The nation was rightfully horrified and pained when we saw the picture of the lifeless body of 3yr old Alan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach back in September 2015. The public reaction was powerful, the anger palpable and we had a fair bit of commentary from political figures all wringing their hands and expressing their sadness but what, in reality, has changed since that event?
One things for sure, you don’t see many stories like that of Alan Kurdi being reported by the right wing press or on the news channels anymore, despite the fact that the IOM (International Organization For Migration) recently estimated nearly 1,600 migrant children have been reported dead or missing since 2014.
No, they won’t tell you, for example, that eight children and 3 adults drowned off the cost of Turkey last night or that another 12 people died when another migrant boat sank near the south-western Greek island of Paxi just a few hours earlier. I guess babies drowning in the Mediterranean by their thousands just isn’t news worthy to some people or, maybe, just maybe, it makes the Tory government’s policy of rejecting child refugees look really, really bad? In fact, only a few days ago, Tory MPs voted, by a majority of 96, to reject Labour’s proposal to restore key rights for child refugees into the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB).
Of course the Tories would reject, out of hand, any suggestion that their foreign policies might have anything to do with creating the migrant crisis in the first place. Their support for the US led strategy in the Middle East couldn’t possibly make them culpable for a surge of migrant refugees, could it?
Let’s take a look at the facts, shall we? Let’s add the timeline of western interventions and withdrawals to a table showing the number of refugees who have drowned in the Mediterranean over the last 6yrs…
Choosing what to report and what not to report is just as much a part of controlling the narrative as how you frame a story and while we’ve almost come to expect this of the right wing media, you have to wonder why the BBC and Sky News channels didn’t think a story of 8 child refugees drowning off the coast of Turkey just 3 days after the Tories rejected a Labour amendment protecting the rights of child refugees wasn’t important enough to report.