The manipulation is driven by “a racist account that goes with spectacular images which do not represent the reality of the migration flows,” said Mr Henry.
The visuals, he explained, focus on people from sub-Saharan Africa when by far the biggest number of asylum-seekers are from Syria (138,000), Afghanistan (132,000), Turkey (58,000), Venezuela (51,000) and Colombia (43,000), according to European figures for last year.
Experts also point to another visual effect with the exceptional being painted as a daily happening.
Lampedusa, for example, reportedly saw 802 people land from boats during the first nine days of September, before large numbers arrived in just 48 hours. The figures have since been revised strongly downwards.
Front lines and share-out
Italy may geographically lie on the frontline for arrivals via the Mediterranean Sea, but it is far from the main host country.
Some of the arrivals are shared out among other EU nations and some follow their own clandestine path.
As a result, out of one million asylum requests made in European countries in 2022, Italy registered 84,000 or half of the 156,000 in France, and nowhere near Germany’s 244,000. AFP