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NCJ Number: 70203 Find in a Library
Title: Influence of the Media on Public Opinion Relating to Criminality - An Exceptional Phenomenon?
Author(s): J J M vanDijk
Corporate Author: Netherlands Ministry of Justice
Research and Documentation Centre
Netherlands
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 35
Sponsoring Agency: Netherlands Ministry of Justice
2500 Eh the Hague, Netherlands
Format: Document
Language: French
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: The effects of mass media on public attitudes toward crime in the Netherlands are analyzed by examining the contents of national newspapers and interviewing a population sample to determine effective media use.
Abstract: The contents of articles relating to crime in two Dutch newspapers from August 23 to September 4, 1975 are analyzed. Interview data for the same period derive from conversations with a nonrepresentative sample composed of 4408 persons. Analysis indicates that crime is represented in the newspapers as a series of extremely violent acts without information on the social context or psychodynamics of the offenses, and that police television films attribute offenses to the deviant personalities of offenders, portraying the police as the only remedy to the evils of crime. The media tend to present an accumulation of crimes in a stereotypic fashion. Only 5.9 percent of the persons interviewed do not read a newspaper, and articles on crime are most popularly read (by 60 percent of the newspaper readers). Ten percent of the conversations of interviewees after media exposure relate to media reports of crime. Generally, the point of departure is a serious crime such as murder. It is concluded that the media tend to mold rather than mirror opinion. Women, the elderly, and persons with little education do not read about crime more frequently than other groups, but their high level of interest, even though they are least affected by crime, can be attributed to their marginal position in society and the limitation of their experience to media stereotypes rather than first-hand observations. The media image causes the population to call for increased law and order, which interferes with the development of a humane, rational approach to real crime problems. Bibliograpic notes (26 citations), tables, and graphs are supplied. --in French.
Index Term(s): Fear of crime; Media coverage; Netherlands; Public Attitudes/Opinion
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