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Complainant Name:
Federation of Poles in Great Britain

Clauses Noted: 1, 4, 12

Publication: Daily Mail

Complaint:

Mr Wiktor Moszczynski, Research Officer of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, complained that a series of articles in regard to Poles and Eastern European immigration, dating back to 2006, were inaccurate, misleading and discriminatory. The complainant also raised concerns that the coverage as a whole constituted harassment.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper which was sorry that its coverage had upset the Federation and wished to emphasise that it was in no way anti-Polish amended online versions of some of the articles and removed others. It also published the following letter from the complainant, in addition to publishing a longer version of it as an article online:

"The Federation of Poles in Great Britain is concerned about newspaper coverage emphasising negative aspects of the Polish presence in the UK . The worst examples have linked Poles with the expressions 'feckless', 'chancers', 'swamping the NHS', 'fears for schools', 'British pushed to the back of the jobs queue', 'killers', 'drug smugglers', 'rapists', etc. This has made Poles living in the UK feel persecuted.

There has been a sizeable Polish community in this country since World War II when Polish forces fought alongside British servicemen against the Nazi threat. Since then, an estimated million Polish citizens have arrived in the UK after EU expansion in 2004, mostly to work. They have made a significant contribution to both the Polish and British economies.

According to the National Bank of Poland , Polish workers in the UK send about 4 billion a year to their families at home. Meanwhile, the Polish workforce contributes about 1.9 billion a year to the British exchequer in income tax and national insurance, not including council tax, and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research says the Polish workforce has contributed 12 billion to the British economy.

We've all heard about cheap Polish plumbers and seen smiling Polish waitresses and shop assistants. Poles have helped revive British agriculture and boost the house-building boom. Thousands of entrepreneurs have set up their own businesses and others have taken responsible positions in the NHS, social services, accountancy and banking.

Poles are integrating well into the British way of life. We're aware that their presence has impact on local councils, schools and health trusts but much of this is covered by their tax contributions.

Were those robust headlines aimed more at British Government and EU immigration policy? Were Poles criticised not because they're Poles but because they're a visible symbol of the policies being criticised? Poles have felt humiliated by this coverage and vulnerable to numerous acts of hostility, even violence, by a vociferous minority of UK citizens. Hundreds of hate crimes against Poles, some leading to injury or death, have been recorded in this country in the last two years.

As the Polish economy improves and the Polish currency almost doubles in value against sterling, a good proportion of Poles have either returned or are planning to do so soon but a significant number will remain here for some years and the need for sensitive reporting remains."

Report: 77



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