Media Representation of Roma and Prejudice Toward Roma: Can One Television Show Promote Intergroup Tolerance?

Ajana Löw Stanić


The aim of the study was to examine the difference in the prejudice level toward Roma before, right after and seventeen months since the broadcasting of a reality show in which the winner was a Roma minority member, and to determine whether the representation of Roma and the issue of Roma discrimination in print media coincides with the given changes. The research included a survey study, conducted at three time points and a content analysis of 231 issues of print media, published during bimonthly periods that preceded each survey. Consistent with the hypotheses, right after the show, the level of both overt and subtle prejudice was significantly lower than before the show. 17 months later, although still lower than before the show, the prejudice level demonstrated an increasing trend. The highest representation of Roma in print media was found during and right after the show, with the lowest proportion of negative articles, and highest representation of articles concerning Roma discrimination. The results indicate that only one television show could lead to significant reduction of prejudice, through media contact with a member of a minority and observation of a positive minority-majority interaction, as well as through exposure to a media agenda that promotes the social norms of intergroup tolerance.


prejudice; parasocial contact hypothesis; agenda setting theory; social norms; prejudice reduction interventions

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096