Originally published under the title "Analysis: BBC Pictures Show 53% Migrant Kids, Just 36% Men – Hugely out of Step with Official Stats."
A casual consumer of BBC coverage of the European migrant crisis can easily get the impression that children predominate.
An analysis of photographs the BBC uses to illustrate Europe's migrant crisis has revealed the publicly funded organisation is using mostly pictures of children, despite the actual number of children making the trip being very low.
The United Nations Refugee Agency reported last week there were 72 percent men, 13 percent women, and just 15 percent children making the trip to Europe by sea. This was out of a total of 381,412 people, meaning that 274,616 of those making the trip were men, with just 49,583 women and 57,211 children. The numbers, updated for this week, claim there are now nearly 80,000 children arriving, over 305,000 men, and just over 57,000 women.
But a Breitbart London analysis of over 200 images used by the BBC on its website shows a staggering 53 percent display children as the focal points, with 36 percent focused on the men and just 10 percent focused on women. By this measure, readers may assume that of the total number of sea arrivals, over 230,000 of them are children – an overestimation pushed by the BBC's narrative of around 150,000.
The BBC also presents an underestimated image of how many men are making the trip, with its images implying just 160,000 of the migrants are men, an underestimation of around 145,000 people.
The skewed results will raise questions about the BBC's coverage of the migrant crisis, alongside its obligation for neutrality, accuracy, and balance as set out in the BBC Trust's charter.
The news comes as it was revealed that four in five of migrants logged by the European Union are not Syrian refugees, but rather migrants from places as far apart as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and South Sudan.
The news confirms fears that many migrants are lying about their backgrounds in order to gain refugee status in Europe.
German authorities last week admitted at least 25 percent of the migrants it has processed have lied about being Syrian citizens fleeing war. Interior Minister for Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Lorenz Caffier said: "At least a quarter of those refugees allegedly coming from Syria are not from Syria, but from other Arab or African countries." According to Rainer Wendt, head of the German Police Union, "almost without exception, every refugee pretends to be a Syrian when in fact, many come from other countries, even from sub-Saharan Africa."
The BBC coverage tallies with the coverage by the Canadian state broadcaster, the CBC, which has seen a petition lodged against its coverage of the migrant crisis.
Breitbart London analysed the top 229 images dated between September 15 and September 21, identifying the images by their "focal point"– women, men, or children. Where some images contained more than one or all of the categories involved, Breitbart London counted the focal point of the image as the category, unless there was equal representation across the image, in which case it was disregarded. The images with equal representation numbered below 20, and it is worth noting a 1:1:1 ratio would still be disproportionate to the actual statistics from the United Nations.
Raheem Kassam is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and editor-in-chief of Breitbart London.