Media representation of refugees and migrants in Europe

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Globally, we are facing unprecedented levels of displacement. According to UNHCR, currently over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes. In Europe, while the number of arrivals in 2017 have dropped from its peak of more than 1 million in 2015, the welcome and integration of refugees and migrants remains a highly divisive political, economic, and cultural topic.

Refugees Reporting is a research and advocacy project conducted in 2017 to support the communication rights of refugees seeking safe passage into and through Europe and to challenge public attitudes of intolerance and discrimination against them. The project coordinators – the World Association for Christian Communication - Europe Region (WACC Europe) and the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) – believe that the representation of refugees and migrants in the media plays a major role in the tone of the public debate and, ultimately, the welcome and integration of refugees and migrants in their new countries.

Research was thus conducted to assess the media representation of refugees and migrants in Europe. Participating countries were Greece, Italy, Spain, Serbia, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway. In addition, interviews were conducted with representatives of refugee networks and media, including a consultation bringing people from both groups together to review the initial research findings.
The media monitoring results reflect general patterns rather than a regionally representative
picture, given that, in this initial study, the overall sample is relatively small and there are wide differences across individual country results. The aim of this report is to spark discussion on the topics considered, build on positive trends, and inspire more research and action on the issues.

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