Bridging the Gulf Between Mainstream and Diasporic Public Spheres

The diasporic public sphere has proliferated through the activities of ethnic media and promoted freedom of expression among Black Minority Ethnics (BMEs). However, it has alienated them from the mainstream public sphere and has been a disincentive to the mainstream media to commit resources to engage with BMEs. Consequently, it has been counter-productive to democratic dialogue and participation and social cohesion. It has also prompted the Prime Minister to announce that ‘multiculturalism has failed’. This project will examine the processes and outputs of the Channel 4 digital project for Black Minority Ethnics (BMEs) in the context of recent developments in order to understand measures for reducing alienation of BMEs from the public sphere. The project is timely in the wake of Digital Bill (UK) which promised “full participation in the 21st Century society, bringing extensive potential benefits for UK citizens,….to meet today’s citizen demand” (DCMS, 2010). Digital participation could reduce the alienation of BMEs by bridging the parallel mainstream and diasporic public spheres. The outcomes of the project are to design best practice guidelines which will be useful to the mainstream and diasporic practitioners and contribute to the formulation of policy.