The tabloid is considered to be very popular in Britain. It tends to be superficial in its treatment of events and much of its material is trivialized. Due to emotive language, provocative headlines and striking pictures, it catches the mass readership. The popular newspapers never get tired of sensational and scandalous stories. Domestic Hate Campaigns can be regarded as one of the categories that the tabloids promote. How can we recognise a Hate Campaign and what do the popular newspapers intend with such Campaigns? First of all, a Hate Campaign can be very successful and influential over a period of time because of its continuous reporting about a certain topic. Due to this, people are constantly confronted with one and the same topic in which they start to believe by and by. Secondly, it is obvious that a Hate Campaign works against a certain group of people who are different from the majority of people. To such minority groups belong foreigners who can be divided into immigrants and asylum seekers or refugees. In general, immigrants are people who decide to settle down in another country in order to get a better job or to improve their living standard. Asylum seekers are people who seek refuge in a foreign country in order to escape persecution, war, natural disaster or famine.1 Moreover, everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum because it is a fundamental human right.2 Hostile media coverage of asylum and refugees undermine the lives of those who had to suffer in their home country. Is it really justified to say that Hate Campaigns against foreigners reinforce xenophobia in Britain and incite the British population against immigrants and asylum seekers?
Britain is a multicultural society where many different cultures and religions coexist. It is very difficult to define the meaning of ‘Britishness’ in Great Britain because the people there have always been culturally and ethnically diverse (Oakland 51). It is obvious that people from Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are distinctive in their way of life and that is why the meaning of contemporary ‘Britishness’ is problematic (Oakland 51). The British population is not distinctively English but is an intermixture of races. Due to postwar migration, migration within Great Britain, globalisation and closer association with Europe, people in Britain are afraid of losing their social identity. “Before the Second World War, most Commonwealth immigrants to Britain came from the largely white Old Commonwealth countries of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and from South Africa”(Oakland 47). During and after the Second World War many “people from the non-white New Commonwealth nations of India, Pakistan and the West Indies came to Britain to fill the vacant manual and lower-paid jobs of an expanding economy” (Oakland 47). The result of an increased non-white community was that British people began to feel hostility towards newcomers. As Britain possesses a deep-rooted racism based on the legacy of empire and notions of racial superiority, the integration of the non-white population was and is still difficult (Oakland 47). As a consequence immigration is seen “as a threat to British moral, social and cultural values” (Oakland 51). The tabloid papers play a decisive role in stirring up xenophobic hatred among the British society. Moreover, the popular newspapers claim to represent the ordinary man in the street. They have created a general stereotype of scrounging and dishonest asylum seekers who savour social benefits living in Britain. The oft cited newspapers which set out to scapegoat migrant groups are: The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express and The Daily Star. In comparison, all popular newspapers report similar stories about foreigners. The tabloid had made many claims during the last few years and it continues to publish inaccurate and misleading stories which destroy the reputation of foreign groups.
First of all, the tabloids claim that immigrants and asylum seekers are a burden for the British society. It is said that the number of immigrants in Great Britain rises constantly and puts schools, hospitals and public services at full stretch.3 The Mirror states its claim: “…mass migration creates a pool of cheap labour, increases the number of indigenous unemployed and puts incredible strains on schools, hospitals and housing.”4 The fact that “[o]nly the UK, Ireland and Sweden allowed completely free movement of labour from the former communist states in 2004” explains the high figures of immigrants who live in Britain.5 Furthermore, over 500,000 immigrants from the 10 EU accession states of 2004 have registered to work in the UK.6 It is claimed that foreign workers drive down wages in some areas, for example on building sites. Due to negative reports about immigrants in the tabloid press, people are concerned about the consequences of the EU expansion on January 1. They are afraid of the possibility of losing their job and of wage reductions in areas where foreign workers predominate. They believe that a new wave from Bulgaria and Romania might have negative impact on their social position. Secondly, another claim that was made in 2003 by The Sun is that in
50 years Whites will be in minority in London and in 100 years the entire country.7 The tabloid blames the government for poor immigration policy. The Sun reporter, Mel Hunter, argues in an article that the Labour party “has lost control of the immigration system, which has descended into a complete and utter shambles.”8 Some politicians also express their scepticism regarding immigration. Shadow Home Secretary David Davis says in an article of The Sun that “uncontrolled immigration endangers the values that [people] … in Britain rightly treasure.”9 That means that the prevailing immigration policy is seen as a danger to the British society. Thirdly, The Daily Mail argued that Britain is the number one destination for asylum seekers among the G7 major industrialised nations.10 Thus, flawed statistics were given by saying that “Britain grants asylum to more people each year than Germany, Canada and even the USA… .“11 The fact is that the “UK hosts far fewer refugees and asylum seekers than many industrialised and non-industrialised countries. Pakistan (1,084,694), Germany (781,116) and Iran (716,611) hosted the most refugees in 2005… “.12 The Daily Mail claimed also that in 2003 British application acceptance rates were the highest in the G7 and that Britain’s asylum processing was inefficient.
2 http://www.unhcr.org.uk/info/briefings/statistics/index.html (27.12.2006)
3 http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2004462382,00html (25.11.2006)
4 http://www.mirror.co.uk/printable_version.cfm?objectid=17675183&siteid=94762 (27.11.2006)
5 http://www.guardian.co.uk/immigration/story/0„1953488,00.html (25.11.2006)
6 http://www.guardian.co.uk/immigration/story/0„1953488,00.html (25.11.2006)
7 https://www.irr.org.uk/2003/march/ak000003.html (2.01.2007)
8 http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2005410555,00.html (3.01.2007)
9 http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2004462382,00html (25.11.2006)
10 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/text/print.html?in_article_id=313256&in_page_id=... (26.11.2006)
11 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/text/print.html?in_article_id=313256&in_page_id=... (26.11.2006)
12 http://www.unhcr.org.uk/info/briefings/statistics/index.html (27.12.2006)
- Quote paper
- Anonymous, 2007, British Tabloids. Domestic Hate Campaigns Against Foreigners, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/295418