Media, migration and diasporas
Migration and identity are important themes for understanding the wider media landscape. What part do professionals from minority backgrounds play in reporting and presenting the news, for example, or as the faces of TV comedy and entertainment? Are minority audiences best served by newspapers, radio, TV and websites specifically targeted at their needs and interests or should these be met by general coverage and programme schedules, and broad-based channels and stations? And how are ethnic, religious and other cultural groups represented in the media? Are they invisible? Are they stereotyped, generalised or equated only a certain type of behaviour, or set of beliefs? Do the media make room for such portrayals to be countered or criticised?
Although migration separates people from homes, families and friends, diasporas reconnect them. Communication and networking are crucial aspects of diasporic life and are made possible by media technology in its various forms. Where they have access, telephone, wireless, satellite, cable and digital technologies allow people to communicate directly in sound, text, and image across the globe. And, although media revolutions are typically associated with large corporations and global finance, many innovations are driven by dispersed individuals and groups who want and need to be in regular direct contact with one another, to exchange information, goods and services, and just to keep in touch. If the home country or place of origin is the first space for migrants, and the settled country is the second, then communications technology creates the possibility of a third space which is not there, nor here, but an alternative space where contact can be made, new relationships formed, and identities negotiated.
© Tuning In
It is not surprising then that diasporas have often been at the cutting edge in terms of designing and adopting new media. Whether through print or broadcast media, the internet or social networking, they have been active transmitters as well as receivers of information. They have had something to say, not only to friends and family far and wide, but as critics of political repression back home, and in response to their treatment in the new location.