“Nobody Asked Us a Thing”: Media Representations of the Attempt to Establish an Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers near Petrinja Cover Image

"Nas nitko niš' ni' pital": Medijske reprezentacije slučaja pokušaja uspostave prihvatilišta za tražitelje azila kod Petrinje
“Nobody Asked Us a Thing”: Media Representations of the Attempt to Establish an Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers near Petrinja

Author(s): Helena Popović, Drago Župarić-Iljić, Kruno Kardov
Subject(s): Media studies, Migration Studies, Asylum, Refugees, Migration as Policy-fields
Published by: Hrvatsko sociološko društvo
Keywords: media; media representations; migration; asylum; securitization;

Summary/Abstract: The paper analyses media representations of migrants with a special focus on the case of an attempt to establish an accommodation centre for asylum seekers in the Croatian village Mala Gorica near Petrinja. After the closure of the Balkan Corridor, the movement of forced migrants through the countries on the Balkan route put the states in the region in a challenging position. The states had to develop migration management systems that would enable the organisation of acceptance and integration of refugees. The choice of location of reception and accommodation facilities for asylum seekers could often be a contentious issue for the local population. The media play an important role in the process of informing citizens since, along with other social actors in positions of power, they influence and shape the public discourse. In this paper, we used a qualitative content analysis of Croatian media articles published from November 2018 to May 2019 (N=52). In order to identify discourses, themes and frameworks that contribute to the understanding of the media representation of the above phenomenon we used the document analysis approach of Altheide and Schneider (2017). In the analysis of the arguments of various actors three themes were detected: the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, the relationship between the government and the people, and the relationship between the “center” (Zagreb) and the “periphery” (Petrinja). All three, in different variations, point to the problem of inequality, i.e., domination and subordination. We identified two dominant media frames in reporting: discursive construction of migrants as a social problem and conflict as a constitutive relationship between social actors. We discuss these findings and argue that this type of research enables a critical reflection on the role of media in public representations of marginalised social groups such as asylum seekers, which could then enable a more inclusive social environment and humane treatment of marginalised groups.

  • Issue Year: 52/2022
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 153-181
  • Page Count: 29
  • Language: Croatian