Using antiracist and feminist theories and critical media approaches, this qualitative study analyzes the role (including associated contributions, challenges, and opportunities) South Asian ethnic media plays in the lived experiences of South Asian immigrants in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2013, South Asian communities constituted 11% of the total population of Metro Vancouver. Currently, several newspapers, magazines, television (TV) shows, and 24/7 radio stations serving audiences in Metro Vancouver are produced and/or broadcasted in various South Asian languages, including Punjabi, Hindi, and Urdu. This dissertation deals with South Asian ethnic media and its potential to create space for dialogue among immigrant communities, including opportunities for these communities to understand and debate their rights and responsibilities in their host country. Current ethnic media-making (including various formats, technologies, approaches, languages, and socio-political-religious orientations) was also explored and analyzed. The findings of this study suggest that ethnic media has the potential to create space for dialogue among immigrant communities, particularly in Canada. The majority of the participants expressed their dissatisfaction with the portrayal of South Asian communities and their cultures in the mainstream media, criticizing the lack of representation and negative stereotyping of their communities. This dissertation reveals that ethnic media is emerging as a socio-culturally and politically significant space for its audiences. Ethnic media sources are providing information and knowledge about immigration, settlement, integration, and everyday life challenges in simplified ways. South Asian ethnic radio seems to be the most popular, accessible and efficient medium, meeting the information, news, and entertainment needs of its audiences. Educated, skilled, and multilingual ethnic media practitioners use their platform to bridge the gap between the mainstream media, policymakers, and society vis-à-vis immigrant communities. This study reveals that ethnic media play a significant role in the lived experiences of South Asian immigrant communities in Metro Vancouver by opening space and opportunity for communication and social inclusion.
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Thesis advisor: Zaman, Habiba
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