Wars, insurgent groups, dictatorships, and economic crises are the main reasons for forced migration. Displaced persons, asylum seekers, and refugees often face public stigmatization, as they are treated by the media as a social problem and, in many cases, seen as economic and social threats. This article presents the results of in-depth interviews with expert journalists and researchers from different Latin American countries on the phenomenon of forced migration and its journalistic coverage. Their recommendations are complemented by Qualitative Document Analysis (QDA) of international guides on migration journalism. The findings highlight the need for training and awareness-raising in critical skills and social analysis for journalists to understand the complexity of human mobility and approach it from a human rights perspective, as well as to project the positive contributions of migrants to the host society. Findings suggest the need to avoid disseminating and magnifying hate speech, which may be used to justify discrimination and violence against migrants. This highlights the fact that migration issues must be dealt with under slow journalism schemes, with an emphasis on research, thus avoiding falling into xenophobic discourse due to the very immediacy that the digital ecosystem demands.


journalism, forced migration, hate speech, media framing, xenophobia, Latin America, qualitative document analysis

Author Bio(s)

Gabriel Lotero-Echeverri is a professor at the Faculty of Social Communication and Journalism of the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (Medellín, Colombia). He holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the Universities of Seville, Malaga, Huelva, and Cadiz (Spain), in the line of Educommunication and Media Literacy. He is a Journalist from the University of Antioquia (Medellin, Colombia) and has a master’s degree in communication and education from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (Spain). His research interests are focused on media coverage of migration, especially in the case of Venezuelan migration to other South American countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Please direct correspondence to gabrielj.lotero@upb.edu.co.

Luis M. Romero-Rodríguez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Sociology at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid, Spain). He holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the Universities of Seville, Malaga, Huelva, and Cadiz (Spain), in the line of Educommunication and Media Literacy, and has a master’s degree in social communication from the University of Almeria (Spain). His research interests are focused on digital media, xenophobic and hate speeches, and the social responsibility of institutions. Please direct correspondence to luis.romero@urjc.es.

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