BBC Withdraws Immigration Film With South Asian Characters Following Complaints

The video on immigration showed South Asian characters, such as men clad in turbans and women in saris, and said that Britain was “multicultural long before curry and carnival.”


The BBC has pulled an educational video about immigration after it received complaints over the way it portrayed the issue. The film on immigration, part of a series called Don’t Hate The Debate, showed South Asian characters such as men clad in turbans and women in saris, and said that Britain was “multicultural long before curry and carnival.”

The documentary film was aimed at spreading awareness among students aged 14 to 16 years about the issue and create more scope for informative discussions.

The BBC, which withdrew the video from circulation and also removed it from YouTube, said it would be re-edited, PTI reported. “While we believe the film did convey the broad elements of the immigration debate, we accept further efforts could have been made to involve contributors with a more diverse range of opinions, so we removed the video,” it quoted a BBC spokesperson as saying.

The film was released in May, and received complaints that it lacked objectivity, and breached impartiality rules.

The animated video depicted a group of South Asian characters, with the voice-over saying, “Think immigration is a recent thing? Think again.” It went on to say, “Because you see, you got the Celts, the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings, the Normans, the Flemish, the Irish, black Britons and Jewish people.

“Yep, we were multicultural long before curry and carnival – it’s in our DNA.”

It added: “There is no such thing as pure Briton. Despite what some flag wielders would have you believe, the average Briton is only 36 percent Anglo-Saxon.”

The claim was disputed by the think tank Migration Watch UK, which said, “The average British person’s DNA is at least 90 percent European.”

It added that the video lacked balance and consisted of a number of factual inaccuracies.

Lord Green of Deddington, founding chairman of Migration Watch, said that the discussion between young people in the video was “shallow, unbalanced and unrepresentative,” the Daily Mail reported.

Lord Green also wrote to BBC Chairman Sir David Clementi, pointing out the video’s failure in delivering an unbiased objective analysis of the immigration issue. “Net migration to the UK has been running at a quarter of a million per year over the past decade and nearly two-thirds of the public wish to see a reduction,” he said in the letter, PTI reported.

“Most people in the UK are not opposed to immigration per se, but they are concerned, we think rightly, about its present scale. Yet the overall impression of the video is that anyone who questions its current scale is unreasonable and prejudiced … the video seems designed not to inform and stimulate discussion but to promote a particular opinion,” he added, according to Daily Mail.

The BBC’s decision to withdraw the video was welcomed by Lord Green, saying, “It is refreshing that Sir David Clementi saw immediately that the material was unacceptably biased and ordered its withdrawal and revision.”

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