Despite increasing violence against refugees in Germany, the media focus is on migrant criminality, a new study says.
There has been a significant increase, by about a third, in attacks on foreigners living in Germany. There has also been an increase by around a third in alleged non-German crime suspects. But this has not been adequately reflected in media reports this year.
Surprisingly, media coverage focused on the latter rather than the former, says Thomas Hestermann, Macromedia Media School journalism professor and head of the study. "The media are more likely to spotlight violent perpetrators from abroad." He and his team analyzed 283 articles from four leading national German newspapers and 81 TV news reports published and aired between January and April 2017. They found that compared to 2014, German news broadcasts this year aired four times as many reports on non-German crime suspects, even though criminal statistics show that crimes by non-German suspects have increased by a third. The media in varying degrees is generallly taking a much "darker" view of the refugee situation these days. Such coverage gives people a distorted impression, and can easily fuel prejudices, Hestermann warns.