BBC receives more than 8,000 complaints over report on Channel migrant crossings

The BBC has received over 8,000 complaints for their Breakfast news report on migrants crossing the Channel.

On August 10, Simon Jones made a broadcast on a boat where he followed a dingy full of Syrian asylum seekers who were making their way towards the English coast.

‘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,’ he said during a piece to camera. ‘Obviously it’s pretty overloaded there.

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

The news reporter added: ‘They are motoring through the Channel. The boat seems to be safe and the engine seems to be going. When we were out on the Channel on Friday, a boat we were watching got very close to the White Cliffs before it actually broke down.’

The report then saw the UK Boarder Force arrive and issue the occupants to safety.

However, viewers were not impressed, seeing the broadcasting giant receive 8,340 complaint for ‘offensive/insensitive coverage of migrants crossing the Channel by boat’.

‘This report was a stark illustration of the significant risks some people are prepared to take to reach the UK,’ a BBC spokeperson told

‘Channel crossings is a topic of huge importance and we always endeavour to cover the story sensitively.’

They added: ‘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.’

At the time of the broadcast, a number of viewers took to Twitter where they branded the coverage ‘sick’.

‘What purpose does this serve, other than to promote the racist narratives and confected panic surrounding asylum seekers? Poor show yet again, @BBC,’ one wrote while another added: ‘I can’t even imagine the lack of humanity you would have to have in order to just watch and film this on your nice, safe boat for your cushty BBC job. This country is absolute poison.’

Someone else felt the same, writing: ‘Putting people who might be fleeing persecution on internationally broadcast television, and filming them whilst their boat is literally sinking is the most disgraceful, disgusting low yet from the BBC.

‘There should be resignations and apologies over this footage, as a start.’

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