The BBC Board has commissioned a “thematic” review of the Corporation’s migration output, “as part of its responsibility for setting and monitoring editorial standards across the BBC.”

The review will assess BBC coverage of major migration topics affecting the UK.

Expert on migration data Madeleine Sumption, Director of the Migration Observatory based at Oxford University, and broadcasting executive Samir Shah, chief executive of indie Juniper, the maker of ‘What British Muslims Really Think’ and ‘Immigration: A Time Bomb’, will jointly chair and author the review.

The review will assess coverage of topics such as “small boats” crossing the English Channel; the admission of refugees fleeing Ukraine following the Russian invasion; the impact of migration on communities in the UK including the devolved nations and the English regions; the UK Government’s policy on sending some asylum seekers to Rwanda; and coverage of public announcements about migration.

It will consider whether due impartiality is being delivered across BBC content and that a breadth of voices and viewpoints are being reflected.

BBC Chairman Richard Sharp, says: “Madeleine Sumption and Samir Shah are well-known for their expert understanding of the issues involved in delivering impartial coverage of migration, which is an important and often intensely contested subject.

“Their combination of evidence-based academic research and working knowledge of impartiality in broadcasting make them highly qualified to lead the thematic review into BBC  migration output.

“Their findings will ensure the BBC continues to have the correct approach to producing coverage that audiences can trust.”

Terms of Reference for the review, published today, confirm the review will consider all UK public service radio, television, and online content, as well as related social media use.

It will specifically assess News and Factual content, but will not be limited to News & Current Affairs.

Alongside relevant BBC content, Madeleine Sumption and Samir Shah will also review audience research; the opinions of experts, informed commentators and major stakeholders; relevant complaints; and seek input from BBC staff.

The BBC Board will publish the review’s findings and any recommendations that it makes.

Work will begin in the coming days.

Jon Creamer

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