03 Dec Sinking Strangers: Media Representations of Climate Refugees on the BBC and Al Jazeera
Tulloch, C. D.
Sinking Strangers: Media Representations of Climate Refugees on the BBC and Al Jazeera
Journal of Communication Inquiry
Vol (No), pp
This study seeks to investigate the media representations of climate refugees in two global media outlets: The BBC and Al Jazeera. An exhaustive sample of the online coverage from 2000 until 2017 has been gathered and examined through a content analysis guided by framing theory and multimodal critical discourse analysis. After reviewing the 29 news stories, this article finds that climate refugees are framed in four ways: as victims, security threats, activists, and abstractions. In both media outlets, climate refugees are aggregated, collectivized, and made generic—and their situation is deagentialized. The study concludes that the BBC mainly talks about climate refugees instead of talking to them and that this has an impact on the climate refugees’ depicted agency. Al Jazeera quotes more climate refugees in their journalistic coverage, and this allows the reader to understand and empathize. However, both media outlets tend to represent climate refugees as “third world others”: as sinking strangers.
Høeg, E., & Tulloch, C. D. (2019). Sinking Strangers: Media Representations of Climate Refugees on the BBC and Al Jazeera. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 43(3), 225-248. URL : https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0196859918809486