This is a Chapter of the Study “How does the media on both sides of the Mediterranean report on migration?” carried out and prepared by the Ethical Journalism Network and commissioned in the framework of EUROMED Migration IV – a project, financed by the European Union and implemented by ICMPD. © European Union, 2017.


Journalism on the Spot as Europe’s Asylum Leader Takes a Change of Direction

Arne Konig

That 2016 was a year of intensive reporting of migration in the Swedish media comes as no surprise. Sweden had become the European Union country with the highest number of arriving asylum seekers per capita after almost 163,000 asylum seekers had arrived in 2015, compared to roughly 80,000 in the previous year.

In the autumn of 2015 the government argued that restrictions were needed, to uphold “order and security” in the country. They introduced severe restrictions to reduce the numbers of arriving refugees. In a short period of time, the image of Sweden changed from a country seen as perhaps the most “generous” in Europe, concerning migration, to being one of the most restrictive. During 2016 only 29,000 asylum seekers reached Sweden.

This change was also reflected in the media. The editorial tone went from welcoming to a more negative one in relation to migrants, as problems related to migration came in focus. The SOM-institute at the University of Gothenburg, which makes yearly surveys on social questions in Sweden, found that when it comes to issues that most concern Swedes, the question of migration and arriving refugees had become the most important.

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How do media on both side of the mediterranean report on migration?

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