A major Idasa report, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œPress Coverage of Cross Border Migration to
South Africa Since 2000ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, says the countryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s newspapers and news wire
services have played a major role in inflaming xenophobic sentiment, according to a report in the Sunday Times.
Drawing on earlier research, the 2005 study noted that less than 10% of South Africans had a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œgreat dealÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â of contact with foreign Africans ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â and that, therefore, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œanti-immigration sentiment in the region is not primarily a result of (personal experience) with foreigners but rather the product of (mis)information from secondary sources, including the mediaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
In a study of 950 press reports on immigration, the survey found:
# More than half the articles used at least one negative reference ( job stealers, criminals, illegals …). This cumulative effect of rhetoric is perhaps the most revealing statistic of all;
# 17% used a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œnegative metaphorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â to describe the migration, eg. floods, waves or hordes;
# 22% associated migrants with crime;
20% referred to migrants as illegals
# ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe long discredited figure of nine million illegal immigrants living in South Africa … continues to be reproduced in the pressÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â;
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œA large amount of press coverage remains anti-immigration and non-analyticalÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â;
# Of the articles that used the term ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œjob stealersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, the SA Press Association (Sapa) was by far the worst offender, making up 38%; and
# The problem was inflamed by ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthe growth of a tabloid press in SA . . . which latch on to reactionary and sensational issues and attitudesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Click here to read the full report, posted on the Sunday Times website. Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â