Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Roma in French & UK Media

Mark A. Baker II.

Comparison between the representation of the current Roma deportations in two French media sources L’ Humanite (Liberal) and Le Figaro (Conservative) to the transnational UK media source the BBC(State owned/neutral).

Immigration in Franc France was country of Immigration for over 150 years. Immigration was a remedy for an aging population in France. In relation to the Post WWII economic boom and France needing workers for It’s industrial and manufacturing sectors of the economy Post 1950s immigrant groups in France include: North Africans

Eastern Europeans. (Peignard, 1) Noticeable shift in unfavourable attitudes of French Population towards these groups.

Comparison of the representation of the Roma expulsions in L’Humanite (Liberal) to Le Figaro (Conservative). L’Humanite (Liberal) Represents the Roma as “individuals” and avoids “collectively marginalizing them. An example would be an actual interview of a single Roma mother of two. This interview is important because it “humanizes” the Roma who were expelled from France. It combats stereotypes of the Roma being “lazy” or a “burden to society”. The interview demonstrates that Roma have similar values to other French citizens, in relation to the mother in the interview wanting her children to receive an education. (Presentation of Photographs). The article in L’Humanite titled the interview with the Roma mother, “Madeline-Maria, mere de famille rom veut sortir de le spirale In fernale”- translation “the mother wants to leave the cycle of hell” This is in relation to the article discussing many challenges faced by Roma migrants to France, of who are E.U. citizens and some even having the potential to apply for refugee status. L’Humanite is important because this form of media demonstrates how media is able to portray a certain group of people or an issue. Adversely, media is potentially dangerous in relation to its ability to reaffirm commonly known stereotypes. L’Humanite also emphasizes in the article that despite their for expulsions from France that Roma are indeed E.U. citizens and are entitled to due process under the law. This transitions into the next legal matter pertaining to the Roma which is the right of E.U. citizens having free movement in E.U. member states.

Le Figaro (Conservative)

Le Figaro discusses the Roma in very “broad” and “loose” terms. The collective identity of the Roma being viewed as a collective entity rather than the discussion of individual Roma.

Differences from L’Huamnite include Le Figaro discussing the Roma in more broad terms; examples include several Le Figaro titles of articles pertaining to the Roma.

« Roms et gens du Voyage en France » (Translation: Roma and people of travel in Europe).

« L’Europe de l’Est peine a integrer les Roms » (Translation : Eastern Europe struggling to reintegrate deported Roma)

« Le pauvrette pousse le Roms à partir » (Translation : The poverty pushing the Roma to leave)

Le Figaro’s lack of descriptive pictures and collective portrayal of the Roma is in stark contrast to L’Humanite. Le Figaro deals with the immigration issue in similar ways to many French media entities which scarcely represent the issues pertaining to immigration problems in France.

The differences between L’Humanite and Le Figaro are two classic example of “Political Polarization” which is present in Hallin and Mancini Mediterranean Model.

Comparison between the French Media sources to the transnational UK BBC.

The BBC represents the Roma expulsion issues in more broader and European context. Examples in headlines to BBBC articles.

1. E.U. may take legal action against France over Roma”

2. “Amnesty Accuses Hungary of failing to Protect Roma”

3. “France gets reprieve on Roma”

Rather than having partisan representation the BBC in relation to the North Atlantic Liberal Model in Hallin and Mancini has more of a more neutral and over viewing perspective towards the deportations. The BBC in relation to their representation of the Roma provides a timeline of events in 2010 that were of significance to the Roma pertaining to their experiences in France and greater Europe.

Ex: France Roma row

· 19 July: A French Roma mob riots in the Loire Valley town of Saint-Aignan after police shoot a Roma man dead

· 29 July: President Sarkozy orders the clearing of 300 illegal Roma and traveler camps within three months

· 9 September: With about 1,000 foreign Roma already deported from France, the European Parliament demands an end to the policy; France vows to continue

· 14 September: EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding draws parallels with WWII

· 16 September: President Sarkozy tells EU summit Reding's words were "disgusting and shameful"

(BBC, 29, 2010)

EU warns France of action over Roma (BBC September 29, 2010)

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