Television has an entertainment function, but not only. Apart from information and education, for new immigrants it can provide a first window to the new home country and is therefore discussed in the context of integration and participation. Television's power to combine sight and sound makes the medium particularly attractive for those who are not yet fluent in the language. A survey among new Canadians, for instance, showed that many of them regarded television as a language tutor and cultural guide. In the second generation, however, television is seen as a means to retain their cultural heritage and multicultural programming is used when available (Solutions Research Group, 2003).
In Canada, the representation of diversity in media is understood to be crucial for a healthy civil society since Canada's population is multicultural. Media present social values that possibly influence attitudes about culture, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. An analysis of popular Canadian primetime television dramas came to the conclusion that religious stereotypes and traditional gender roles are reinforced, that non-White main characters and characters with differing levels of physical ability are absent and that there is a growing visibility for non-stereotypical portrayals and constructions of queer characters (Media Action Media, 2010).
Media Action Media (2010) Representations of Diversity in Canadian Television Entertainment Programming: Case Studies (via)
Solutions Research Group (2003) Cultural Diversity on Television. Phase IV Research - Focus Group. December 2003 (via)
Photos: astronaut watching TV via and Panasonic/National Flying Saucer also known as The Eyeball orignally TR-005 Orbitel (with the advertising slogan "Attention, Earth People.") via