Migration and the media

The on-going crisis across Europe poses a challenge for the continent’s alliance of democratic states. In every country the media is filled with images of migrants fleeing war, suffering, or losing their lives during their journey. Yet Europe’s response has been mixed and the plans for dealing with this crisis are even more uncertain.

Final Report

This report presents the main findings of our cross-European analysis of the press across eight European countries, as well as in the two main European Arabic language newspapers. This was a systematic content analysis which focussed on three peak moments in the crisis, in the 2015 summer, early autumn and late autumn.

Developing a content analysis of influential press in a six-month period across eight European countries plus two of Europe’s major Arab language newspapers, this report offers a cross-national comparative perspective on the dynamics of news reporting. The study consequently provides a comprehensive view of variations in the representation of migrants and refugees across national press cultures and across time, offering reflections on the implications these have on European media as spaces of representation for distant others.

You can download the report here


The new research project from LSE’s Department of Media and Communications will, among other things, focus on understanding how the different histories and politics of European countries shape the variety of attitudes towards the crisis.

The research builds on the Department’s earlier work on migration and the media, and on the effects of media ethics on human wellbeing. 

Over the next 12 months this new project will:

  • look for patterns in the many different media treatments of  the crisis in the UK, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Serbia, Spain; 
  • conduct fieldwork in local languages close to the sites of entry and encounters between migrants and local populations;
  • consider how media in different countries should use images of migrants, and to what end;
  • ask what is the future of the ideal of ‘hospitality’ in Europe?

The Department will produce a public report by summer 2016 and feature initial findings at the annual Polis conference and at other public events from April 2016.

The launch of this project follows LSE’s announcement last week that it is set to increase its funding for scholarships for asylum seekers and refugees to nearly £500,000 per year. 



Professor Lilie Chouliaraki

Lilie Chouliaraki is Professor of Media and Communications. She joined the LSE in 2007 as Chair in Media and Communications.

Her main interest is in media ethics, broadly understood as the moral implications of mediated communication in contemporary public life. I have published extensively on the nature of mediated public discourse, particularly on the link between mediation, social action and cosmopolitan citizenship. 

More information can be found in her profile page

Myria Georgiou

Dr Myria Georgiou

Myria Georgiou is Associate Professor at the Dept. of Media and Communications, LSE. She has a PhD in Sociology (LSE), an MSc in Journalism (Boston University) and a BA in Sociology (Panteion University, Athens). Her research focuses on migration and diaspora, media and the city, and the ways in which media contribute to constructions of identity and meanings of cultural diversity. For more than 18 years she has been conducting and leading cross-national and transurban research across Europe and between British and American cities. She has also worked as a journalist for BBC World Service, Greek press, and the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.

More information can be found in her profile page.


Dr Ellen Helsper

Ellen Helsper is Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor in the Media and Communications Department at the LSE. Her current research interests include new media audiences; digital inclusion; mediated interpersonal communication; and quantitative and qualitative methodological developments in media research.

More information can be found in her profile page.


Dr Rafal Zaborowski

Rafal Zaborowski is an LSE Fellow in the Department of Media and Communications. In his research he has been interested in the critical approach, the co-evolution of media audiences and media institutions, as well as in innovative, critical, qualitative methods of academic inquiry. His doctoral thesis is an empirical analysis of Japanese audience engagements in a social and cultural context and an attempt to theoretically reformulate the concept of audience practices for both Japanese studies as well as audience and music studies. His previous research at Tohoku University critically approached the concept of ordinariness and youth values in popular song content.

More information can be found in his profile page.


During the 2016 POLIS conference on April 21, researchers from Media and Communications department’s European Migration Crisis and the Media project presented their preliminary findings for the first time. A panel consisting of Dr Myria Georgiou and Dr Rafal Zaborowski along with student researchers Antonis Dimitriadis, Lisa Elkhoury, Afroditi Koulaxi, Sadichchha Pokharel and Pauline Vidal discussed their research on European media coverage of the migration crisis. While the analysis is still ongoing, emerging findings suggest that despite significant differences across European regions, time periods and political stances of news outlets, there is a general, consistent move from humanitarianism towards militarisation in newspaper portrayals of the crisis.

More details can be found here