Integration and (Non)Representation of Migrants in Polish Media and the Polish Public Sphere
MEDIVA National Event organized by the School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University and the Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw May 18th, 2012
What is the media role in shaping the image of migrants in Poland? Are migrants adequately engaged by journalists to comment on their situation? The role of the media in discourse on diversity and integration of immigrants in Poland was discussed during the seminar organized by the Institute of Public Affairs and Adam Mickiewicz University on May 18, 2012.
During the first part of the seminar the results of research carried out within the MEDIVA project were presented (Media for Diversity and Migrant Integration - Consolidating Knowledge & Practices Assessing Media across the EU). The aim of the project is to improve the capacity of the media to reflect the diversity of European societies and the mechanisms and processes of immigrant integration. Presentation of the project objectives and results were given by representatives of A. Mickiewicz University: dr. hab. Michał Krzyżanowski, dr. Artur Lipinski, prof. Małgorzata Fabiszak and Samuel Bennett, MA. Panelists focused their presentations on content analysis of Polish and foreign media and indicators assessing the ability of media to reflect diversity and promote integration.
The second part of the seminar was devoted to the panel discussion with participation of prof. Michał Buchowski (A. Mickiewicz University), Justyna Seges Frelak (IPA), Jakub Janiszewski (Tok FM), dr. Joanna Fomina (Stefan Batory Foundation) and Myroslava Keryk ("Our Choice" Foundation). Experts pointed out various aspects of media impact on shaping the image of migrants in Poland, and thus on the course and dynamics of integration processes. They also emphasized the fact that interest in the situation of migrants among Polish journalists is relatively small. This situation is connected with the fact that “migration issues" in Poland are not a part of political agenda, and therefore do not attract much interest of public opinion and decision makers.
Furthermore, panelists repeatedly underlined the need to promote success stories in the media and the positive aspects of their integration for example with the local community. According to the current trend, Polish media either report on topics related to migration mostly in cases when the violation of their rights takes place or show a migrant as a person with a complicated legal situation and low financial status. That is why a migrant is very often presented, and thus perceived, as a victim. An important issue that emerged in the discussion was also the fact that media reports have impact not only on the perception of migrants by the Poles, but also on the perception of migrants by themselves, which have an influence on the process of integration. The discussion was moderated by dr. hab. Michał Krzyżanowski from A. Mickiewicz University.