Before the period between 1995 and 2000, research on the subject of racial diversity in British media was centred on the use of language and images by media to represent and produce racial diversity within the British society. Cultural studies in the 1980s show that media took a rather racist stance that denied representation of minorities in British media. Race relations were inherently racist, which symbolised the hegemony within the postcolonial era. The media, especially the press were viewed as key culprits in the reproduction of the racist Britain. The implications of a racist media in society, and especially with regard to minority groups are extremely serious (Hall 2009, 199). Because media is a basic opinion former that acts on policy makers, as well as those for whom the policy is implemented, a racist press plays an integral role in strengthening and justification of racism within the society and providing a shield for racist actions, particularly racist violence.
Press reporting of matters dealing with racial diversity has been manipulated by popular fear and suspicions, and have also led to the creation of an environment where racist opinions and activities are normalised and upheld. However, the claims that the press is innately racist, and a perpetrator of racism to the degree that is may even be a potential cause for racist violence, are greatly contentious.
In order to escape the tautological suggestion by cultural studies that the media is predominantly racist, it is paramount to refer to empirical studies
relating to time, media type and the thematic content of messages carried in the media when covering matters that relate to minorities and migrants. Most commentators assert that there has been widespread improvement in the media coverage of racial and ethnic diversity, especially through improved coverage of minorities and migrants in Britain. A reporter from the Independent newspaper summarises the affairs of media coverage in the late 20th century as follows; many features from the previous domain remain stubbornly in place, aspects of ethnic and racial diversity currently receive extra coverage. These include the depiction of minority groups such as Black and Asians in a racist light (Hall 2009, 206). For instance, Asians are typically considered news worthy it can be shown that they are culturally backward or if they are victims of racism. However, in recent times, the media is blameless of racial and ethnic segregation of minorities as seen during the 1997 British election. It is evident that the media is innocent of charges of production of racial stereotypes and the marginalization of ethnic minorities. In addition, the British media is