Migrants Organise charity receives substantial damages and apology from TalkTV’s Mike Graham, and News UK in libel claim
Migrants Organise, the award-winning charity advocating for the rights and welfare of migrants and refugees, has been vindicated by a substantial libel settlement with TalkTV presenter, Mike Graham, and News UK Broadcasting, publishers of TalkTV (a TV channel broadcast nationally on terrestrial, satellite, cable, and other platforms).
Migrants Organise is a charity which provides a platform for refugees and migrants to organise for power, dignity and justice. It instructed Zillur Rahman of Rahman Lowe and Mark Henderson of Doughty Street Chambers in its successful defamation claim.
Between 10 – 13 June 2022, in episodes of ‘The Independent Republic of Mike Graham’, broadcast on national TV and via clips shared by TalkTV and Mike Graham on Twitter, and also in the words of tweets by Mike Graham, various accusations were made relating to Migrants Organise.
Mr Graham stated on Twitter that Migrants Organise was “the charity that is funded to help illegal migration to this country”, linking to a page listing its funders. In another tweet he said that “Those human traffickers need your money”. In a clip of his show shared on Twitter, he said that such charities were “helping migrants come to this country illegally”. A guest on the show, in a clip also shared by a tweet about “Ben & Jerry’s … attempting to undermine the Government’s Rwanda … plan” said that these charities were also advising refugees “to convert to Christianity “to assist with their asylum applications “which is what happened to our friend in Liverpool” referencing the Liverpool terror attack.
In another clip, which was shared in a tweet from TalkTV stating “Mike Graham’s powerful response to a bid by human rights activists to block the UK’s first migrant deportation flight to Rwanda”, Mr Graham stated that: “There are charitable organisations like Migrant[s] Organise that will tell them precisely how to keep staying here. Become a Christian, they say. That’s what the guy who blew himself up in Liverpool did. Become somebody who says that they’ve rehabilitated [themselves] from Islamic jihadism. That’s exactly what happened to the bloke who blew up the Manchester Arena. Tell them that you are gay and you can’t be sent home. That’s a good one. That will keep you here….”
The statements were shared thousands of times on Twitter, and Migrants Organise say that it inspired a torrent of hateful messages and threats against the charity and its charitable funders.
Migrants Organise brought a libel claim on the basis that the statements were false and seriously defamatory of the charity by suggesting that it uses charitable funds to traffic migrants to the UK illegally; that it engages in fraud by concocting false reasons for asylum to enable migrants to obtain refugee status, and that in so doing, it facilitates and enables terrorist attacks; and that the charity are human traffickers.
The libel settlement, reached one year on, involves News UK and Mike Graham apologising, paying the charity substantial damages and its legal costs in full, and publicising on Twitter statement that “we … have agreed to pay [Migrants Organise] damages and legal costs.”
The apology published on Twitter by TalkTV and Mike Graham also states that “We are happy to clarify that it was not our or Mike’s intention to make those allegations and we accept there wasn’t a factual basis for doing so”. They identify the relevant allegations as being that Migrants Organise “were ‘funded to help illegal migration’, were ‘human traffickers’, and that they facilitated fraud and terrorism by advising asylum seekers to falsify information to bolster their asylum claims”. They add that: “we should have offered the charity the opportunity to come on and respond”.
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