Italian 'media uses animal references for immigrant crime'

University study says perception distorted by press and TV

Italian 'media uses animal references for immigrant crime'

(ANSA) - Padua, September 11 - A study released by the University of Padua on racial profiling in Italian media said that 66.7% of the metaphors linked to immigrant criminality use dehumanizing, animal references. According to the report, if the attacker is non-Italian, in 65% of the cases definitions like "wild" or "beastly" are used. Instead, if the perpetrator is Italian, 66.7% of the metaphors are linked to volatile actions and use words such as "lite up, burst or exploded," said the survey. A conference presenting the report called 'Immigration, Fear of Crime and the Media: Roles and Responsibilities' will be held September 14 in Padua at the Palazzo del Bo. The research, supported by the Cariparo Foundation and directed by Jeroen Vaes from the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization at the university, looks at the ways in which media shapes the perceptions of immigrants and citizen safety in Italy. The survey also says that up to 20% of the Italian public overestimates the number of foreigners in the country and automatically associates their presence as a threat to public safety and to criminal and terrorist activities. According to the researchers, this alarm is related to the way the Italian media portray immigration by using "misleading representations that create prejudices and stereotypes against those who arrive in our country," says the report.

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