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News site fact-checks readers over refugee comments

Hedi MehrezA regional news website has fact-checked its own readers over their comments about refugees.

Kent Live ran a piece addressing comments made online after reporter Hedi Mehrez wrote a story regarding Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

Hedi, pictured, argued in the story that all refugees should be “treated with consideration and respect regardless of the colour of their skin, or their religions”.

He then ran a follow-up in a bid to “separate fact from fiction” after readers commented on the piece online.

Hedi addressed comments that included claims the UK “have taken in more than their fair share of immigrants” and that refugees from other parts of the world are “men of fighting age”.

In response, he cited the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees research that states women and girls make up around 50pc refugees across the world.

Hedi also referred to UN Refugee Agency figures that compared the UK’s refugee intake unfavourably with that of Germany.

A number of commenters also made the case that Ukrainians, as opposed to other asylum seekers, are “genuine refugees fleeing war”.

Hedi wrote: “The word ‘genuine’ came up quite a lot in comments, not only on the Kent Live Facebook page, but on various social media.

“At risk of repeating myself, a refugee is a refugee no matter where they come from. These kinds of comments can cause harm to people.”

Reach regional editor Luke Jacobs told HTFP: “When it comes to refugees and human lives some things are just above debate and we see our role in this instance as highlighting only the facts for the benefit of our readers.

“It’s always our aim at Kent Live to be inclusive in our content and this was great work from Hedi in taking to task some of the myths and misconceptions in what is an extremely difficult¬†subject.”