Migration Reframed? A multilingual analysis on the stance shift in Europe during the Ukrainian crisis
The war in Ukraine seems to have positively changed the attitude toward the critical societal topic of migration in Europe — at least towards refugees from Ukraine. We investigate whether this impression is substantiated by how the topic is reflected in online news and social media, thus linking the representation of the issue on the Web to its perception in society. For this purpose, we combine and adapt leading-edge automatic text processing for a novel multilingual stance detection approach. Starting from 5.5M Twitter posts published by 565 European news outlets in one year, beginning September 2021, plus replies, we perform a multilingual analysis of migration-related media coverage and associated social media interaction for Europe and selected European countries.
The results of our analysis show that there is actually a reframing of the discussion illustrated by the terminology change, e.g., from “migrant” to “refugee”, often even accentuated with phrases such as “real refugees”. However, concerning a stance shift in public perception, the picture is more diverse than expected. All analyzed cases show a noticeable temporal stance shift around the start of the war in Ukraine. Still, there are apparent national differences in the size and stability of this shift.