Friday, October 31 2014

Daily Star continues inflammatory reporting on 'Asian sex gangs'



 The Daily Star ignominiously repeats the dubious presentation of crime data on Asian gangs convicted of child rape and prostitution in two articles in the last few days. On Friday the paper ran a story “No schoolgirl is safe from these Asian sex gangs,” together with an editorial proclaiming “Race fear no excuse”. And today, the article “'Evil’ Britain blamed for sex gangs,” which reiterates with the same closing sentence:

Out of 56 convictions, 53 were Asian and three were white.”  

We’ve already covered the misrepresentation of the crime data which appeared in the original Times story and subsequently in the Daily Mail and Daily Express’ coverage of the same on January 7th. The misrepresentation of the research by UCL’s Jill Dando Institute, which informed the initial interest and the consequent racialisation of the news stories, also merited a response by the researchers of the study who decried attempts to use their findings “to characterise an entire crime type, in particular of race and gender.”

As Libby Brooks pointed out in The Guardian, “…no official data exists on the ethnic or religious background of perpetrators of this form of child abuse, and local charities have stated publicly that they do not consider it a race issue. But it is worth noting that, when asked by the Times to collate its recent work according to ethnicity, Engage – based in Blackburn and one of the largest multi-agency organisations working on this issue – found that in the past year 80% of offenders were white.”

Yet, despite the time lapsed since The Times ran its story and the Daily Mail and Daily Express followed suit, and the responses from the study’s researchers, from agencies working in child protection and others, rejecting the inference that the problem was exclusively one of “Asian gangs,” the Daily Star sees fit to rehash the story and repeat the racist stereotypes. And to add insult to injury, uses Anjem Choudary to reinforce the notion of a “culture of silence” around the problem.

Libby Brooks commenting on the original Times article that popularized the stereotypes asked, “…how responsible it is to provide ammunition to the violent racist extremists already active in these areas on such flawed evidence.”

We might ask the Daily Star the same thing. Of course, there’s no point in holding your breath for a sensible answer if the DS track record is anything to go by.
 









Last Updated on Monday, 17 January 2011 18:45

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