Slide Amnesty International UK / Media Awards AWARD CATEGORIES

‘It’s a prison’: Stress, harassment and waiting at the hotel housing asylum seekers

Liverpool Echo

Description:

A story published in the Liverpool Echo focusing on the experience of asylum seekers being accommodated at a hotel during the coronavirus crisis and harassed by the far right, using in-person interviews with asylum seekers at the hotel and comments from a Merseyside-based asylum charity. All work was conducted by Chris McKeon. The story followed the publication on social media of a video showing members of Britain First knocking on doors at the hotel and harassing the asylum seekers being accommodated there.

Synopsis:

Although several stories have reported the practice of accommodating asylum seekers in hotels, few had actually provided first-hand accounts of what this was like. In this article, provided a platform for the people actually living there to relate their experiences, both of the stress of life in the hotel and the added impact of harassment by the far right.

In this way, I provided a new perspective on this story and enabled the asylum seekers to respond directly to claims about the conditions they were living in and the propaganda put out by the likes of Britain First.

In terms of reach, the original story had more than 25,000 page views and an average dwell time of around four minutes, showing people read the story all the way through. This is an audience that does not often see stories relating to asylum seekers, or including voices from within the asylum system.

It was also picked up by the Manchester Evening News and Cheshire Live websites, adding another 13,000 page views.

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