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"The British media's coverage of asylum seekers and refugees is characterised by stereotyping, exaggeration and inaccurate language" - Discuss.

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Introduction

"The British media's coverage of asylum seekers and refugees is characterised by stereotyping, exaggeration and inaccurate language." The quote above comes from "It's Official: media coverage of asylum is distorted and unfair" This was a piece of writing, analysing how the media displays asylum seekers as misfits and outcasts. The analysis was written by a Cardiff University research team, which studied the media content on asylum coverage in depth, for a period of 12 weeks. In their research during this 12-week period they found 14 negative front-page articles based on asylum seekers in Britain. The majority of these front pages were in the Daily Mail and Daily Express, both of these mid-market tabloids are aimed at a right wing Tory biased audience, who perceive the asylum issue in many ways. The media's articles on asylum seekers uses a negative tone in the headlines and the text, it uses negative connotations to represent asylum system as overburden and intruders, for example the Daily Mail's headline on Tuesday, December 16th states: "�16,000 That's what the average asylum seekers family gets a year in handouts (and it's all tax free!)". The Newspaper has written �16000 in this bold font to represent it as a huge amount; the �16000 takes up half the page and is there to cast the reader's eye indicating what a significant amount of money it is. ...read more.

Middle

Another technique used to represent asylum negatively that they rarely ever use interviews from actual asylum seekers just take images of males, they also only show what important stereotypical politicians say instead of personal accounts of asylum seekers. This overpowers other people's opinions because of the high status of these politicians and the importance of their views. For example "Immigration minister Beverley Hughes admitted the support given to an average asylum-seeking family amounts to �1,340 a month" this makes the fact seem correct because it uses her name and position. Another example of this tactic used by the media using high profile figure, is evident in the Daily Mail article "we're swamped says judge". In this article Mr. Justice Morris Kay says the number coming into court are unmanageable and the public money is being spended on litigation. He also claims failed asylum seekers are ending up on the streets and sleeping rough. In this same article there is a huge box in which random unsourced figures are put. They compare earnings with citizens of Britain and of asylum families. A prime example of asylum being represented negatively by the media is in the Daily Mail it says "There are also tens of thousands of families been granted asylum but are claiming benefit" the key ...read more.

Conclusion

I think to improve the coverage of asylum in Britain politicians and government officials should take the lead in using accurate terminology when speaking about asylum and immigration. The reporters, sub-editors and editors should be aware of the correct use of terminology in the asylum and immigration debate. They should avoid using and inventing their own labels, which are meaningless and also distinguish between economic migrants and refugees. The media should use correct definitions, which are legal with clear explanations of their meanings and the context of which they should be used. There should be some sort of guidelines imposed for news coverage on asylum and how it is stated. I noticed in reading examples of media representation of asylum that statistics were unsourced and sometimes unrealistic, the media should state all statistics and explain the origin from which they have come. The media should also seek to portray asylum seekers in a less stereotypical way for example using pictures of women and children in their reports; they should include alternate and more representative images. I believe that if refugees had a say in what was going to happen to them it would be a lot fairer. Journalists need to be seeking a broader range of reports instead of representing them stereotypically. By doing this we could see a sudden improvement in media representation on issues on asylum seekers. ...read more.

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