Visible Minority Media in Canada

Since before Canada became a Confederation, visible minority groups have been creating their own media: the first issue of the Provincial Freeman, which was a weekly newspaper edited and published by African Canadians in the Province of Canada West (now Ontario), was first published on March 24, 1854.

Since those early beginnings, globalization and new media such as blogs and podcasts have facilitated the expansion of visible minority voices and perspectives and have brought diverse communities together, resulting in a growth in popularity of visible minority media across the country. According to Thomas Saras of the National Press and Media Council of Canada, in 2011 Canada boasted 683 visible minority newspapers, 240 visible minority radio stations, and 90 visible minority television stations, each of which broadcasts content directed toward a particular minority group, often in a language other than English.

What are the major differences between visible minority and mainstream media? First, visible minority media is usually owned and operated by members of the group to which its content is aimed. As a result, visible minority media content is verified by someone with adequate knowledge of how to negotiate cultural identity and who has a vested interest in how this community is represented. Visible minority media generally presents issues related to minority groups within a more positive framework than in mainstream media and often stresses the importance of decreasing geographic and cultural barriers between minority and majority groups. [1]

Visible minority media has several distinct benefits. It has been shown to promote cultural transition into North American society by functioning as a ‘road map’ that teaches immigrants how their home cultures can be synthesized with Western cultural practices in a way that does not suppress their original culture. Visible minority media stresses goals such as upward mobility, entrepreneurship, and social achievement, while simultaneously highlighting the importance of retaining an individual cultural identity. [2]


[1] Arora, P., &Viswanath, K. (2000). Ethnic media in the United States: an essayon their role in integration, assimilation and social control. Mass Communication & Society, 3(1),39-56.
[2] Guoxuan, C., Halle, D.,& Zhou, M. (2002). Médias en langue chinoise auxEtats-Unis : immigration et assimilation dans la vieaméricaine. Qualitative Sociology, 25(3),419-441.

Diversity in Media Toolbox

The Diversity and Media Toolbox is a comprehensive suite of resources that explores issues relating to stereotyping, bias and hate in mainstream media and on the Internet. The program includes professional development tutorials, lesson plans, interactive student modules and background articles.

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