The Influence of Media Coverage on the Negative Perception of Migrants in Chile

Andrés Scherman*, Nicolle Etchegaray, Isabel Pavez, Daniela Grassau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


How mass media frame information about migrants is vital to further their well-being and social inclusion in the host society. However, it can also encourage forms of discrimination and xenophobia. In Chile, migration is a theme of great relevance due to a substantial increase in the flow of migrants over the last ten years, as well as the acts of extreme violence toward this group. Thus, this research analyzes how mass media coverage of migrants influences Chileans’ perception of migrants. Adopting an experimental design, we implemented a large-scale, representative online survey with citizens over 18 years of age (N = 2227) and an experiment with combined access to positive and negative news about migrants in different news outlets. The regression analysis showed differences between citizens regarding the type of daily relationships they are willing to maintain with the migrant population. Furthermore, exposure to news about migration was the primary variable that explains why people consider this phenomenon one of the main problems affecting the country, confirming the agenda-setting theory. The experiment also indicated a causal relationship between the exposure to negative content and negative judgment about this group and their presence in the country.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8219
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number13
StatePublished - 5 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This project was funded by Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (grant N◦ 1210923) and Millennium Nucleus Center for the Study of Politics, Public Opinion and Media in Chile (MEPOP, NCS2021_063).

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: The authors wish to provide thanks for the support of the Research Department of the Adolfo Ibáñez University in the development of this research article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Chile
  • framing
  • mass media
  • migration
  • well-being


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