The myriad religions practiced by Canadian believers are not always represented fairly or accurately by media. In this section we explore the challenges faced by the three major monotheisms in Canada’s media landscape.

Canada is a diverse and multicultural nation, but a major criticism that can be leveled at Canadian media’s treatment of religion is that it does not reflect this diversity. Lack of representation is, for some religions, as considerable an issue as misrepresentation is for others. Media recognition of Canada’s ‘religious mosaic’ and increased coverage of underrepresented religions is the first step towards accurate media portrayal.

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 [1]. Awareness of media stereotypes and misrepresentations faced by the Jewish community is fundamental in countering this anti-Semitist resurgence with tolerance and acceptance.

In this lesson students learn about the history of blackface and other examples of majority-group actors playing minority-group characters such as White actors playing Asian and Aboriginal characters and non-disabled actors playing disabled characters.

In this lesson students consider diversity representation in video games by identifying examples of diversity in the games they play, comparing their findings to statistics on diversity in the Canadian population.

In this lesson students consider the meaning of the words “bias” and “prejudice” and consider how bias may be found even at the level of individual words due to connotation.