Selective compassion - Contradictory Media narratives about refugees

In August 2021, the #Polish media first reported on a group of #asylumseekers stuck on the Polish-#Belarusian#border. Since then, the mass media often portrayed the ongoing humanitarian crisis as a threat to #Poland’s security and sovereignty.


#TVPinfo, a news platform funded by the Polish government, warned about “big groups of illegal #migrants” trying to cross the border. To push this narrative further, #wp.pl described asylum seekers as dangerous and aggressive men.


After #Russia's military aggression against #Ukraine, #Poland opened its border to the #refugees fleeing their country. After looking up the term ‘Ukrainian refugees’, the first results are the ones giving information on where and how to seek help, alongside the statistics regarding the number of people who crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border so far.


However, there are no statements deeming the incoming refugees a threat to Poland’s stability.


The contradiction in these two narratives is even being justified, with some articles comparing the situations on the two Polish borders. One of TVP info’s articles points out the differences between asylum seekers attempting to cross the border with #Belarus and the Ukrainian refugees. It goes on to state that the former are young men looking for economic opportunities whereas the latter are women, children and elderly escaping the war.


It’s crucial to remember the shameful fact that Polish border guards have pushed entire families – including pregnant women and children – back to Belarus. As reported by Grupa Granica, the youngest victim of those actions was a one-year-old child from Syria who died in the forest near the border.


We maintain that everyone who has found themselves in an unsafe position in their own country, is entitled to the indisputable right to seek asylum, no matter their age, gender or nationality. The willingness of Polish people to help Ukrainian refugees is truly inspiring, however, the compassion must extend to put an end to the humanitarian crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border that is still ongoing.

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