Media – Deconstruction
The specific and general objectives of the session are:
- to fight against discrimination of migrants by local population
- to read carefully and consciously newspapers and magazines
- to develop a critical sense in the handling of information
This session should learn participants how to avoid the use of words or expressions that could create misunderstandings about migrants
Number of participants: 8-20 people
(1 - very easy, 5 - very difficult)
The degree of expertise needed - 3
The amount of work to prepare and implement the scenario - 1
The relative overall cost predicted -2
2 hours (a break of 15 minutes is foreseen)
Room with capacity for 20 people, seating arrangement, tables
Computer with internet connection, white paper of A4, pens
During the workshop participants will be asked to choose a fact related to migrants situation, well known at national or international level and search for news in internet, blogs and social medias in order to find ”good” or “bad” perceptions of common people towards them.
In case participants will ask for inspirations, the facilitator can prepare in advance some suggestions about the main discussed issues (do migrants “steal” work and houses to local population; are migrants a cost or a resource for local population; do migrants receive more economic aids than local population etc.).
Perceptions and policy areas influence each other in both positive and negative ways. Public perception of migration is not uniform in Europe. Polls on attitudes towards migrants show large differences between Member States, between income groups and social classes, and between the types of fear and apprehension that migration arouses. Despite these differences and despite notable exceptions, the overall conclusion is that public perception of migration tends to be increasingly negative throughout Europe.
European citizens are living through times of strongly felt insecurity. Europe is challenged by security threats such as terrorism. Global economic competition is growing and results in fears of job losses. Against this background of felt insecurity, the public presentation of immigrants and migratory phenomena by the media and by politicians is often biased or negative, linking them often almost exclusively to security issues. The terminology commonly in use has often become pejorative, while in reality migrants consist of different groups with different expectations and opportunities. (10 min)
Stage 1: Internet research (40 min)
After the introduction, facilitator divides the participants in 5 smaller groups and asks them to choose a fact related to migrants situation, well known at national or international level, and to search for news in internet, blogs and social medias.
The facilitator can ask participants to use as a starting point their own perception of migrants.
If some help is needed, the facilitator can propose some examples about the most discussed topic in the country (do migrants “steal” work and houses to local population; are migrants a cost or a resource for local population; do migrants receive more economic aids than local population etc.).
It is strongly suggested to use press/blogs in local language, so participants can deeply understand the meaning and contents of the news.
Stage 2: Finding perceptions (20 min)
During the internet research, participants are asked to write in a flipchart paper the words and expressions they found that could generate “bad perceptions” and the ones that could generate “good perceptions”.
The same words/expressions should be reported each time they are found.
At the end, facilitator asks participants to look at these words and expressions and ask the questions:
- Which perceptions predominate? The bad ones or the good ones?
- Which ones are mostly repeated (if any)?
- How do you feel reading these expressions (the good ones and the bad ones)?
Stage 3: Write your own article! (30 min)
Starting from the news chosen by groups during their internet search and from the comments by common people they found, facilitator asks participants to write their own article about the chosen topic trying to avoid the “bad perceptions” they felt.
During the task participants should think over the fact that words are important! And perceptions of reality could be stronger than the reality itself.
When the work is done facilitator asks each group to read aloud created article.
The facilitator proposes a final debate. The following questions could be asked: (20 min)
- Which media do you mostly use in your daily life?
- What should be the role of media in your opinion?
- Before this session did you ever think how the words and sentences could transmit prejudice and influence public perception of facts ?
- Will you be more conscious/attentive to this aspect from now on?
- Did you find difficult to write the news using different words?
Presence lists, evaluation forms (if required)
Migration and public perception by Ricklef Beutin, Marcel Canoy, Anna Horvath, Agnes Hubert, Frédéric Lerais, Peter Smith, Myriam Sochacki, Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA) European Commission
Ideas for action
If computers with internet connection are not available, the activities could be condacted with copies of newspapers/magazines with articles chosen by the facilitator
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