News Media Representations of Immigrants in the Canadian Criminal Justice System

News Media Representations of Immigrants in the Canadian Criminal Justice System

Book - 2013
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Media representations of immigrants in the criminal justice system significantly influence public opinion about immigration and about crime. As a social institution, the news media plays an important role in shaping public policies like immigration and criminal justice. This paper discusses the findings from a study of newspaper articles on immigrants in the Canadian criminal justice system between 1990 and 2005. A total of 650 articles were collected from two news databases for this study. Research findings indicate that immigrants are primarily portrayed as criminals in the news media. The four dominant images of immigrants and the justice system in the print news media are: 1) immigrants as war criminals; 2) immigrants as organized criminals (gang members/members of smuggling rings/terrorists); 3) immigrants as individual criminals; and 4) illegal immigrants. Crimes of violence involving immigrants as perpetrators and illegal immigration were the two most reported crimes found in the period studied. The dominant media slant in the news stories was either hostile towards immigrants, or concerned about the behavior of immigrants. I argue that the overwhelmingly negative portrayal of immigrants involved in the criminal justice system in Canada's print media reinforces long-standing stereotypes about immigrants and makes it more difficult for immigrants to be seen as legitimate victims of crime.
Publisher: Vancouver, B.C. : Metropolis British Columbia, 2013 (Beaconsfield, Quebec : Canadian Electronic Library, 2013)
Description: 1 electronic text (51 p.) : digital file
Branch Call Number: 364.308691 Cha

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