There is a real myth surrounding the public’s warped perception on asylum seekers arriving by boat, and CPD’s Director John Menadue holds Australia’s media highly responsible. With asylum seekers arriving by boat being caught up in a media frenzy based on little fact, certain realities are imperative for public knowledge:
- 76% of asylum seekers in the past decade came by air.
- There are 50,000 real illegals in the country who have overstayed their visas. They are headed by citizens from the US, China and Britain. They are rarely mentioned in the media.
- More boat people arrived in Italy in one weekend in August than in six months in Australia.
- Relying on the media, the public believes, according to Essential Research, that 25% or more of our migrant intake are asylum seekers. The correct figure is nearer 2%.
“The Finkelstein media inquiry should have examined the role of the media in the so-called debate on asylum seekers and refugees. With some exceptions, we have not been well served.”
After the Federal Government finally decided to start processing asylum seekers arriving by boat and air in the same category, hopefully government policy and media attention will begin to focus on the 44 million vulnerable “people of concern” to the UNHCR.
This article was first publish by Crikey here.