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Different Takes: Migrant World Television and Multiculturalism in South Korea

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Author(s): Robert Prey

Journal: Global Media Journal : Canadian Edition
ISSN 1918-5901

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 109;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Alternative Media | Migrant World Television | Migrant Workers | Multi-Ethnic Media | Multiculturalism | South Korea

ABSTRACT
The geography of multiculturalism has expanded beyond western settler societies and post-colonial Europe, the traditional focus of most research on the topic. South Korea, once one of the most ethnically homogenous nations in the world, has recently adopted multiculturalism as official policy in order to manage a still small but rapidly growing population of foreigners. While real and substantial steps have been taken, this paper focuses on the tensions and contradictions that exist by examining the emergence of a unique experiment in multi-ethnic media called Migrant World Television (MWTV). MWTV’s origins in the militant migrant worker movement and its development into one of the most vocal grassroots organizations involved in defining the meaning of multiculturalism in South Korea are detailed through a description of its programs and activism. Yet, as the South Korean government works to align its institutions with the reality of a more heterogeneous society, it continues to marginalize model organizations such as MWTV. This paper reveals a more dynamic, everyday form of multiculturalism that has taken root as different ethnic groups come together to practice multiculturalism by deciding what counts as news and entertainment for (im)migrants in South Korea.
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