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The Role of the Media in the Fear of Crime: A Qualitative Study in the Portuguese Context

Published onApr 19, 2022
The Role of the Media in the Fear of Crime: A Qualitative Study in the Portuguese Context
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The Role of the Media in the Fear of Crime: A Qualitative Study in the Portuguese Context
Description

The present study, using a Portuguese sample, is aimed at understanding how the media shapes the fear of crime experiences. Concretely, we explored how individuals interpret the content transmitted by the media and how these perceptions influence the fear of crime contextually situated. It was also our aim to explore if the area of residence (rural and urban), as well as certain sociodemographic characteristics (such as gender), were important in the way meanings are attributed to the media in experiences of insecurity. In total, 20 semi-structured interviews were undertaken (n = 12 women; 13 from rural areas and 7 from urban areas). Among the relevant results found in the present study, one of the conclusions we can highlight is that it is not possible to establish a clear relationship between media consumption and insecurity feelings. Indeed, media do not totally shape the fear of crime experiences, as a panoply of meanings has emerged, which makes their influence differential. Thus, aspects such as the sensationalism, the location of the reported crime, the realism of the news and the proximity to the event are examples of factors that emerged with great relevance in this investigation. In short, this study allowed the authors to reach a depth and diversity of meanings of insecurity, through several approaches that were the basis for their understanding and confirms the relevance of studying this theme from experiences and discourses using qualitative research.

 

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