Title Political and media framing of irregular migration across lithuania-belarus border /
Translation of Title Nereguliarios migracijos per Lietuvos-Baltarusijos sieną politinis ir žiniasklaidos rėminimas.
Authors Navickas, Rokas
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Pages 79
Keywords [eng] Nereguliari migracija, prieglobsčio prašytojai, rėmai, politinis rėminimas, žiniasklaidos rėminimas, Lietuva, Baltarusija. Irregular migration, asylum seekers, frames, political framing, media framing, Lithuania, Belarus
Abstract [eng] In 2021, Lithuania faced with irregular migration across the border with Belarus when Alexander Lukashenko’s regime started organising crossings of asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa to Lithuania and other neighbouring countries. In response to this situation, politicians had to present their assessment of irregular migration and views on asylum seekers, while media had to make decisions how to portray irregular migration and shape public debate. Communication and framing of asylum seekers have a significant influence how the society will perceive migration, whether it will become a polarizing issue, increase political tensions and create favourable environment for authoritarian-populist parties. Recently conducted surveys show highly negative attitude of Lithuanians towards migrants and refugees. More than two thirds of Lithuanians obtain information about migration from the media, therefore, it is relevant to find out how politicians and media framed irregular migration when Lithuanian institutions had to manage increased flows of migration. To answer the research question, the framing theory was used. Frames select and highlight some facets of events or issues, promote a particular interpretation, evaluation, and solution. Frames distinguish information from the general discourse as the used concepts by a communicator are more noticeable, meaningful, or memorable to audiences. The qualitative content analysis was applied to analyse the empirical data. It was gathered from selected articles on LRT.lt, 15min.lt and Lrytas.lt news websites according to the set timeframes of 4 major events from 10 July 2021 to 28 December 2021. The total number of selected articles is 366. Based on the framing theory, three groups of frames were distinguished: restriction, cosmopolitan and solidarity. Restriction frames consider the arrival of new migrants as causing different problems. The provided arguments are related with the need to impose strict restrictions on incoming migrants and strict rules getting permits to live in a country. Cosmopolitan frames claim that the universal human rights, principles of non-refoulment, individualism and generality are of key importance. They provide arguments for open borders and limited right of states to control migration. Humanitarian frames stress the host society’s duty to help and the welcoming approach, therefore, it calls for a humanitarian stance in the public discourse. Humanitarianism emphasizes open and fair asylum policy based on compassion and solidarity. After coding the empirical data, two new frames were identified: unpreparedness and EU issue frame. The security frame prevails in the media discourse where increased migration flows are linked with the threat to national security. A sufficiently larger number of articles promoted more stringent restrictions in managing increased migration flows. Politicians were the most quoted and interviewed group, therefore, they had many opportunities to present their views on irregular migration, frame asylum seekers and propose policy measures. While asylum seekers themselves, NGOs, experts were significantly less interviewed. As a result, these groups had less influence on dominating frames. Migrants and refugees are not portrayed as persons because of the highly securitized rhetoric and association of asylum seekers with a threat to society. They were described as participants of hybrid warfare, possible criminals, goods or tools. This rhetoric causes dehumanizing effect when asylum seekers are not considered as persons but portrayed as an abstraction or associated with a threat. The research findings suggest that such framing potentially promoted negative views towards migrants and refugees.
Dissertation Institution Vilniaus universitetas.
Type Master thesis
Language English
Publication date 2023