‘Irresponsible and damaging’: Welsh MP challenges BBC over damning report on Rhyl
Vale of Clwyd MP James Davies has complained to the BBC about its negative portrayal of the town in recent reports.
It follows the BBC having branded Rhyl as ‘the most violent neighbourhood in Wales’ in news reports on the theme of ‘levelling up’.
The BBC’s coverage includes interviews and statistics that focus on organised crime, drugs, food banks, alcohol abuse and domestic violence and are accompanied by images of graffiti and derelict buildings.
Dr James Davies said: “Rhyl certainly has its challenges, but this type of reporting is irresponsible and damaging and the last thing the town needs as it recovers from the pandemic.”
He said that many local residents and businesses did not recognise the town being portrayed in the BBC coverage and feared it would put off visitors and investors.
He argues that many of the problems that were highlighted relate to specific areas of the town centre and should not be applied to the town as a whole.
In a letter to the BBC he states: “The issue highlighted is predominantly relating to the town centre. I think the statement that “Rhyl is the most violent neighbourhood in Wales” was perhaps the element that most aggrieved people, as it suggests that the whole town is of this nature.
“That kind of negative publicity is not backed up by the data and is counter-productive to regeneration efforts.”
The Conservative MP has urged the BBC to follow up the coverage with something that shows some of the positive work being done to regenerate the town.
The BBC article ‘Levelling up: The seaside town fighting violence and frustration’ states: “The north Wales seaside town of Rhyl is one of the most violent and deprived areas in England and Wales. The number of serious offences went up every year for four years until the first coronavirus lockdown, BBC research has found.
“One of Boris Johnson’s key policies when he was elected prime minister was to end the deep-rooted inequalities between richer and poorer parts of the country, starting with crime – and nowhere is that challenge clearer than in Rhyl.”