerathi’s deportation, featuring both positive and negative aspects.

Read the whole report here.


Data was collected from The BBC, ITV, SKY News, The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Sun, and The Evening Standard. The study was conducted on a weekly basis. For each week, articles from the previous seven days were searched and read using keywords such as migrant, migration, immigration, refugee and asylum seeker. This research took place consistently over an 11 week span from 16 January 2014 to 2 April 2014.