Distinguished Professor Dr. Ali Riaz has been interviewed by the WGLT, the local Public Radio station, on the media coverage of Ukrainian refugees. In recent days, Western media has been criticized for their lopsided and often biased coverage of the refugee crises based on race.

Riaz said that the coverage of the ongoing war largely lacks the historical background. Besides, coverage of the plight of refugees shows the presence of institutional racism. Many reporters have described the Ukrainian refugees differently than their descriptions of refugees from other parts of the world, including the Middle East. Aside from showing a biased and racist belief that some people or areas of the world are more prone to conflict due to being less “civilized,” Riaz said that such coverage fails to present the historical reality that war in Europe is not an anomaly. Among some Western media, the coverage of the refugee crisis of Ukrainians has been more sympathetic than that of other groups, such as Syrians, people fleeing to North Africa, or Middle Eastern countries. 

“I’m not surprised in the sense that this has been the case with the Western media—that a conflict in the Middle East or a conflict in Asia or Africa is seen as inferior—or something that is ‘out there,'” he said. “Suddenly, the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine seems to be a ‘big thing,’ but humanitarian disasters are the same in that people suffer. We need to put those things in context and understand these elements instead of trying to whitewash the whole thing as if the Ukrainian crisis is bigger than it was with people with a different kind of skin complexion.”