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London press honoured for balanced reporting on asylum issues

The Barking and Dagenham Recorder has been honoured for its balanced reporting of asylum issues, with a double award win.

The paper won the top prize in two categories at the ‘Reporting Asylum – The London Press Awards’, organised by London mayor Ken Livingstone in association with the National Union of Journalists.

The event, in its 2nd year, recognises excellence in London newspapers for their fair and balanced coverage of refugee and asylum seeker issues, and the Barking and Dagenham Recorder won the ‘Comment’ category for an investigation which refuted claims that Barking and Dagenham was being ‘flooded’ by asylum seekers.

The paper also won the ‘Visual Material’ category for photos used to illustrate celebrations in a refugee centre during International Refugee week.

The ‘News Report’ category was won by The London Informer, for its exclusive interview with an asylum seeker who went on hunger strike to bring attention to the plight of his fellow detainees.

Kasmo, the newspaper for the Somali community in London, won the category for Faith and Black, Asian and minority ethnic papers for an editorial about the attempted London bombings on July 21, 2005.

Ken Livingstone said: “I am pleased to see that many of London’s local press are demonstrating the media’s responsibility to present a fair and accurate picture of London and its communities.

“I hope that these papers inspire others to act in a responsible way, to ensure London’s refugees and asylum seekers do not face hostility or discrimination.

“In light of the raw racism we’ve seen on the streets of Barking and Dagenham since the local elections, it is encouraging to see that the Recorder has sought to tell the truth and expose racist myths.”

The winners were announced by the Mayor of London and Shami Chakrabharti, director of the Human Rights organisation Liberty, at a ceremony at City Hall.