Patricia Montero Vidal
BA Honours Broadcast Production TV & Radio UWS 2017 4th year 2018/19
“BREXIT: Examples and Evaluation of Alleged Biased and Unfair Reporting of EU migrants in the UK. An Assessment and content Analysis of ethical values of the Broadcast Media in UK during the Brexit Referendum.”
The contemporary public discourse in the context of BREXIT REFERENDUM 2016 it’s a polemical subject, increasing as the time of implementation and effective date approaches. Mass media is daily overloaded with controversial news and headlines such as the BBC 19 November 2018: “Brexit plan will stop EU migrants ‘jumping the queue’ – Theresa May”
Waves of new xenophobia and racism peaked after the referendum. The number of racially aggravated offenses recorded by the police in the same month was 41 percent higher than in July 2015.
Studies show how media plays an important role in informing the audience about what occurs in the world, more notably in those areas in which audiences do not dispose of direct knowledge. Indeed regions with higher rates of migration like London had a lower percentage of BREXIT supporters. Social scientist Alexander Betts explains this phenomenon.
This controversy adds to the Scottish Independence sphere where part of the citizens claim to feel they are unrepresented with the Referendum outcome, this has set off a discussion on whether Scotland has the right to avoid being pulled out of the EU against the desires of its government, parliament, and voters.
How is it possible an inclusive country where many voters don’t feel represented with the results and events turn out voting to leave the EU?
Media possess the power to narrate the news and hence shape the viewpoints of these situations by putting on the spotlight specific subjects and driving public interest on particular issues.
British media is accurately regulated and largely inclusive, and there are believes that the anti-migrant argument is not linked to racism, however, the racist discourse is not always flagrant.
Having a look at the different types of racism can give a better understanding of how this occurs.
Overt and Inferential racism: Overt when racist arguments are obvious and notorious. Overt racism is the coverage contains openly racist narratives and arguments.
On the other hand, inferential racism is when arguments are balanced but based on racist assumptions, either factual or fictional, but very damaging, as it is disguised or camouflaged. Which in turn leads to sectarian discourse and lack of homogeneity contributes and leads to a dysfunctional class system.
Teun A. van Dijk has carried an interdisciplinary study of the British press coverage, and has exposed the denial of discourse racism on his various works, examining more in-depth this phenomenon:
“Among these forms of denial are disclaimers, mitigation, euphemism, excuses, blaming the victim, reversal and other moves of defense, face-keeping and positive self-presentation in negative discourse about minorities, immigrants and (other) anti-racists”
Also, Anthias and Yuval-Davis suggest :
“racist discourse posits an essential biological determination to culture but its referent may be any group that has been ‘socially’ constructed as having a different ‘origin’, whether cultural, biological or historical. It can be ‘Jewish’, ‘black’, ‘foreign’, ‘migrant’, ‘minority’. In other words, any group that has been located in ethnic terms can be subject to ‘racism’ as a form of exclusion.”
And Gilroy states that the new waves of xenophobia have “the capacity to link discourses of patriotism, nationalism, xenophobia, Englishness, Britishness, militarism and gender difference into a complex situation which gives “race” its contemporary meaning”
The tabloid press, some political discourses or even social media, have played an important role in creating the narrative and believe about the possible effect of EU migrants on the ‘left behind’ British working class. Picturing a situation of uncontrolled mass migration due to the right of free movement between EU countries. In fact, the “Leave Campaign proclaimed that the UK needs to take back control on their borders and that shall be attained by exiting the EU.
Khan, O., and F. Shaheen explains how blaming newcomers for the existing problems promoting resent to migrants it’s a tactic of information manipulation.
Henceforward, Broadcast Media has been occasionally accused to propagate alleged biased and unfair reporting during Brexit Referendum in relation to migration. This dissertation intends to study these episodes. Research the portrayal of ethnic minorities on the media during this defined period of time, Brexit Referendum 23 June 2016, particularly, EU migrants in the UK. The representation of this community in the news before the Brexit referendum and compare them to post-referendum portrayal and headlines.
The drive of this creative research questions the impact that media has in the creation of public beliefs and attitudes, and its relationship to social change. Where these transformations are not feasible to demonstrate or utterly provable, this dissertation aims to create a drawing of discoveries and findings from a scope of empirical studies of the media coverage in relation to EU migrants in UK, and examine the inequality that this minority faced in the media, for consequently their treatment on the media reflects the inequality they face in society too.
Subsequently, the purpose and aims are to analyze and examine examples of alleged biased or unfair reporting from the Broadcast Media; asses the phenomena of presumed moral panics, alleged fake news, and social media targeted online activity.
Using content analysis – classify news and headlines by content (in relation to EU migrants) and creating a quantitative display to inform and compare these data before, during and after the Brexit referendum.
Frame Analysis – Search and examine key texts and their frames, demonstrating how cultural themes shape our understanding of events. “In studies of the media, frame analysis shows how aspects of the language and structure of news items emphasize certain aspects (and omit others)”.
Discourse Analysis – Study of text and discourse, examining the formats and phrasing of the headlines. The use of ethnomethodology, sociolinguistics, and critical discourse analysis
This will be a qualitative method of analysis including interviews with entities such as Migrant Voice, “migrant-led organization established to develop the skills, capacity, and confidence of members of migrant communities. We work to amplify migrant voices in the media and public life to counter xenophobia and build support for our rights.”
And contacting organizations such as GramNet, Glasgow Refugee Asylum and Migration Network: “Bringing together researchers, practitioners, and policymakers working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland”
Supporting my research I will be attending seminars, imparted by Nicola Black, Scottish film and television producer, and director, and UWS lecturer, that worked on a PhD on transnational communities. The seminar will include:
Challenging and Changing the News: Media Reporting in the Age of Migration (The symposium Migration, not only since the height of the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, is at the core of many current political, social and cultural debates in the UK. Not surprisingly, therefore, migration attracts significant interest in the media, old and new. It seems, however, as if a significant share of media reporting conveys images of, and messages about migrants which fuel hostility towards them)
This dissertation will be composed of a major written piece of 10.000 words, and a minor practical of 3 to 5 min, exposing part of my findings and interviews of migrants relating their experience with Brexit and giving their positive viewpoint of UK with the intention of recognizing differences.
For all my interviews I will have into account Online Submission of Ethics form to be considered by the UWS Ethics Committee.