MediaRefugees (Media Impact on Attitudes towards Refugees and Immigrants) is an innovative research project aiming to understand how media, as a primary source of information, affect intergroup perceptions, attitudes and emotions between the Greek majority (the in-group) and immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers (the out-group).
Immigration is nowadays one of the key issues of contestation in Europe and an issue that raises the most questions about the fundamental values of the European Union. In Greece, for the past decade and more, immigration has been one of the most controversial political and social topics. Lying at the crossroads of three continents (Europe, Asia and Africa), Greece, already since the early 2000s, has become the major gateway into the European Union for undocumented migrants and asylum seekers from Asia and Africa.
Media representations of immigrants and refugees play a significant role in how immigration is presented in the public discourse as well as in how people perceive and respond to this controversial issue. Thus, understanding of how news media shape public perceptions and attitudes towards immigrants and refugees is essential.
This overall objective is answered, in a step by step process, by addressing three specific objectives. First, to analyze, interpret and understand up-to-date media representations of immigration and the refugee crisis, through a daily monitoring and content analysis procedure of selected media. Second, to explore how exposure of the general population (the in-group) to news about immigration and the refugee crisis affects beliefs (prejudices), attitudes (stereotypes), emotions (fear, anger, guilt, compassion, among others) and intention of (discriminatory) behavior towards refugees and immigrants. Third, to examine how immigrants and refugees (the out-group) perceive media content about immigration and the refugee crisis and how these representations affect their sense of belonging or being accepted by the Greek society and, eventually, their ability to integrate into it.
MediaRefugees is a 15-month project, launched in February 2020, involving two researchers, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and a PhD Candidate, and two university professors. The project is funded in the context of the research program "Effects of media representations of the refugee and immigration crisis on intergroup attitudes and perceptions between Greeks and immigrants: an experimental approach" (MIS 5047933) under the call for proposals "Support of researchers with emphasis on young researchers - Call B" and co-financed by Greece and the European Union (European Social Fund- ESF) through the Operational Program “Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning 2014-2020”.