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BBC receives more than 8,000 complaints about Breakfast report on migrants

Simon Jones BBC

The BBC received more than 8,000 complaints about a report on its Breakfast show showing migrants crossing the English Channel by boat.

A segment on MediaCityUK-based Breakfast on August 10th saw reporter Simon Jones broadcast live from a boat that had pulled up alongside a dinghy containing migrants.

After asking whether they were safe, Jones remained with the boat until its occupants were picked up by the UK Border Force.

He said: “We have seen them trying to get water out of the boat, they’re doing that at the moment, they are using a plastic container to try to bail out the boat. Obviously it’s pretty overloaded there.

“People are wearing life jackets, it is pretty dangerous, just the number of people on board that boat.”

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8,340 complaints were made on the grounds that viewers felt the programme showed “offensive/ insensitive coverage of migrants crossing the Channel by boat”.

The BBC’s complaints report noted that invitations to complain had been posted online.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “This report was a stark illustration of the significant risks some people are prepared to take to reach the UK. Channel crossings is a topic of huge importance and we always endeavour to cover the story sensitively.

“In this instance the Dover Coastguard were aware of the boat before our crew spoke to them and at no point did they, or those in the boat signal that a rescue operation was required.

“The Coastguards instead alerted Border Force, who then safely picked up the occupants and took them to shore.”

Sky News carried a similar report, which also received heavy criticism on social media.

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