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VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon

Mediation of Migration: Media impacts on Norwegian immigration policy, public administration and public opinion.

Awarded: NOK 9.9 mill.

By exploring the processes that lead to news on migration and identifying their impacts, the research project Mediation of Migration has examined if and how a media logic sets the terms for communication practices, decision making and flows of immigration. Key results from the project are: - The logic of the news media influence the Norwegian immigration government, both its political and administrative arms: The rhythm, formats and values of news influence work practices and priorities. A massive and often critical media coverage induce centralization of communication with journalists and proactive media strategies. - The coverage of immigration is marked by a strong focus on individuals, emotions and human-interest stories. Many NGOs and activists forwards their messages through the pitching of stories of single individuals framed as idealized victims. When they get massive, media campaigns (e.g. Maria Amelie and Nathan) can reverse decisions, even if the main principles of immigration policies remain stable. - The Norwegian coverage of immigration is, compared to the coverage of immigration in the US and France, dominated by human-interest stories, based on relatively few sources and perspectives. - Surveys, both in Norway, US and France show that the general audience is rather critical to the coverage of immigration. A majority is in favor of more restrictive immigration policies and call for a greater focus on crime and security related to immigration in the news. - A survey among the 10 largest minority groups in Norway on their media use and opinions shows that a large many have high confidence in Norwegian media and societal institutions. They follow Norwegian news, but do as well use news media from their region of origin. People of an African or Asiatic origin report that they find the coverage of immigration more stigmatizing than groups from Europe/Russia. - A study of what factors influenced Iraqi Kurds to migrate to Norway and Europe shows that the mass media played an important role. However, most emigrants had scant knowledge of the rules of European immigration systems, and could not estimate their chances of gaining residence as refugees. The news coverage of migration in Iraq was dominated by a strong a critical focus on the many deportations from Europe. For more information on the project, see their web-page:

The media fundamentally affect how people perceive themselves and the surrounding world, how key societal institutions function and how democracy works. The present project investigates the dominant form and content of news stories on migration. We invest igate all main phases related to the mediation of migration: The information strategies and production processes behind the news; news form and content; as well as the effect of media coverage on public opinion in general and on perceptions among minority groups in particular. The project also compares Norwegian news accounts of migration with news discourses in other western countries marked by contrasting immigration histories. Finally it examines the role of the news media in loops of information betwe en immigrant groups in Norway and networks in sending countries of migrants, adding to the knowledge of migration flows and the globalisation of information. The project aims to uncover hitherto largely closed-off processes, revealing who the dominant act ors and stories in the media are, but also what kind of perspectives and what types of actors that are overlooked or even silenced. The investigation of the media's impact on public opinion on migration offers vital insights into how the media work to enc ourage democratic participation and inclusion on the one hand, exclusion, fear and alienation on the other. Of special interest to public governance is the project's exploration of whether the logics of the mass media modify the priorities and practices o f Government and public administration, and the subsequent allocation of resources in the welfare state. The role of the media in these processes is significantly under-researched. The project will contribute to a knowledge-based debate about the implicat ions of an expanding media logic in society, through an ambitious research design that combines interdisciplinarity, a range of methodological approaches, and that foregrounds international cooperation.

Funding scheme:

VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon