Christian religions form the largest religious group in Canada today, with more than 70 per cent of the population identifying with a Christian denomination. The widespread popularity of Christianity in Canada, however, does not mean that media treatment of Christianity is always accurate or informed.
Media coverage of Islam-related issues has changed dramatically since the beginning of the new millennium, both in quantity and quality. The events of September 11, 2001, thrust Islam into the global media forefront: not only did coverage of Islam drastically increase, particularly in news and entertainment media, but the way in which Islam was framed by the media changed as well.
Anti-Semitism is experiencing a modern revival in popular media, not only in Canada but worldwide. While Canada, with the fourth largest Jewish population in the world, is not among the nations where anti-Semitism has increased most dramatically, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has nonetheless acknowledged violence against Jewish people as a significant problem in this country . Awareness of media stereotypes and misrepresentations faced by the Jewish community is fundamental in countering this anti-Semitist resurgence with tolerance and acceptance.
Though 2SLGBTQ+ characters, situations and themes are becoming increasingly prevalent in the media, it is sometimes difficult to interpret representations.
2SLGBTQ+ people have been involved in producing their own media for as long as alternative media has existed, but with the advent of the electronic age and cheaper and more accessible electronic devices for production, there has been an explosion of 2SLGBTQ+-produced media of all kinds. The following section explores the ways that 2SLGBTQ+ people have sought to claim space for themselves within media and culture.
As in other media, 2SLGBTQ+ people have gained a greater and more widely visible presence within the advertising world, with ad agencies courting the “Pink Dollar.” This is not surprising, considering that the 2SLGBTQ+ audience is estimated to be worth around $917 million in buying power.
Objectivity and accuracy are among the most important journalistic values. Consistently, however, Canadian news media has under-represented and stereotyped racialized groups.
Media education can help young people put current images and messages about Indigenous people into perspective by helping them understand how the media work, why stereotyping exists, how decisions are made and why “it matters who makes it.” Media education is not about learning the right answers; it’s about consuming media images with an active, critical mind and asking the right questions.
In the 19th century, Métis leader Louis Riel reportedly predicted: “My people will sleep for one hundred years. When they awaken, it will be the artists who give them back their spirit.” Most Indigenous groups in Canada have relied on the oral tradition to convey an idea, message or value.
Media have always shaped the public’s perception of Indigenous people: the wise elder (Little Big Man); the princess (Pocahontas); the loyal sidekick (Tonto)—these images have become engrained in the consciousness of North Americans.