The Refugee Crisis’ Double Standards: Media Framing and the Proliferation of Positive and Negative Narratives During the Ukrainian and Syrian Crises

20 March 2023 | Policy Brief | English


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Within the framework of EuroMeSCo, a project co-funded by the European Union and the IEMed.


This paper examines how media framing of the Ukrainian and Syrian refugee crises affected public opinion and policy-making in the European Union. Despite the disparity in the number of refugees from Ukraine and Syria, positive-centered media coverage of the Ukrainian crisis mobilised citizen and political action in favour of welcoming Ukrainian refugees, the complete opposite of the negative media framing of Syrian refugees in 2015.

The paper argues that media coverage can play a crucial role in shaping public opinion and influencing policy-making, and discusses the impact of geopolitical, historical, and cultural variables in the policy-making process. Matías Ibañez provides examples of differentiated media treatment and framing on Ukrainian and Syrian refugees based on double standards and make recommendations to the European Commission and media newsrooms to mitigate discrimination on policy decisions and media coverage.

Visit the EuroMeSCo website to download the report.