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Panorama
Claudia Murg biography
Claudia Murg
Panorama's undercover reporter Claudia Murg was born in Romania in September 1968.

Following the collapse of communism, she met British Journalists from World in Action, Granada TV, who encouraged her to become a journalist after working for them as a translator in January 1990.

In February 1990, Claudia became a TV reporter for the local BRASOV TV station, which had been set up by a handful of volunteers.

For nearly six months she reported on economic and social issues and was regularly involved in local and country wide meetings and demonstrations to try and organise democratic forums of discussion and effective opposition to the new Communist oriented government.

Illegal entry

During this time she says she became disappointed with the inertia gripping the nation and even more disappointed that some of her reports addressing injustices and abuses of human rights were censored by the people running the TV station.

It was then that she came to Britain, although she did not apply for asylum because "I did not have the moral right to apply because I was never arrested, beaten up or tortured by the Romanian authorities."

She says: "I chose to stay here illegally whilst I pursued my studies with Open University and eventually, 18 months after my arrival in the UK as a visitor, I got the permission to stay and work in Britain on the basis of my marriage."

In March 1993, Claudia started pursuing a journalistic career in the UK, working on programmes for Modern Times, World in Action, ITV factual and Channel 4 documentaries.

Political research

Due to the chronic shortage of Romanian Interpreters in Britain at the time, she also got drawn into the world of asylum and immigration and began working as a freelance interpreter between TV productions in 1995.

She says she was offered an almost overwhelming amount of work as an interpreter wherever there were Romanian asylum seekers.

Claudia also says she became a witness of encounters between asylum seekers and local authorities, social services, local education authorities, NHS, police stations, magistrates and criminal courts, solicitors and the Immigration Appellate Authority (part of the Lord Chancellor's Department).

In parallel, she also carried out research at a political level. Spoke to MPs, went to inquiry sessions in Parliament, met and spoke with many organisations concerned with asylum seekers as well as asylum seekers themselves or just immigrants, legal or illegal.

Panorama: The asylum game

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