Audience Contradictions in the Negotiation of Controversial Cultural Media Content

Pilar Medina-Bravo (1) , Miquel Rodrigo-Alsina (2) , Frederic Guerrero-Solé (3)
(1) Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona) , Spain
(2) Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona) , Spain
(3) Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona) , Spain


This paper analyses how people negotiate representations of other cultures in the media, in particular those traits that can be considered controversial in the sense of generating strong opinions and opposing stances. A news story about an Egyptian television channel run by Egyptian women journalists wearing the niqab (Maria TV) was used to stimulate debate in four focus groups. Although most of the participants initially criticized the approach adopted by the television channel, they also expressed opinions on journalists in niqab that agreed with the representation proposed by the channel. The article shows that even though audiences may seem capable of criticizing media biases, they do not recognize their own internalized prejudices and, ultimately, accept the discourse proposed by media.

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Pilar Medina-Bravo (Primary Contact)
Miquel Rodrigo-Alsina
Frederic Guerrero-Solé
Author Biographies

Pilar Medina-Bravo, Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona)

Senior Lecturer of Intercultural Communication at Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona). She is the coordinator of the Critical Communication research group (CRITICC: Her research interests include gender, identity and the media and she has published widely on gender issues and on intercultural communication and identity. More information:

Miquel Rodrigo-Alsina, Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona)

Professor of Communication Theories at Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona). He is a former researcher at the Research Center for Language and Semiotic Studies (Indiana University), at the Center for the Study of Communication and Culture (Saint Louis University) and at the Centre d’Études sur l’Actuel et le Quotidien (Université René Descartes, Paris V). He is coordinator of the research group UNICA ( and has published around 100 articles and eleven books, including La construcción de la noticia (Paidós, 2005) and La comunicación intercultural(Anthropos, 1999). (

Frederic Guerrero-Solé, Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona)

Lecturer and researcher at Pompeu Fabra University. His main research interests are intercultural communication, the sociology of communication, media effects and social networks. He is a member of the UNICA research group ( His publications are focused on the third-person effect and the diffusion of information on social network sites, in particular Twitter. He has also published articles on the media and power in post-Soviet Russia.

Medina-Bravo, P., Rodrigo-Alsina, M., & Guerrero-Solé, F. (2018). Audience Contradictions in the Negotiation of Controversial Cultural Media Content. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 18(2), 1–08.

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