The media continues to evolve into a very powerful entity. For some people it has either made them famous or inferior. The world today has reached a very high level of industrialisation. The internet, television, ever-expanding newspaper cooperation and radio contribute greatly to it. The media is very concentrated of late and dominated by just a small number of firms.
When we talk about underrepresentation, we take into account how certain groups of people are depicted. This is a powerful concept as it helps society form an understanding of people either in a positive light or it creates stereotypes. The media can sometimes victimise people and for some the seeking to shed off their stereotypes is difficult.
One group of people most often underrepresented in the media are women. For a very long time women have been objectified in the society. In as much as most women are engaging in very productive junctures, the very patriarchal society is intolerant of it. They are gazed on as images of beauty or objects of desire. In the job sector they are most often underpaid and also find it hard to vie for prestigious positions. Women who opt to be housewives for the good of their families on the other hand are seen as incapable and lazy individuals.
Another group of people the media under represents is disabled people. They are often ostracised because of their disability and always considered second best. Society is becoming more tolerant of same sex couples but their positive representation by the media is still few and far in-between. More so, when it comes to politics and turmoil in third world countries, they are often ignored by the main stream media.
Another group of people that are sometimes offensively represented by the media is the Romany gypsy community. Gypsy travellers are an estimate of 30,000 people with Romany gypsies forming 60 percent whilst ethically Irish traveller’s forms 10 percent. New traveller’s form 5% however these are people who have chosen to live their lives as travellers: Nomadic by choice. Roma gypsies form 15 percent and they tend to be darker skin and come from eastern European state. In all we are looking at a population of over 12 million people; bigger than Sweden and Denmark put together he reported.
Channel 4’s cutting edge documentary ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ watch by an estimate of nine million viewers prompted a backlash from the gypsy community. The Guardian called it a platform for bigotry. Romany Journalist and broadcaster Jake Bowers stated it was a poor representation of his community. He also added that the continuous negative representation was one of the reasons he became a journalist.
Over the years, gypsies have always been portrayed negatively in the media. They have been stereotyped in literature as depicted in the ‘hutch back of Notre dame’ and in film as seen in ‘Snatch’. Channel 4 was rambled for presenting documentary as facts. Consequently, the programme added to the already existing stereotypes. This resulted in unprecedented consequences such as people losing their jobs and the encouragement of bullying in the play ground.
Representations like these for instance leaves the wider community confused as we are constantly bombarded with false information. Jake bowers during his visit to Coventry as the speaker for Coventry conversation said “the gypsy community is not a secretive one as everyone likes to think and most of us don’t live in caravans anymore”.
The media is however not all about spreading false information. As well as bringing our attention to the events happening around us, it presents us with facts and opinions. More so, Journalists are supposed to check their facts before reporting them and Reports needs to accurate and fair. Nonetheless, the images and representation should be in a positive light so that no group of people are left to feel inferior.