Immigration in Uk- although not a recent occurrence, has become one of the most pressing social and economic issue for the country in the present times. With migrant population escalating by 22% during the open door policy period of 2000 to 2005 (Mail Online, 19 April 2012) and the number of immigrants and foreign born residents at its greatest than anytime in the history, immigration has also become a controversial political issue in Uk. In this essay, using Entman's model of framing, I will examine how the media and different political actors exercise framing of arguments supporting and opposing immigration and it's impact on British nationals trying to gain employment.
Entman defines framing as "to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text , in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation and/or treatment recommendation for the item described." (1993:52) The key points in Entman's model of framing are selection and salience. After a more or less conscious selection process of a matter, salience is given to certain elements to establish argument about the problem, its cause, evaluation and the solution to the problem - the four main purposes of framing. The news media frames the high unexpected numbers of immigration from European Union and non European Union countries, defining it not as an issue but as a potential problem and a socio-cultural threat to the country. The existing schemata in the belief system of present British population also view immigration as a potential problem due to the rise of foreign population. Schemata are the cognitive mental frameworks that help us perceive reality. Watson suggests that these existing schemata hugely affect our responses, despite our efforts to maintain impartiality. Therefore for successful communication, the communicator selects the issue of their interest highlighting the elements that fit with the receiver’s existing schemata. (2003:187)
I have chosen two contradicting news media articles on impact of immigration on employment of people in Uk, by MigrationWatch Uk and The Guardian, written with different political ideological perspective to analyse how framing a text in different ways serves different purposes. After the careful problem definition, framing diagnoses the problem addressing the associations and the sources of the problem. MigrationWatch Uk (6 Jan, 2012) diagnoses the high number of immigrants specially European Immigrants, to be a hindrance on possibilities of British nationals' employment. The article stresses on all the negative impact immigration has had on the local youth pointing out that the high number of skilled immigrant working for lower wages has thinned the chances of British born of getting the jobs they would have got were it not for the immigrants. On the other hand, the article published by The Guardian is in stark contrast with the former article which states that “Immigration to Britain has had little or no impact on the overall levels of unemployment, even during the recent recession.”(10 Jan, 2012) The article claims of having no evidence of negative impacts of immigration on employment in Britain. Therefore, a different diagnosis on the same issue shows how communication texts can be framed by giving salience to different elements.
The moral judgment then prompted by the framing of immigration suggests that the European Union(EU) immigrants have taken maximum advantage of the open border policy therefore abusing Britain’s generosity. By highlighting the numeric data of high number of British youth unemployment and EU employment, since 2004 till 2011, and showing the enormity of the problem, MigrationWatch UK suggests stopping anymore immigration and lowering the current number of immigrants as the only possible solution to minimize the negative effects of EU immigration on employment.
Migration Watch Uk is an...
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