In this lesson students are introduced to the key media literacy concept that media are constructions that re-present reality and consider how representations of crime in news and entertainment media may influence how we perceive members of particular groups.

Media producers have recognized that they must make efforts to better represent persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities might best be described, in the media at least, as an invisible minority: though a large segment of the population has a physical or mental disability they have been almost entirely absent from the mass media until recent years. Moreover, when persons with disabilities appear they almost always do so in stereotyped roles.

Privilege manifests itself in a many ways. The fact that it is systemic rather than localized means that it is difficult to identify. Moreover, individual benefits of privilege may often seem small — but being outside of privilege can have staggering setbacks. This section helps identify how media and privilege intersect.

Media Coverage of Disability Issues: Persons with disabilities receive similar treatment in the news.

Part of stereotyping is the attitude that all members of a particular group are the same, or else fall into a very small number of types. This is particularly true in the few cases where persons with a disability appear in media

Teachers who include media literacy in their classrooms often face issues that don’t arise in other subjects. Nothing illustrates this better than the issue of diversity in media. It’s not unreasonable for teachers to see the topic as a can of worms and be concerned about offending students and their parents – not to mention worrying about what the students themselves might say. At the same time, it’s a topic that is simply too important to be ignored: what we see in media hugely influences how we see others, ourselves and the world. As a result, an ability to analyze media depictions of diversity is not only a key element of being media literate, it’s essential to understanding many of the social issues and concerns that we face as citizens. That’s why Media Awareness Network has developed That’s Not Me – a new online tutorial for professional development to help educators and community leaders approach this issue through key concepts of media literacy.

Canada’s Broadcasting Act, last amended in 1991, outlines industry guidelines for portrayal of diversity.

In much the same way that racialized groups are under- or misrepresented in news media, they are also not accurately portrayed in entertainment media, which tends to reinforce themes that are conveyed in the news. Although positive change is occurring, it is important that media content more accurately and fairly reflect the reality of Canadian multiculturalism.

Since before Canada became a Confederation, racially and culturally diverse groups have been creating their own media: the first issue of the Provincial Freeman, which was a weekly newspaper edited and published by Black Canadians in the Province of Canada West (now Ontario), was first published on March 24, 1853.