Exploring national culture through international media The publication of a viral pro-LGBT image compared against a nation’s wealth, level of religion, and democracy

Linda Jean Kenix (1)
(1) University of Canterbury , New Zealand

Abstract

Gay marriage is now legal in 22 countries around the world. However, homosexual acts remain punishable by death in 10 countries and are now illegal in a further 65 countries. Thus, there appears to be very clear national cultural distinctions in how local cultures consider the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. In 2016, an image of a 12-year-old boy who stood against a sea of anti-LGBT marriage protesters in Celaya, Mexico went ‘viral’ around the world as an icon for LGBT rights. This research will examine newspapers from a sample of 17 countries to see where this particular pro-LGBT image was used. This research asks the question, what is the relationship between the publication of this image and a country’s level of democracy, wealth and religion – socio-economic factors that have been found to be correlated to the acceptance of LGBT rights. The findings of this research could potentially suggest the presence of ideological biases at the national level in regards to how international news stories are told and also which news stories are even addressed. These factors may help to coalesce into a cultural perspective unique to each country examined

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Authors

Linda Jean Kenix
(Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Linda Jean Kenix, University of Canterbury

Linda Jean Kenix is Head of the School of Language, Social, and Political Sciences, which consists of six departments, at the University of Canterbury. Her book, Alternative and Mainstream Media: The Converging Spectrum, was recently published by Bloomsbury Academic. She has published broadly in 35 international academic journals, including Visual Communication Quarterly, Journalism, Communication, Culture & Critique,Journalism Studies, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Television & New Media, Information, Communication & Society, Mass Communication & Society, and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. Dr Kenix is interested in the visual and textual media representation of marginalized groups, the reasons for, and the consequences of that representation. Her recent work has broadened to examine how marginalized groups use various media as tools for social change. She has been a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford University, the University of Cambridge, Monash University and the University of Valencia.

Kenix, L. J. (2019). Exploring national culture through international media The publication of a viral pro-LGBT image compared against a nation’s wealth, level of religion, and democracy. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 19(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v19i1.773

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