WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 20 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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National media editors unite in protest with a joint letter to Home Office PR Team

National media editors unite in protest with a joint letter to Home Office PR Team

Justice in a time of austerity: a Justice Gap series

The Home Office have been accused of using the publication of the 361-page Sarah Everard report on Thursday last week as an excuse to ‘bury bad news’ on immigration.

A joint letter, shared with the Press Gazette, was signed by journalists from publications including the Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Times, Express and PA Media and stated that the ‘Home Office activities are an ‘insult to her grieving family’.

It is alleged that in the afternoon following the publication of the Angiolini report, the government released numerous documents and up to 13 reports all of which reflect poorly on how the government is handling immigration and asylum. These reports included news of a £6bn overspend by the Home Office on dealing with immigration and asylum, including £5.4bn on hotels and migrant support.

The letter alleges that this incident is part of a recurring pattern of behaviour stretching back over a year within the Home Office. It claims that matters have worsened since a meeting with the Home Office PR chief in March 2023 where similar concerns had been raised.

The journalists claim that their anxieties stem from continual late document releases that impede on their ability to thoroughly analyse information before their deadlines and thus limit the accountability and transparency which they can apply to the Home Office.

It is claimed these ongoings reflect an infamous memo from September 2001 – ‘a good day to bury bad news’. The letter states: ‘In 2001 Jo Moore, a special adviser to the then secretary of state for transport, suggested the September 11 terrorist attacks offered a ‘very good day to get out anything we want to bury’.

‘It seems clear to us that the press office attempted to hide damaging disclosures about the department behind what you believed would be a smokescreen provided by the Angiolini Inquiry into Miss Everard’s murder.’

Whilst it is widely acknowledged that this situation needs improvement, since a meeting to discuss ‘persistent and deep-seated problems with the Home Office comms’, issues have gotten worse.

 The letter further states: ‘Press notices, other documents and statements are still issued late in the evening, or not at all. Some press officers remain reluctant to take ownership of media inquiries or to see the process through to a satisfactory conclusion. We request a meeting to discuss what could potentially be done to improve matters. But we are not optimistic about the prospects for change. In our view, the Home Office press office is not fit for purpose’.