Media and immigration

A political communication perspective

Authored by: Rens Vliegenthart

The Routledge Handbook of the Politics of Migration in Europe

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138201187
eBook ISBN: 9781315512853
Adobe ISBN:


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Mass media are important when it comes to the immigration issue. They provide the venue in which political debate takes place and their content can influence attitudes and behaviour of citizens. This chapter provides an overview of research of the research on media and immigration in the European context. It focuses on news selection processes, on content characteristics such as attention, framing and claims, and effects on attitudes towards immigrants. It concludes that a lot of research exists, but is biased towards written texts and the West-European context. Substantially, migration is an issue for which media content and effects matter, probably more so than with many other political issues. It is therefore problematic that coverage often does not reflect ‘reality’: the attention and framing of the issue is merely a consequence of newsworthy events rather than based on more systematic trends in immigration figures. Similarly, the emphasis on negativity and threat and fear frames contribute to a view that integration of large groups of minorities has failed, while (statistical) evidence might suggest otherwise.

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