Distorted picture: Immigrants in German media

How does the German media report about people with a history of immigration? The media researcher Thomas Hestermann from the Macromedia University of Applied Sciences investigated this in a study for the Migration Media Service. People with an immigration history rarely have a voice in the media – even when they are being reported on. In only 12.3 percent of TV and newspaper reports about immigrants, are those mentioned quoted directly. For example, the “Bild-Zeitung” (6.9 percent) and the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (9.2 percent) rarely allow people with a history of immigration to speak, while the most quoting occurs in the “taz” (22.7 percent) and the “Welt” (20.6 percent).

More than 25 percent of the examined television and newspaper reports on people with a history of immigration deal with acts of violence. Only 2.9 percent of reports relay that they themselves are victims of violence. In addition, Thomas Hestermann already determined in 2019 that the media coverage extremely distorts the topic of foreign crimes: foreign-born suspects were mentioned 19 times more often in television reports than their statistical share, and 32 times more often in newspaper articles.

Overall, the media reports emphasize the risks of immigration in addition to reporting on violent acts: 36.4 percent of the reports deal primarily with violations of the law, costs and “alienation”. There are fewer reports about the opportunities that immigration offers, coming in at 15.1 percent. There are clear differences between the individual media: The “Bild” places particular emphasis on the risks, similar to the examined TV programs (over 46% risks versus 6–8% opportunities). The “Welt” most often emphasizes the chances of immigration (37.5 percent).

To the study: https://mediendienst-integration.de/fileadmin/Dateien/Expertise_Hestermann_Die_Unsichtbaren.pdf

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