Integration Index 2016

“Hardly a day goes by without migration hitting the headlines somewhere in the world. However, too often the media tends to focus on the negative aspects of migration. One recent study of 58,000 migration news stories, conducted by re-searchers at the University of Oxford, found that the most common word used to describe immigrants was “illegal”, even though by far the majority of migrants enter and reside legally. It was also found that the most common modifi er of asylum seekers was the word “failed”. It was also typical for journalists to use words such as “terrorist” when reporting on migration stories, stoking fears that migration could be linked to terrorism.

Many studies show that the media tends to focus on illegality, crisis, controversy and government failure. When you read a newspaper or watch TV today you are likely to get the impression that there are too many migrants who steal the jobs of locals, depress wages, and place an unfair burden on the welfare system. Media coverage has an important impact on public perceptions of migration and the way in which policy debates are framed. The media can select which topics to present and what issues to highlight. Poor public perceptions of migrants restrict the ability of politicians to develop realistic and evidence-based policies to manage migration and integration.

How can we correct this negative portrayal of migration? What can be done to change the way in which we communicate about migration?” Laura Thompson

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