Media Consumption by the Armenian Community of Cyprus
Questions of Integration in the Cypriot Society and Participation in the Local Public Sphere
The current study delves into the media consumption of Armenian-Cypriots which constitute a recognized religious group. By firstly eliciting patterns of media consumption – e.g. the origin of television and radio programmes and stations, newspapers and magazines, Internet sites and so on - and subsequently examining the sample’s degree of participation in civic life and the mediated public sphere of the community and the mainstream Cypriot society respectively, the research seeks to underline the integration level of the participants in the mainstream socio-political domain. The study makes use of a large body of literature and thoroughly examines previous researches relevant to minority media consumption, multicultural public sphere and intercultural integration to appraise different epistemological and methodological positions. The research design was qualitative in nature and it involved the conduct of two focus groups with seven and six participants respectively as well as a series of 23 individual in-depth interviews with young adults (18-35) and adults (36-54). The results of the research demonstrate that the Armenian-Cypriot sample’s consumption was hybrid. Television consumption appeared to be the most inconsistent compared to other media. Adults were found to be more active consumers of television consuming both Cypriot and foreign programmes whereas the majority of young adults watch less TV and primarily satellite TV programmes because Cypriot TV does not meet their expectations. An overview on radio, Internet and print media consumption reveals a balanced consumption of both Greek-speaking and English-speaking media outlets. On the contrary, Armenian satellite TV was less consumed by both groups, especially by youth whereas community-targeted media were fairly consumed by both age groups, especially those which feature news about the community. One crucial factor that discourages Armenian-Cypriot youth even adults to consume Armenian satellite TV is the use of Eastern Armenian dialect in the programmes. Moreover, the findings on civic engagement in public life and participation in the local mediated public sphere revealed low levels of participation and engagement yet strong identification with their status as Cypriot citizens. Only a few male adults who occupy key positions in the community appeared to be active participants in the wider mainstream society and the mediated public sphere. This could result from the media system’s failure to encompass all constituent Cypriots in the mainstream public sphere; acknowledging their cultural particularities and hence enable diverse perspectives to be heart and understood by others. On the other hand, community-targeted media were found to operate in isolation to the mainstream public sphere which could also justify Armenian-Cypriots’ disengagement from the local public sphere. Overall, the findings imply that the media consumption of the sample is hybrid and not homogeneous resonating with other similar studies (Aksoy & Robin, 2000, Christiansen, 2003). However, the indicators used to monitor minorities’ access to the multicultural public sphere cited by Petkovic et al. (2009), namely access to mainstream media and media reporting on minority issues were inadequate according to informants’ responses. Therefore, these findings should urge policymakers and civil society in general to redefine their orientations towards the formation of a genuine multicultural public sphere which provides equal opportunities to both majorities and minorities to engage in a creative and productive intercultural dialogue.
|Keywords||media en journalistiek, media consumption of Armenian-Cypriots, integration, multiethnic public sphere, minority media|
|Series||Media & Journalistiek|
Michael, M.M. (2012, August 30). Media Consumption by the Armenian Community of Cyprus. Media & Journalistiek. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/12324