Political Communication in a Multicultural New Zealand: Ethnic Minority Media and the 2008 Election
Thesis DisciplineMass Communication
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
New Zealand’s 2008 general election, with its unprecedented focus on the “ethnic vote” and ethnic minority candidates with highest-ever party list rankings, proved compelling from a migrant engagement perspective. How do migrant communities achieve voice in their adopted country? And how does a now unmistakably multicultural nation address the political communication needs of an increasingly vocal, pro-active, and politically involved migrant population?
This thesis examines the role of ethnic minority media in engaging migrant communities in the democratic process. In particular, it examines South Asian media in New Zealand and the extent to which they represented a vital public sphere for informing and engaging their wider migrant communities in public political debate during the 2008 election campaign.
Applying qualitative and quantitative research approaches, this thesis elicits and analyses diverse perspectives of the extent to which local South Asian newspapers and radio current affairs programming represented an important complementary public sphere for informing and engaging migrant voters during the campaign.
Ultimately, this study provides an alternative perspective on media coverage of the 2008 New Zealand general election, and insight into the role and influence of ethnic minority media within democratic discourse. As a contribution to the body of academic literature examining the media and minority political engagement, it is intended to provoke critical consideration of the communications needs facing new migrants in an increasingly multicultural New Zealand.
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