TalkTV apologizes to mental health charity for ‘obviously false’ claims | Media
Rupert Murdoch’s TalkTV has apologized to Mind after it claimed on air that the mental health charity funded asylum seekers’ legal costs.
Presenter Mike Graham claimed on his show, The Independent Republic of Mike Graham, last month that the charity claimed to fund mental health support while paying legal fees for migrants.
Mind complained about the claims, which he called “completely untrue”, and pointed out that he had never been approached for comment by the new channel.
In an on-air apology, broadcast just after 12:30 p.m. on Friday, talkTV admitted wrongdoing during the show in which it said it “questioned why various organisations, including Mind, were funding a charity called Migrants Organize “.
He added: “Mind pointed out to us that the funds he gave to Migrants Organize were given for specific work to support mental health and not for legal fees for illegal immigrants. He says he is transparent about the work he does and details of the projects he funds are on his website.
“We did not offer Mind the opportunity to respond at the time and are happy to do so now. We are sorry for any confusion caused by the discussion on the show.
It comes after the Guardian recently reported that in its first two months the right-wing channel, run by Piers Morgan, struggled to attract audiences, despite tens of millions of pounds in investment. The concern is such that Murdoch himself is said to have taken an active interest.
After the original comments aired on June 10, Mind said it received messages from “negativity” on its mental health support for refugees and asylum seekers.
He added: “We do it, and we are really proud of it. We are there for everyone. And that includes refugees and asylum seekers in England and Wales, who have often suffered unimaginable trauma.
After Friday’s apology, Mind said he only found out about the allegations after being approached directly by supporters, as they had not been approached for a right of reply from the channel.
“What talkTV got wrong was not that we work with refugees, but how we do it. Our job is to support mental health. We’re shouting about it from the rooftops,” he said in a statement.
Highlighting the power of the media to influence opinions on mental health, he said it was important for Mind to challenge false claims.
“That’s why we decided to approach talkTV direct and ask for a correction. As a charity, our reputation matters, so the importance of the work we do to support mental health matters even more. The media [have] immense power. Very often the media [are] a force for good,” he added.
“We at Mind know this as well as anyone, having seen how the media, across the political spectrum, [have] helped change our national conversation on mental health. But when the media [get] things go wrong, as we all do, as a charity, it’s important that we challenge that as well. So we did. Today we are grateful to talkTV for making the difficult decision to apologize on air.
Talktv did not immediately respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.
An Ofcom spokesman said the apology was not the result of an investigation by the communications regulator.