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Migrant crisis tops Italian headlines ahead of election

The most frequently used words in front-page headlines of Italian newspapers for 2017 has have been revealed. And it shows that the migrant crisis has dominated the debate ahead of the Italian election.

Published: March 4, 2018, 8:33 am

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    The L’Osservatorio di Pavia research institute have found “migrant” to be the most frequently recurring word in article titles of 2017, and six out of ten of the most repeated words relate directly to the immigration question, extensive research showed.

    The second most frequently used word in headlines after “migrant” (2 455), id “refugee” (1 322). In fact, in the top-ten list all the keywords were linked to the issue of immigration.

    The words in order of frequent use, are “migrant,” “refugee,” “Italy,” “NGO,” “immigrant,” “ius soli”, “welcome,” “Libya,” “European Union,” and “Italian”

    Italian television coverage show a similar pattern with news broadcasts allocating 40 percent of their coverage to the migrant crisis in 2017, up from 28 percent in 2015. Coverage of crime and security has also increased significantly (from 25 to 34 percent) during the same period.

    Reports on “welcoming” migrants have fallen from 28 percent to just 11 percent.

    Anxiety and depression meanwhile “block” some 15 percent of Italians every day, a top Italian psychologist and therapist said on Friday.

    The two conditions “result in Italians being less efficient socially, on their jobs and in personal relations,” said Federico Zanon, vice president of the Psychologists’ Welfare Agency told Italian news agency ANSA.

    The fear of immigrants among the Italian population was the highest in more than ten years, as 46 percent of citizens say they agree with the statement that “immigrants are a danger for public order and the safety of persons” a survey from last year showed.

    The report found that the growing fear of immigrants was fueled, at least in part, by studies published on the correlation between a rising immigrant population and increased crime in the country.

    A study conducted by the Confcommercio group on the statistical connection between crime and immigration in 2016 revealed a clear link.

    The recent brutal murder and dismemberment of an 18-year-old Italian girl by three Nigerian migrants, and forensic reports showing missing body parts of the victim, has suggested that ritual cannibalism may have also reached the shores of Italy.

    Some 75 percent of Northern League Party voters believe that immigrants present a danger, with only 18 percent of the leftist Partito Democratico (PD) agreeing with this statement. More than half (53 percent) of the Five Star Movement (M5S) voters consider migrants to be a threat to public order as well as personal safety.

    In the short space of two to three years, more than 630 000 mostly African migrants landed in Italy, and are effectively prevented from entering France, Switzerland, and Austria by border control.

    Italians favorable to granting Italian citizenship to the children of migrants born on Italian soil (ius soli) has fallen from 80 percent in 2014 to just 52 percent in 2017.

    Italians will vote to elect deputies to both houses of the country’s parliament for the first time since 2013, on Sunday.

    Polls are predicting a major loss for the center-left Democratic Party, expected to gain only 21 to 22 percent of the votes this weekend.

    One of the current front-runners, the Five-Star Movement has said it will not enter any coalition and it is unlikely to get an overall majority. It means that the government could be consist of a Center-Right Coalition, with 38 percent of the vote.

    The coalition includes Forza Italia (15-17 percent) led by Silvio Berlusconi, and Lega Nord (14-15 percent) led by Matteo Salvini.

    During one of his final campaign rallies this week, Salvini quiped: “Long live sausage! Long live salami! Long live pork, coppa and pancetta.” The crowd in the northeastern city of Padua laughed and cheered.

    The leader of the Northern League added on a serious note that he aims to deport the bulk of Africans. “Guys, we have imported a few good people, but there has also been a tide of delinquents and I want to send them home, from the first to the last. We are packed with drug dealers, rapists, burglars — and the League is the solution,” he said.

    Susanna Ceccardi, the Northern League mayor of Cascina, in Tuscany, noted: “I read everyone else’s platforms and they are our own. We have imposed our political agenda with the line dictated by Salvini. The League has already won.”

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