Visual Presentation of Refugees During the “Refugee Crisis” of 2015–2016 on the Online Portal of the Croatian Public Broadcaster

Ljiljana Saric


This article examines the visual representation of refugees on the Croatian public broadcaster’s (HRT) online portal during the so-called European refugee crisis in 2015 and 2016. A content analysis of 887 images is linked to the main research question of how refugees were represented and what this means for framing the refugee situation. I examine how the visual presentation of refugees relates to the dominant discourses on migration: discourses of victimhood or threat. The analysis concentrates on both the macro and micro levels following some assumptions of social semiotics, as well as research in psychology, media, and migration studies. The study finds that the visual presentation is strongly linked to the local context. The humanitarian approach and the visibilities of biological life and empathy were most prominent.



visual representation, refugee crisis, Croatian public broadcaster’s online portal

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