Europe, it seems, is facing a ‘migration crisis’. This crisis is ‘testing’ for, amongst others, the British public, because, as our Prime Minister David Cameron explained in an interview with ITV News:
you have got a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain because Britain has got jobs, it’s got a growing economy, it’s an incredible place to live.
So just who is this ‘swarm’? It is not at all clear, as whilst the BBC reports on Calais’ ‘battles’ with a ‘migrant influx trying to reach UK’, Al Jazeera’s ‘Inside Story’ asks instead whether those who have fled conflict are being undermined by the language used to describe their plight, taking an editorial decision not to refer to those crossing the Mediterranean as ‘migrants’ and using instead the term ‘refugees’.
The migrant vs refugee binary is not the only distinction being drawn in media reporting of Europe’s ‘migrant crisis’. In addition to the traditional differentiation between asylum and migration and the shifting sympathies which accompany it, we have also seen renewed attention being paid to the ‘deserving refugee’ and the ‘bogus asylum-seeker’. Thus at the same time as the Daily Mail urges the Government to grant asylum to ex-military translators and highlights the violence that they and their families experience (and the risks and costs of being ‘smuggled’ to the UK), the newspaper also ‘reveals’ the ‘trafficker’ who is ‘smuggling’ hundreds across the Mediterranean and ‘investigates’ a ‘cabal’ of asylum charities for, amongst other things, holding the Government to account. Continue reading