Almost 18,000 refugee-related news circulated in Turkish media in 2019

DAILY SABAH WITH IHA
ISTANBUL
Published 02.12.2019 15:49
Updated 02.12.2019 16:46

Turkish media this year have published some 17,814 news articles related to refugees.

According to media monitoring company Ajans Press, nearly 35,988 news articles have been published on the refugee issue and Syrian refugees, in particular, since the beginning of the civil war eight years ago.

The numbers are not surprising, considering Turkey hosts the biggest number of refugees in the world. The Ajans Press report also revealed that 14% of the world's refugees are in Turkey, followed by Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank, and Lebanon. According to the Interior Ministry, the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey was 3,687,244 as of 2019.

However, the remarkable number of media coverage does not always necessarily mean “positive” coverage on the issue. Back in January, the Research Center on Asylum and Migration (IGAM) released a report on the refugee media coverage in Turkish media between June 2017 and October 2018, with a focus on the content rather than numbers.

It showed that despite the considerable coverage, contents were mostly violence and crime-related, rather than success or integration stories. It also showed that the opinions of the refugees themselves were rarely included in the news stories.

Still, up until recently, media coverage of the refugees was quite low, especially during the first few years of the migration flow, showing that there has been some progress in Turkish media.

In 2017, Hacettepe University released a report, showing that the media’s interest in the issue was quite limited until then and the existing coverage at the time was filled with fake news.

Murat Erdoğan, head of the migration studies center at the Ankara-based university, said on the issue at that time that Turkish media outlets were mostly interested in "symbolic" incidents related to refugees such as dramatic images of Alan Kurdi, a Syrian toddler whose body washed ashore as he and his family tried to travel to Greece from Turkey. He said there was a lack of news reports offering a different angle or comment on the state of migrants.

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