By: Twitter Buttons

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Is there a need for 'Ethnic' press?

As many of you may have already heard, New Nation (a paper that catered for African & Caribbean communities) has closed after its parent company Ethnic Media Group went into administration. The Eastern Eye, a paper for the Asian community under the same parent was sold and has plans to continue. There has been no buyer for the New Nation meaning that unfortunately it's sayonara.

What has inspired me to blog on this was an article by Angela Foster in The Guardian: Why we still need a black press. Interestingly enough, it wasn't the actual feature (taking nothing away from Foster) but the comments afterwards:

"This is racist...imagine a paper calling itself white and having a competition for the sexiest white people...its regressive and divisive...there's no black community just as there is no white community...put skin colour away and celebrate humanity...the media does give coverage to stories affecting the black community - Stephen Lawrence, racist chanting at football clubs, Obama..." I'm gonna stop because that last comment was

My argument is the same that I use for arguments against the MOBOs, Miss Black Britain and other initiatives aimed at celebrating ethnic communities: we live in a country where historically industries have been white. We are still not at a place where things are equal and we are all on an even playing field with fair representation. Will we ever get to that place, I don't know, but I do welcome ways in which the under-represented have a voice. In Ghana for instance, it is predominantly black (obviously) but for the other 'ethnic minorities' there (White, Indian, Chinese) I am sure that they would enjoy reading about issues related to them AS WELL AS mainstream Ghanaian press.

I think this is a result of the way we handle race issues in the U.K. In the U.S the issue of race is out in the open, it is discussed and everyone knows there are things that need addressing. However in the U.K with it's 'multi-cultural' emphasis, some believe that we are already doing so much to 'accommodate' and 'tolerate' (hate those words - sorry to be a burden) people of different races. Yes London is one of the most diverse places in the world but that doesn't mean that we will all immediately get along. It doesn't automatically mean that no one is bothered by race anymore. The 'I'm not racist, I have a Paki friend' attitude only hides the real issues that we have in this country and the growing frustration of some non-ethnics who believe that 'affirmative action' is getting put of hand.

PERSONALLY I wish that there was a way to have more integration. Specialist press has it's benefits, I don't disagree with that -mainstream press often fails to give the perspective that a niche offering can give. For instance, my Dad is a massive fan of Al Jazeera because it doesn't have that western influence. Speaking of Al Jazeera, they have just signed a partnership with the Independent to stream AJ content on the Independent website. This is exactly what I am talking about. Nobody I know goes to ONE place to get all of their news; I read the Guardian and other mainstream media everyday for UK and world news and go to the blogs and online sites to satisfy my other needs. To have all of this is one place would be integration at its best and I believe that partnerships and collaborations offline and online might be the way forward.

So much more to write about but I'm trying to avoid these essay type posts. Continue the discussion below with your thoughts - speak on it!!!


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