Television and anti-immigrant sentiments: the mediating role of fear of crime and perceived ethnic diversity

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Series Details Vol.19, No.3, July 2017, p243-267
Publication Date July 2017
ISSN 1461-6696
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Previous research has established a correlation between fear of crime and anti-immigrant sentiments. In this paper, we explore the role of television in explaining individual differences in fear of crime, perceived ethnic diversity and anti-immigrant sentiments. We use the 'Social Cohesion Indicators in Flanders' data, a representative survey in the Flemish region of Belgium, combined with real-life indicators of ethnic diversity and crime at the community level.

Results of a multilevel structural equation model suggest that watching television is positively associated with fear of crime and perceived ethnic diversity, which in turn is associated with anti-immigrant sentiments. Preference for public television is, however, associated with lower anti-immigrant sentiments, perceived ethnic diversity and fear of crime levels. Real crime and ethnic diversity levels are only weakly related to anti-immigrant sentiments. We conclude that especially perceptions are important in influencing anti-immigrant sentiments and that television use is associated with these perceptions.

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