The significance of small differences: Cultural diversity and broadcasting in Ireland


This article is concerned with a comparative assessment of public service and commercial broadcast media in Ireland, specifically in relation to their respective capacities to reflect and promote migration-related diversity and migrant integration. The core material drawn upon in the article derives from the findings of a recent exploratory, pilot-level European research project (‘Media for Diversity and Migrant Integration’, MEDIVA) involving Ireland and five other partner-European Union member states which sought to identify and assess the form and extent of diversity management practices in the media at the different levels of journalistic production with special reference to Third Country Nationals or persons without European Union citizenship. In this article, we first consider how processes of cultural diversification in European countries are reflected in broadcasting policies, before fixing our focus on public service broadcasting in the ‘local’ context and the changing broadcasting landscape in Ireland. We then move to our empirical-level study which examines the MEDIVA findings regarding the roles and representations of Third Country Nationals in the context of RTE and TV3, comparatively. The performance of these broadcasters in this respect is assessed and examined in terms of programme production processes, recruitment practices, media training and content output. The transformations that Irish society have experienced in terms of the demographics of its population over the past two decades make Ireland a very interesting if not unique case study here. We then consider the extent to which the Irish setting resonates with the broader European context, and seek to identify specific points of correspondence and difference between the Irish broadcasting experience and that of the other countries participating in the MEDIVA project. While the nature of the differences in the approach of public service and commercial broadcasters to migrant diversity may prove to be relatively minor, they nevertheless demonstrate an interesting and significant divergence when considered from a range of perspectives.

Source: European Journal of Communication, Vol. 29, Issue 4, August 2014. Published online before print May 2, 2014

Author(s):Jim Rogers, Neil O’Boyle, Paschal Preston and Franziska Fehr
Publisher:SAGE Publications
Publication Date:02 May 2014
Geographic Focus:null
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