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Home Secretary Faces Questions Over Media Censorship Upon State Visit To Rwanda

UNITED KINGDOM: Home Secretary Suella Braverman arrived in Rwanda today to oversee facilities that are to house illegal British immigrants. Her arrival follows a series of trips to the country ahead of a potential British-Rwandan ‘migration and economic development partnership’, a deal formed as part of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s illegal immigration crackdown. Controversy arose, however, when it was revealed that the Home Office had preselected rightwing press to accompany Mrs. Braverman on the state funded trip.


Eleven months after former Home Secretary Priti Patel’s announcement of the highly controversial initiative, Mrs. Braverman was finally pictured outside the half-finished detention centre. After touring the inside of the facilities, Mrs. Braverman commented that she ‘really liked the interior designer,’ reaffirming the British government’s desire to honour the agreement. 


Conservative critics the ‘Guardian, BBC, Mirror, Independent, and I Newspaper’, were all notably absent from the trip. Claims of media censorship were made when it was revealed that the Home Office had purposely excluded these outlets. The decision echoes that of Mrs. Patel a year earlier as she excluded the same outlets during her Rwandan visit. Editor of the Mirror, Alison Phillips, warned that such exclusions could have ‘really damaging’ consequences for free speech.


Earlier in March, the Home Office was accused of similar free speech infringements when comments by Match of the Day presenter, Gary Lineker compared the rhetoric of Mrs. Braverman with that of 1930s Germany. After a Conservative requested investigation by the BBC into Mr. Lineker’s comments, the BBC’s own impartiality was questioned when it was revealed BBC chairman Richard Sharp was a Conservative donor. The outpouring of support for Mr. Lineker and scrutiny of BBC’s impartiality emboldened leftwing media’s scrutiny of the already hugely unpopular illegal migration bill. The excluded outlets have suggested that their exclusion was resultant of this negative press.


The illegal migration bill has also proven divisive amongst Tory MPs, senior Tories seeking to strengthen the reach of the bill to prevent any illegal immigrants from requesting Asylum in the UK. Former Prime Minister, Theersea May was amongst Tory MPs who have raised concerns over the bill’s effect on victims of human trafficking. A Refugee Council report suggested that an estimated ‘45,000 children’ could be barred from the UK and instead flown to Rwanda.


Mrs. Braverman has resisted Conservative efforts to amend the bill, going on to say that she was ‘delighted’ with the state of affairs in Rwanda. However, when questioned in England, Mrs. Braverman could not give a definitive answer on the legality of the bill. As the UK is still a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, it remains unclear whether the bill will clear parliament. Whilst the future of the bill remains uncertain, the Home Secretary's stance on illegal immigration remains stalwart and tackling illegal immigration her top priority. 


Edited by: Alanna Fullerton


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Tags: #UK #Rwanda #Independent #SuellaBraverman #PritiPatel #Conservatives #GaryLineker #Observer #Guardian #HomeOffice #IllegalImmigration #DailyMirror


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