Press coverage of migration crisis in Europe: a call for collaborative action

visit-of-dimitris-avramopoulos-eu-commissioner

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, travelled to Lesbos to visit the refugee camp of Karatepe municipality. Date: 18/01/2017 Reference: P-033444/00-15 Location: Lesbos. © European Union , 2017 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Nikolia Apostolou.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Behrouz Nezafat. The writer an MSc. Public Health student at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the IFMSA Human Rights and Peace co-regional assistant for Europe. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

As the year 2016 draws to a close, the United National Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) statistics shows a decrease in arrivals by sea to Europe of 361,018 from the previous figure of 1,015,078 (2015) [1]. This dramatic decrease is a result of the deal between the European Union and Turkey. A deal, under which Turkish government agreed to take steps to prevent refugees from reaching Greece and the Balkans region.

The European Commission proposed the resettlement of 160,000 refugees, among European countries. [2] Sadly, only 5% of this target has been met as of December 2016, [3] and over 57,000 people are stranded in temporary camps in Greece, living in conditions far from international humanitarian standards. [4]

Although from the statistics discussed, it does not look like Europe is placing a huge effort on helping the situation of refugees. Instead, far-right wing nationalism sentiment has grown in the past years across the region. Movements like the Sweden Democrat, the National Front in France, the Austrian Freedom Party and other voices on the far right are calling for their open countries to close up and turn inward, encouraging voters to fear migrants taking jobs, Muslims threatening culture and security and political correctness frightening freedom of speech. However, what is driving this surge to the far right from the electorate?

The media plays a central role in politics and it has a massive influence on voters, as for many media outlets are the only source of information. Overall, the press coverage of the refugee and migrant crisis in the EU has been far from aiming to convince countries to do more to help. Many outlets have been unsympathetic, portraying refugees as a threat to the welfare system and using inaccurate terms such as ‘illegal immigrant’ to describe them. [5]

A report from December 2015 by UNHCR, concluded that the Swedish press was the most positive towards refugees and migrants, while coverage in the United Kingdom was the most negative. [6] In addition, there is also major differences between countries in terms of the sources used, ranging from politicians and citizens to NGOs, depending on the sentiment that they wanted to communicate.

As the youth of Europe we have a responsibility that we must accomplish. We must make sure we build countries that reflect our ideals, and the principles that funded the European Union. Ensuring the media portrays accurate information, using the correct language, is of vital importance for the future of our region.

This is a call to action to help improve the current climate towards migration in Europe, we can use social media and other platforms to ensure accurate information is portrayed, as well as reporting articles and confronting platforms that portray biased information.

Unfortunately, throughout Europe, media outlets have been communicating and fuelling anti-refugee sentiment through a negative tone and inaccurate language. As the leaders of tomorrow we should take the appropriate steps in ensuring we can provide accurate information on the situation, as well as reporting press coverage portraying a negative and inaccurate picture.

About the author

Behrouz Nezafat is currently an MSc. Public Health student at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the IFMSA Human Rights and Peace co-regional assistant for Europe. His main area of interest is in migration and health, as well as social integration of populations to a new environment and health system strengthening.

References:

[1] UNHCR, Refugee/Migrants Response – Mediterranean, http://data.unhcr.org/mediterranean/regional.php (Accessed December 2016)

[2] European Commission (2015), Refugee Crisis Fact Sheet.

[3] European Commission (2016)

[4] International Rescue Committee (2016), Idomeni: The IRC concerned about humanitarian standards at some of the new sites.

[5] Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (2014), ‘Words Matter’ Campaign

[6] UNHCR (2015), Press Coverage of the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in the EU: A Content Analysis of Five European Countries, Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Me and China

European Investment Bank to borrow €70 billion in 2013

China confirms anti-state-subsidy investigation on EU wine imports

Dutch voters reject EU-Ukraine partnership and open a new pandora’s box for the EU

The EU Parliament endorses tax on financial transactions

EU’s guidelines on net neutrality see the light although grey areas do remain

European Commissioner for Youth wants young people to be at heart of policy making

Parliament sets up plan to fight the 3,600 criminal rings of EU

EU migrant crisis: Germany, France and UK to show the way. Will the rest of the EU follow?

Bundesbank’s President Weidmann criticises France and the EU. Credibility at risk?

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

Eurozone in trouble after Nicosia’s ‘no’

A Sting Exclusive: “Without climate, forget about peace!”, Swedish MEP Bodil Valero cautions from Brussels

Economic recovery won’t tackle youth unemployment problem

Eurozone to enter the winter…

Will ECB win against low inflation by not following Quantitave Easing?

The Chinese spirit

Why did Cameron gain absolute majority? What will he do now? Will he vote ‘yes’ in Britain’s in – out EU referendum?

Presentation of Juncker’s Investment Plan: Can 315 billion euros save the EU?

YO!FEST ENGAGES 8,000 YOUNG EUROPEANS IN FUTURE OF EU

Eurozone officials play with people’s deposits and minds

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Why Eurozone’s problems may end in a few months

Eurozone recession subsides

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

EU will not deliver on promises without democratic accountability

South Eurozone urgently needs fairer distribution of taxation burden

All talk but no action against fraudulent bankers

Eurozone: Statistics don’t tell the whole story

Crimea, a wicked game of political chess and a ‘big’ coincidence

European Youth Forum welcomes strong stance on human rights in State of the Union

US, Russia oblige each other in Syria and Ukraine selling off allies

Can the world take the risk of a new financial armageddon so that IMF doesn’t lose face towards Tsipras?

European Employment Forum 2013 and not European Unemployment Forum 2014

Glaringly false reassurances about the repercussions of the EU-US free trade agreement

European Banking Union: no one is perfect

Europe united in not supporting a US attack on Syria

Commission challenges Council over EU 2014 budget

Data show EU Economy in a stubbornly subdued state

IMF to teach Germany a Greek lesson

The West definitively cuts Russia off from the developed world

The impossible end of the war in Syria

Why do medical students need to go abroad to become a doctor in 2017?

The Swiss will pay dearly for voting out fellow Europeans

What the world will look like after the Iran and 5+1 deal; the US emerges as major power broker in Middle East

Zhua Zhou: Choosing The Future

Macron plans for Europe, Brexit and banks but vague on France

Will the outcome of the UK referendum “calm” the financial markets?

The West and Russia took what they wanted from Ukraine

“CETA is a game changer for major trade agreements”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

GREXIT final wrap-up: nobody believed Aesop’s boy who cried wolf so many times

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Children Will Bear the Brunt of Climate Change: UNICEF

Why medicine is relevant to the battle against climate change

The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

ECB embarks on the risky trip to Eurozone banking universe

MWC 2016 LIVE: Freemium MVNO model a success, claims FreedomPop head

The Sting’s Mission

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s