working group 3

Media and Narrative

Understanding the links between the news media and polarisation in society is essential. Journalists alongside various NGOs and grassroots organisations throughout Europe, contributed to the roundtable discussion on how narratives in the media shape the public’s perception of refugees and migrants. 

The third working group met in Bratislava in June 2019.

Working Group on Media and Narrative.

Migrants and Refugees are Buzzwords

People on the move are often encapsulated under one collective identity – labelled either as “migrants” or “refugees”. These two terms continue to be buzzwords in the media and political circles, and they are more often than not used to perpetuate negative narratives. From this working group, it became very clear that the narrative arrives before the refugees and migrants. Below, some thoughts drawn from the discussions.

Living in a time, when many prefer to look at the world as black and white, we need to insist that existence is complex. Rather than focusing the narrative on problems and their solutions, more effort is needed to formulate the narrative of the future we want to see.

The vast lack of knowledge in the European society concerning migration and refugees is used to increase polarisation. The ignorance makes it possible to confuse “refugee” with “Muslim” and “Muslim” with  “terrorist” – which makes a nuanced discussion impossible.

Hatred rhetoric and the criminalization of humanitarian work, for example, the criminalization of rescue operations in the Mediterranean, is a threat. It is not always harmless to communicate about migration, and sometimes not even about religion.

Report: Narrative and Media

The report gathers the most important inputs provided by the participants who had different types of expertise in media and communication work. The participants considered what types of problems negative narratives bring with themselves, how to counter them, how to build constructive narratives in their place, and how to come up with efficient communication strategies.