Local residents protest at Channel4's Immigration Street series.
Channel 4 concedes from six episodes to one – Time to cancel all of Immigration Street!
Last week the campaign of unions, residents and activists in and around Southampton to put pressure on Channel 4 to cancel a controversial six part series of a show titled ‘Immigration Street’, filmed in Derby Road, Southampton, had an important breakthrough. Channel 4 announced the show would be reduced from six planned episodes to one, scheduled to be screened on February 24th.
Channel 4 state the programme will capture “contemporary life on a British street that has been changed significantly over the years by different waves of immigration and settlement”. However, as the show has been produced by the same company (Love Productions), that made Benefits Street, it continues to fuel fears it will represent the local area negatively, stigmatising residents and fueling anti-migrant sentiment. ‘Immigration Street’ will be shown as part of a series of programmes looking at the issue of immigration.
Channel 4 and Love Productions are now suggesting they are victims of an alleged campaign of harassment and victimisation by local Southampton residents. Southampton locals are not against freedom of speech, and have no problems with a fair debate on immigration; however, they are not confident that the show will represent the issue of immigration in the area fairly. Channel 4 and Love Productions continue to deny requests for a preview screening of ‘Immigration Street’ from Southampton City representatives.
There is a danger the show will suggest that immigration is the cause of problems caused by cuts to local services, low wages and lack of decent jobs. By suggesting that migrants cause these problems, the show panders to government policies to divide and rule the working classes.
It is the real hardship communities are suffering due to exploitation, precarious work and austerity economics that the media should expose not encouraging division with shows like ‘Immigration Street’. Channel 4 must listen to the call of Southampton residents, trade unionists and advocacy groups and cancel ‘Immigration Street’.