Misrepresentation of Migrants/Refugees in the Media

An article in the Guardian, ‘Where media fails on the reporting of migrants and refugees’, states:

Around the world, media coverage is often politically led with journalists following an agenda dominated by loose language and talk of invasion and swarms,” said Aidan White, EJN’s director.

Media posts are often seen on the web, on the news and in print that have an option wrapped in them. Whoever writes the article, naturally has an opinion on the subject prior to writing the post, which can make it opinionated. They can also be influenced by a higher voice, such as a company they work for or the opinions of the country it is being published in, which warps what they have to write.

The Guardian states different categories that can cause misrepresentation:

Missed opportunities: When the media fails to publish a story that is happening, which then causes a bigger issue and later has to be addressed.
Hate speech: Statements from politicians such as Trump, United States, fuel the public and hijack media coverage.
Falling standards: not providing reliable and detailed information, due to the lack of well-informed journalists.
Sensationalism: Not using the correct terms to describe migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

To correct these problems, stronger links must be made between journalists and migrant/refugee groups, and higher employment of journalists of ethnic minority.

Alan_Kurdi_lifeless_body.jpgMany articles state how the nature of migrant/refugee posts changed with the death of Alan Kurdi, when an image appeared all of the media of his body on a beach in Turkey. This forced the media to take a more sensitive approach to the human side of the context shown as the public reacted to the image. A huge reaction was produced from this image, as it opposed the mainstream media statements about the refugees, and made people have a much more empathetic approach.

Publications such as The Guardian and The Independent have focused on the human element of the crisis. Where as right-wing media have responded differently, focusing on national security. Such as the Daily Mail, the Sun and The Daily Mirror often receive criticism on social media for using dehumanising language and confusing the line between migrants, and refugees. The United Nations defines refugees as ‘persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution’, where as a migrant is a person that chooses to move under no threat. Calling refugees, migrants, as these publications often do, makes the public believe they are forcing their way in to our country under no need.

A typical example of this is in the Telegraph, where we are told at the beginning of the article that ‘David Cameron is to insist that illegal immigrants are deported to the European country where they first arrived.’. But these illegal immigrants are later desired as people ‘fleeing the troubles in North Africa and the Middle East. This is an example of sensationalism, making people believe something different to the facts. This article calls the refugees, illegal immigrants twice, making it a reoccurring theme.






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