Dr Gina Netto from the School of the Built Environment (SBE) was asked to attend the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Commission on 29 June where she provided evidence and answered questions relating to the media's portrayal of migration.
She was joined on the panel of experts by Professor Greg Philo from the Glasgow University Media Group and Dr Jairo Lugo-Ocando, lecturer in journalism studies at the University of Stirling. There was also a second panel of witnesses who represented the media and gave evidence later in the session.
Dr Netto had prepared for the session by arranging a pre-meeting with members of migrant support groups in May where she had canvassed opinion about how the media portray immigration. The participating organisations were Nari Kallyan Shangho; the Scottish Refugee Council; Health in Mind; Sanctuary, Trust/Bield and Hanover Housing Associations; Migrant Rights Network; and the Council for Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations. Colleagues who also attended the meeting from SBE were Dr. Filip Sosenko and Elodie Lassire.
The academic panel concurred that the tone of the media reporting was overwhelmingly negative and often inaccurate, with variations between London based and Scottish based media, and with written and broadcast media. Dr. Netto also argued that since the media often reflected the views of politicians, it was important for politicians to highlight the positive contribution of migrant groups and organisations to Scottish public life, including its economy, given Scotland's aging population. She was of the view that the tone of media reports played an important role in informing public discourse around important issues such as immigration, social cohesion and the economy.
Due to the highly topical nature of migration and the proposed changes to policy by the Government, Dr Netto and her colleagues' evidence will help to provide information that will impact on important policy decisions.
Gina is a social scientist with a specialist interest in ethnicity, identity and multiculturalism, and a broader interest in the position of vulnerable groups across a broad range of policy areas including health, housing, social care, employment and the arts.
For more information, see the Scottish Parliament Equal Opportunities Committee.