The media plays a significant part in shaping people’s identities and communities. Most of what we understand about each other and the world comes through the media. Mass media has infiltrated almost every facet of our day-to-day lives with the help of the diverse range of digital platforms – with content just as diverse – now available to us.
However mainstream media such as television and newspapers has the power to take a minority group and present them to the majority group. This is a problem as mainstream media has a history of lacking cultural competency, more often than not, by taking a minority group and generalising or stereotyping them to the majority group.
This can be extremely damaging to a minority group trying to assimilate into a new country with a different culture and different social expectations. This kind of alienation mainstream media can participate in makes diasporic media vital in catering for the needs of minority communities.
The word ‘diaspora’ means the dispersal or scattering of people, voluntary or forced, which can happen for reasons such as escaping war-torn countries and education/job opportunities. This separates people from their communities, homes, sometimes even family, and diasporic media can reconnect them by focusing on themes of homecoming, and strives to accurately represent minorities.
For instance, the growth of digital platforms like Facebook and YouTube offer liberating potential for enhancing minority voices in the media. These digital platforms offer safe spaces for minorities to connect and form communities, allowing for familiarity and social interaction. This can help minorities bridge the gap between their home countries and their host countries, allowing them to become familiar with their new environment in a less disorienting way.
Diasporic media offers minority communities what the dominance of mainstream media does not – a voice. It gives an alternative to mainstream media, where minority communities have an unhindered chance to form identities and communities with our fear of generalisation or being stereotyped.