Report: Media Portrayal of Immigration in the South African Media, 2011-2015
The issue of media representation of immigrants is particularly pertinent today, given the current anti-immigrant sentiment in parts of Europe and the United States. In South Africa, negative attitudes towards foreigners are common and media discursive descriptions of immigrants as illegal, undocumented or a dangerous threat are typical. This study utilises quantitative tools of analyis to explore the media coverage of immigration adapting the RASIM Corpus Linguistics (CL) approach. The rubric – REFUGEE, ASYLUM-SEEKERS, IMMIGRANT, MIGRANT is adjusted to RASFIM – REFUGEE, ASYLUM-SEEKER, FOREIGNER, IMMIGRANT, MIGRANT – to more appropriately account for the specific nuances of representrations of immigrants in the South African media. The data, comprising of over 5,000 relevant media articles, was drawn in annual tranches for the period 2011-2015. Our findings identify significant patterns that are consistent with extant literature on media constructions of foreigners as “illegal immigrants”.