Sensationalist Journalism vs. Immigration

Sensationalism has always been an issue in journalism. In sensationalism, trivial matters can sound too important or a single event can be blown out of proportion. A single negative act can be generalized to a population. Headlines always appeal to the emotions of the readers. Sensationalism goes way back to the ancient Roman Times, in the Acta Diurna which are public notices and announcements on message boards. These notices were highly received with enthusiasm by the said illiterate societies of that time.

BBC’s Panorama faces the accusation of sensationalism through the uncovering of student visa system fraud. The expose highlighted Studentway Education consultancy located in Southall fraudulent works in terms of passing applicants in the English Test. The program has been filming undercover for a year. BBC’s crews follow a network of agents helping applicants extend their student visa extensions. They exposed that even if applicants do not speak at all, these agents will seat in behalf of the applicants to take the tests. In terms of bank statements, some agents encourage applicants to use someone else’s account to show that they have enough money to cover for their expenses while living in the United Kingdom indefinitely.

These fraudulent actions uncovered and exposed by Panorama created an impression that almost all applicants cheated their way to get student visas. Daniel Stevens, Officer of NUS International Students was thankful that Panorama uncovered this fraud ongoing in a small scale and he agreed that these actions should be condemned. However, he opposed the way that said program pictured the gravity of the situation. Panorama used the following quotes “Blatant fraud,” “thriving market,” “wide open to abuse,” “marketplace for fraud” and others that can destroy the image of every international students in the United Kingdom.

Daniel Stevens explained that even if students were fraudulently approved for visas, they will still be subject toconsistent attendance monitoring by institutions and be reported for any illegal activity. With the strict standards of the Student Visa System, these students will still be caught and will face repercussions for their actions.

Due to this report, non European Union immigrants have already perceived United Kingdom as very unwelcoming. Thus the number of applicants dropped to 80%. The government have also used Panorama’s expose to impose stricter rules in the application of international student visa, as if the current system is easy enough to accomplish.

There is a thin line between responsible journalism and sensationalism. It is easy to cross the line and lean towards sensationalism to gain wider readers’ reach for monetary gain. The responsibility of filtering and distinguishing news from trash is now left to the masses. As if, the population has all the time in the world to ponder on every little thing that media releases. What the people in general needs is news that will make them question or agree with current situations without all the theatrics and drama that journalism tends to add.