LONDON: UK Home Secretary Priti Patel pledged to ask the BBC and other media channels to abandon the use of the term “migrants,” claiming that the word is “dehumanizing.”
Patel made the pledge after being challenged by the Scottish National Party MP Brendan O’Hara on the BBC’s use of ‘migrants’ to describe the 27 men, women and children who died while crossing the English Channel earlier this week.
On Wednesday, 27 people headed for the UK drowned in the English Channel near Calais after their boat sunk. Those who drowned included 17 men, seven women — one of whom was pregnant — and three children.
Following the incident, O’Hara had told the House of Commons: “Last night, I tuned in to the BBC News to get the latest on this terrible disaster and I was absolutely appalled when a presenter informed me that around 30 migrants had drowned.
“Migrants don’t drown. People drown. Men, women and children drown,” he added, urging Patel to take action and ask the BBC and other news outlets to “reflect on their use of such dehumanizing language and afford these poor people the respect that they deserve.”
Patel responded positively to O’Hara’s request, and said: “Even during the Afghan operations and evacuation I heard a lot of language that quite frankly seemed to be inappropriate around people who were fleeing.
“So yes, I will,” she pledged.
Patel had previously blamed France for the deaths of the 27 people, saying that it was up to the French to take action to prevent further tragedies.
She claimed that while there was no rapid solution to the issue of people seeking to cross the English Channel, she had reiterated an offer to send more police to France.