Media portrayal of migration from Central Asia

Thematic analysis of Kyrgyz and Russian language online news media

Authored by: Alena Zelenskaia , Elira Turdubaeva

The Routledge Companion to Migration, Communication, and Politics

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138058149
eBook ISBN: 9781315164472
Adobe ISBN:


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Migrants, being overseas, overcome social isolation through the use of media. They communicate with their immediate family members and friends through the means of social networks and monitor home-based websites or press to stay attuned with events at home. On the other side, the media outlets in the home countries never lose sight of the countrymen abroad. They follow the changes in migrants’ legal and economic statuses in the host countries and collect stories about the everyday lives of compatriots, and do so with a certain degree of empathy. Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian country, which has one of the largest communities of migrants living outside the country, side by side with other Central Asian expatriates. As a result, Central Asian migration remains on the agenda of Kyrgyzstan’s news media. The aim of our study is to reveal how the most visited news websites in Kyrgyzstan depict migration from Central Asia during the period 2015–2017. What are the main themes journalists pay attention to? Which sending and receiving countries are the focus of news stories and how are they portrayed? Is there a difference between news coverage in the Kyrgyz and Russian languages? In order to answer these questions, the four most popular online news media were selected, whose articles are in both Kyrgyz and Russian. A random sample of approximately 600 articles was analyzed with the help of thematic text analysis together with elements of discourse analysis.

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