The Effect of Using the Terms "Refugee" and "Migrant" as Synonyms in the Online Versions of Le Monde and Le Temps Newspapers in 2015–2016

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Polina E. Shevchenko

Editor-in-chief, Fake-MM magazine, Moscow, Russia


Section: Foreign Journalism

Because of the uncertainty and confusion of terminology in different countries, the concepts of refugee and migrant are mixed in one associative array. Today, this problem is becoming more acute because of the frequent cultural conflicts and the “refugee crisis,” which in modern literature is increasingly referred to as the “migration crisis”. The lack of emphasis on the differences between these two categories of visitors leaves particular traces on the attitude of the majority of the population towards ethnic minorities, many of whom were born in migrant families, but live full lives in the countries and feel part of the nation. Mass media in France and Switzerland raise the problem of confusing the concepts of refugee and migrant, but in fact they use these terms as synonyms. The theme of the “refugee crisis” became central throughout 2015–2016, when a number of terrorist acts occurred in Europe, simultaneously with the highest influx of refugees. Refugees and migrants, verbally connected by journalists from European mass media, were presented in their articles as victims of circumstances or as criminals who had nothing to lose. In the texts, refugees and migrants were rarely given the chance to tell the stories of their lives.

Keywords: migrants, refugees, media effects, representation of minorities, mediatization
DOI: 10.30547/vestnik.journ.1.2020.102128


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