Speaking for Ourselves

Victims and villains: Migrant voices in the British media

Victims and villains: Migrant voices in the British media


 Migrant Voice - Victims and villains: Migrant voices in the British media

This report was written by Heaven Crawley, Simon McMahon, Katharine Jones from the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University. Migrant Voice was heavily involved in the research for the report, offering expertise and organising focus groups with members across our three regions.

Read the February 2016 report here.

From the Executive Summary:

"Increasing migration and its implications for the UK’s economic prosperity and social structures are a significant concern for the British public. The factors underlying public anxieties regarding migration are complex but can be seen in the dominance of migration issues on the agendas of most of the political parties and the rise in support for the populist United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) over recent years. Negative stories on migration are reflected in, and reinforced by the British print media, in particular the tabloid press, often painting a picture of Britain as a country which is ‘full up’ and unable to cope with the changes that migration brings. 

"Over recent years, concern about levels of anti-immigrant sentiment in Britain and the role of the media in driving negative coverage of this controversial topic have fuelled efforts by a number of civil society organisations to create spaces for alternative perspectives which can inform the public debate. This has included, in particular, efforts to support migrants to have their voices heard through media training, capacity and network building activities, as well as creating opportunities for engagement with journalists working on, or interested in, migration issues. 

"The report explores how migrant voices and experiences are framed in Britain’s migration debate, against the backdrop of a complex relationship between the media, political debate and public attitudes. Were the voices and experiences of migrants present in media reporting on migration issues in the months leading up to the 2015 General Election? And if migrants were able to have a voice, how were their experiences and perspectives represented and framed?


"The evidence from our research shows that whilst migration was less of an issue in the months leading up to the 2015 General Election than many had anticipated or feared, it was not absent from public and political debate or from the printed press. Coverage of migration was diverse and varied, involving a range of right and left wing perspectives and intersecting with an array of other issues. The newspaper which published the most migration articles was The Guardian (149 articles), followed by The Times (137), The Daily Mail (104) and The Daily Telegraph (98). The newspaper which published the least on migration was The Mirror (28 articles). 


"Of the articles that were analysed in this research, only 15% referenced a migrant voice or perspective. There was considerable variation between newspapers in whether or not a migrant voice or perspective was included in a migration story. 27% of the articles from the Independent referenced a migrant perspective, rising to 33% in the case of the Daily Mirror. By contrast, 97% of the articles from The Sun did not provide a migrant perspective."


TOP IMAGE: Taken from 'Victims and Villains' report

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