SYRIAN REFUGEES IN THE UK: GOVERNMENT BORDER POLICY AND MEDIA REPRESENTATION

SYRIAN REFUGEES IN THE UK: GOVERNMENT BORDER POLICY
AND MEDIA REPRESENTATION/COVERAGE

Abstract:
The project will establish a close and a detailed look at the issues that are facing Syrian Refugees in the UK, and the difficulties they face during their pursuit of a safe haven through an extensive study into two major factors affecting their lives: the government’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis, its policies and practices, and the UK media coverage of the crisis and the way the Syrian refugees have been portrayed, with a focus on the press. The hypothesis that the project will explore and acknowledge is the relationship between the UK government’s policies and response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the local media coverage: Does the media play a role in forming the political opinion? Has the government exploited the media to determine and control the popular perception of reality? Or is a two-sided relationship?

Research Questions and Objectives:

The project will provide answers to the questions: “Has the UK government responded efficiently and effectively to the Syrian refugee crisis?” “How has the UK media, represented by newspapers, contributed to our understanding of Syrian refugees in the UK?” “Can we acknowledge a relationship between the government response and media coverage?”

I will handle these questions by looking at the following sub-questions:

• What are policies and practices followed by the UK government regarding the Syrian refugee crisis?
• Has the government, represented by Home Office, produced and adopted regulations and procedures to contribute effectively to solving and containing the problem?
• How have refugees in the UK been represented in the national newspapers?
• Did attention for refugees differ among different newspapers?
• How can these differences and their underlying choices be explained?
• Have major events in the Syrian conflicts affected the UK government’s response to the Syrian refugee issue? How does the UK media depict these events? Can we set a pattern?
• How does government policy and media coverage affect the life of the Syrian refugees’ in the UK?

This project is a multidisciplinary analysis that has a political and social depth. The overarching objective is to define and analyse the policies adopted by the UK government towards such an important issue and to explore their justifications, implications and effects, and to examine how the refugee and migrant crisis is being reported in the UK media, focusing on the national press, finding out the image of the Syrian refugees as portrayed by these newspapers, and the impact of such portrayal on the lives of the Syrian refugees.
To do that, the research will study the UK government response to the Syrian Refugees crisis and the UK media coverage from April 2013 to April 2014, a year that witnessed major events in the life of the Syrian crisis: the rise of ISIS in Syria and the chemical attack in Ghouta, tracing both the UK government’s response and the UK media’s reaction to these events, among others in the same period, and inspecting the effect of this reaction on the lives of Syrian refugees in the UK, and on any potential asylum seeker.

Research Methodology:
Data collection

The research is library-based. Primary data will be documents and articles collected mainly through online sources, and secondary data will be collected from academic research, books, journal articles and online resources. The primary data for this research will be chosen from governmental documents, officials’ statements and press releases, in addition to newspaper articles on the issue published between April 2013 and April 2014.

The project will study a number of governmentaldocuments (including Home Office’s), officials’ press releases and statements on the subject, and 20 newspaper articles from 2 different UK mainstream national newspapers representing different prevailing political and social ideologies in the country (The Guardian (Left), The Daily Mail (Right).

To the writer:
Dealing with the UK media, I have 2 choices and would like to know what you think is more
1- To stick to 2 broadsheets: The Guardian (Left) and Daily Mail (Right), analysing 10 articles each between April 2013 and April 2014, trying to set a pattern.
OR
2- To adopt a more eclectic approach and include more local newspapers including tabloids such as: Daily Mirror (Left) and Daily Mail (Right).