Friday, 30 November 2018 16:02

AUSTRIA/GERMANY – Tabloid constructs narratives of invasion using false figures

Austrian tabloid Krone has published an article that, using fabrications and inflammatory language, depicts inexisting threats from migrants. This is Germany's media monitoring highlight for November.

This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of November, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.

kroneDate of publication: 4 November 2018

Media Outlet: Kronen Zeitung Austria’s largest tabloid newspaper with a wide circulation

Author: Richard Schmitt


Headline: “Experts to ‘Krone’: ‘Now, a very different [type] is coming’”

Description of the anti-Muslim content:  This article – which first appeared on the Krone’s website but which was then used as a source by the German outlets such as Compact Magazin – reports about an alleged impending “Grenzsturm” ("storming of the border") at the Croatian border. An unnamed “insider expert” from the Austrian Ministry of the Interior warns about an imminent breakthrough attempt by “at least 20,000 migrants”. These migrants are said to be primarily from Pakistan, Iran, Algeria, and Morocco – all countries with a Muslim majority. According to the “expert,” 95 percent of these migrants “attempting to break through there, are young men, almost all of them are armed with knives.” The Croatian police is said to be struggling to contain this “mass of armed migrants”. The expert also claims that migrants are provided with financial support in the form of “UNHCR pre-paid credit cards.”

Myth debunked: The message conveyed by this piece is that of an onslaught of aggressive invaders who are too numerous and too dangerous to be stopped are entering Europe illegally. The image of knife-wielding Muslim invaders provokes fear among the readers. The numbers quoted in the article, however, are incorrect. Contrary to what it is implied in the article, 20,000 migrants have never been in the country at the same time – 20,000 is the overall number of migrants that were registered in the neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2018. When asked by the German public service television network ARD in their Vienna studio, the UNHCR said that there are currently 5,000 migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moreover, the Croatian Ministry of Interior stated that Croatia has sufficient capacities to deal with possible threats at its border. And finally, the pre-paid credit cards provided by the UNHCR would be of little use to migrants crossing to Croatia, as the UNHCR is handing these out exclusively in Greece and that is the only place where they can be used. All this contributes to create a hostile environment for refugees based on misinformation.

More to read:

How we all colluded in Fortress Europe

The lucrative business of fending off migrants 

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