The Federation of Poles in Great Britain has defended the BBC against remarks made by a Conservative MP who said the corporation was responsible for an increasing number of attacks on Polish immigrants.
Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski, who is of Polish descent, last week said that the BBC had paid undue attention to Polish immigration because ‘political correctness’prevented it from focusing on other ethnic groups entering the UK.
He told MPs in the House of Commons: ‘The liberal elite of the BBC constantly refer to immigration from Poland, using the Polish community as a cat’s paw to try to tackle to the thorny issue of mass unchecked immigration into our country.”
Speaking on the Radio 4 Today programme, Kawcynski added: ‘Rather than focus on all immigrants from all over the world, they go for the soft touch – the white Christians from Poland. I’m sick and tired of it.”
However, the Federation of Poles said the right-wing press in the UK bore far more responsibility for encouraging anti-Polish sentiment than did the BBC. A Federation spokesman said: ‘The liberal media, such as the BBC, are not a problem because they have a positive attitude toward immigrants.
‘It is, however, right-wing newspapers such as the Daily Mail and the Daily Express which paint a black picture of Polish immigrants.”
Earlier this year, the Federation of Poles lodged a formal complaint with the Press Complaints Commission over immigration coverage in the Daily Mail.
A PCC spokesman said it was still in the process of investigating the complaint.
In a statement, the Daily Mail said it was ‘not in any way anti-Polish. We have often and continuously drawn attention to the benefits Britain derives from the skills that immigrants bring us.”We do reserve the right to write about immigration and the abuses of the system but we have never targeted Polish immigrants.”
The BBC said in a statement: ‘Polish nationals make up one of the largest groups of recently arrived legal immigrants into the UK, and our coverage reflects this.”