Migrant Objectification in Television News Discourse in the Context of Criminalisation: An Example Concerning Slovenian Public Television Broadcast News

Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 81)


The chapter discusses how the evening news bulletin on Slovenian public television Dnevnik reports about the attempts of migrants to reach Western Europe across the Balkan borders. Based on our analysis of the split-screen television technique utilisation and case studies of two television news bulletins, we argue that migrant objectification, as an effect of television reporting, is the basis for the normalisation of migrant criminalisation. We primarily address reporting where migrants are merely passive objects of control and care, mute objects when spoken of by the media, politicians, police and care providers, and rarely allowed to actively speak on their own behalf and voice their concerns. The combined elements of migrants rarely given voice and so a chance to represent themselves instead of being represented by external instances, and, in some cases, even discursively constructed as an invisible danger, threatening to invade Slovenian (and by extension EU) territory by illegally crossing the Slovenian border, normalises their criminalisation. Additionally, not allowing migrants an autonomous, self-representing voice enables a variety of other discourses, primarily humanitarian discourse and discourse related to securitisation, to be applied to them as exclusively externally defined, mute, and thus objectified topic of discourse.


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  2. TV programme Dnevnik, broadcast on 25 October, 2015.
  3. TV programme Dnevnik, broadcast on 14 November 2015.
  4. TV programme Dnevnik, Illegal Border Crossing [Nezakoniti prestop meje], broadcast on 6 February 2018. Between 22:16 and 24:26 minutes.
  5. TV programme Dnevnik, V reki Kolpi utonila dva migranta [Two Migrants Drowned in the River Kolpa], broadcast on 10 April 2018. Between 11:25 and 13:24 minutes. ttp:// Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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