“Linking Media and Research: A Migration Case Study” is a recently completed project on cross-border migration, including comparative media surveys of news coverage on foreign migrants in seven countries – China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
Begun in 2001, it represents the first major group project by public intellectuals associated with the Asia Leadership Fellow Program (ALFP), co-organized by the International House of Japan and the Japan Foundation.
The 2001ALFP Fellows, together with three additional researchers, tackled an issue that they, and many others, believe is critical to the future of the region: migration – more specifically, looking at the relationship between public attitudes, government policies and media coverage on foreign migrants. It was their belief then, as it is even more so now after concluding the research – with results produced in the form of a media information kit – that media, public opinion, government policy-making and the treatment of foreign migrants are all spokes of a single wheel that can be positively influenced through a more informed, sensitive and responsible media environment.
This transnational study included individual country reports on migration and media surveys of coverage by mainstream news organizations (newspapers and TV), summarizing the trends of the major theatres of migratory movements in South, Southeast and East Asian countries into five critical aspects of migration – historico-cultural, socio-political, economic, security-strategic and media responses.
While ‘the media’ is often criticized for sensationalism, the 2001ALFP Fellows regarded it important to look more closely at the constraints that media journalists and executives face, as well as at their sources of information.
Two of the study group members will be making a presentation on the process and the findings of the overall research, joined by two discussants who will comment on the significance of this transnational endeavor.