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Moral Panic - Deconstructing government speeches of refugees and asylum seekers

“A mass movement based on the false or exaggerated perception that some cultural behaviour or group of people is dangerously deviant and poses a threat to society's values and interests.”

Even though the #EU upholds the principles of humanitarianism and non-discrimination, some of its member states still discriminate against #refugees and #asylumseekers based on their ethnicity and religion.

Recently, the public opinion has shifted towards the ideas postulated by the far-right groups. These anti-refugee narratives have infiltrated the public opinion via politics and #media, thus creating a negative perception of refugees and asylum seekers.

During a 2015 electoral rally of the now-ruling-party Law and Justice (#PiS), the Polish chairman Jarosław Kaczyński opposed the reception of refugees, claiming they will bring “dangerous diseases, parasites or protozoa” to Europe. Within two years of this statement, the Polish public opinion shifted from 72% in favour of receiving refugees to only 33%, according to the Polish Centre for Public Opinion Research (CBOS).

The ruling party’s constant demonisation of refugees undoubtedly contributes to this downtrend. In a recent statement, the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz #Morawiecki, used words such as “threat,” “evil,” “war,” and “crisis” to describe a video of refugees at the border. This, together with adding sinister background music to the video, has a clear objective: to instill fear of the real victims at the Polish-Belarusian border and spread panic among the general public.

Unfortunately, these political speeches align with the views of many prominent politicians in the West, such as the UK’s Home Secretary #PritiPatel, Italy’s far-right leader Matteo #Salvini, as well as the former and current US President Donald #Trump and Joe #Biden. Among others, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor #Orbán has also been influential in spreading Islamophobic sentiments in Central Europe by calling refugees “invaders” and “a poison,” praising Donald Trump’s foreign policy ideas back in 2016.

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