Intergroup relations and media: The effects of media system quality in explaining immigration attitudes


  • Maija Ozola-Schade Technical University Ilmenau, Department of Empirical Media Research and Political Communication, Institute of Media and Communication Science



immigration attitudes, media system quality, intergroup relations, ethnic hierarchy, secondary data analysis, social cohesion


From an intergroup relations perspective, attitudes toward immigration derive from assessments of immigrants’ ethnic proximity to the host society. However, attitudes are embedded not only in the notion of intergroup relations, they are influenced by the information environment in which public discourse about immigration is shaped. This paper investigates whether the quality of the media system contributes to the emergence of a well-informed public that is more likely to reinforce democratic values and thus have more positive attitudes toward immigration. The European Social Survey data (2002–2018) from 19 European countries are combined with media quality indicators from the Varieties of Democracy project and studied in a cross-national comparative perspective. Results confirm that Europeans prefer immigrants that are ethnically more similar to the majority of the host society, regardless of time or given country. Furthermore, attitudes are more positive in countries with stronger public services. Moreover, a higher quality media system that reflects the level of media freedom, opinion plurality, self-governance, and objectivity, fosters pro-immigration attitudes, especially for immigrants who are ethnically different from the host society.




How to Cite

Ozola-Schade, M. (2022). Intergroup relations and media: The effects of media system quality in explaining immigration attitudes. Studies in Communication Sciences, 22(2), 363–384.