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48 CES Open Forum Series

The Portrayal of Syrian Refugees and Islam in Lithuanian Online Newspapers (2016-2019)

Nov 11, 2021 – Kristina Kersnauskaite


The paper reviews how online news portals in Lithuania reported on the Syrian refugee crisis in 2016-2019. I argue that sensationalized negative narratives were given preference to unbiased and fact-checked stories. This was due to a number of factors: predominantly negative public opinion, prominent anti-refugee politicians, and the lack of high-profile Muslim figures in Lithuania. Furthermore, as time went on and it became apparent that Lithuania would only be accepting a small number of refugees and thus the fears of a “refugee invasion” and Islamization proved to be unfounded, the media reporting became marginally more balanced and the number of reports reduced dramatically; however, the reporting did not converge fully to accurately depict the reality of the refugee crisis in Lithuania.