Hyvä, katala vastajulkisuus: Populistisen vastamedian julkisen puhuttelun tavat maahanmuutto- ja pakolaiskeskustelussa

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles

Abstract

In 2015, a so-called “European refugee crisis” arising from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, engendered a large chasm in public debate on asylum seekers in Finland and other liberal democracies. In the mediated public debate, which took place primarily on the Internet, the views were polarized between two dissenting attitudes: multiculturalism advocates and those with an anti-immigrant stance. The emerging media outlets vocally challenged and criticized the mainstream media for covering the topic unfairly, as the voice of the common people was allegedly not heard in the news stories related to immigration and refugees. By taking a strong anti-immigrant stance, these right-wing alternative media outlets constructed counterpublics. This dissertation investigates the public discourse on immigrants and refugees in counterpublics. The theoretical framework is built upon the concepts of counterpublics and populism. Additionally, I focus on the features of radical extreme thinking to understand the elements of the racist and anti-immigrant message in my research data. As a case example, this study examines the content of the Finnish-language right-wing alternative media MV-lehti, which was the most popular and controversial right-wing online publication in Finland at the time. This research sheds light on how populist online publications construct counterpublics in the discourse on immigration and refugees. This article-based dissertation binds four articles to answer the two following research questions: What elements constitute the public address in MV-lehti’s contents covering immigration? and Based on this analysis and related research literature, what can be deduced on the role of right-wing alternative media in producing public discourse? The research questions connect the study to the debate, which, in recent years, has been ongoing regarding the polarization and radicalization of the political climate in Europe and the United States. The methodological approach is discourse-analytical. The sub-studies show that the public address used in MV-lehti’s immigration coverage was constructed by (1) polarization of the audience with their ideological parlances, (2) supranational and shared ideological elements, (3) unique construction of the myth and the concept of the people, and (4) emotional appeal through visual content. The findings also reveal that such media purposefully construct and distribute an ideological perception of reality that is deviant from the mainstream. This research shows how right-wing alternative media drove an anti-democratic worldview with values opposite those of the constitutional state. In addition, right-wing alternative media imbed the polarized thinking in the mediated public sphere that is already targeted by various information affection and other propaganda.
Original languageFinnish
Place of PublicationTampere
ISBN (Electronic) 978-952-03-2725-5
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (articles)

Publication series

NameTampere University Dissertations - Tampereen yliopiston väitöskirjat
Volume734
ISSN (Print)2489-9860
ISSN (Electronic)2490-0028

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