Were there cases where a locally-published newspaper catering to, and read by an ethnic minority group had a circulation exceeding that of any other newspaper in a country?


  • Fictional Americentric example: La Opinión having a higher circulation than USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and all other newspapers.

  • Hypothetical contrived (and presumably unlikely) example: Suppose a country, named "X", has a lingua franca named "L". Suppose this country is composed of majority ethnic group A, and minority ethnic groups B and C. Suppose that in addition to the lingua franca, members of each ethnic group know their own language (e.g. person of ethnic group A speaks "A", person of ethnic group B speaks "B"), but not the language of the other two ethnic groups. In this country, there are newspapers in language "L", newspapers in language "A", newspapers in language "B", etc. The daily circulation of a newspaper published in language "B" exceeds that of any other newspaper in the country, including that of the newspaper of record (presumably published in language "L").

  • Contemporary example: the Sin Chew Daily (星洲日報), a Malaysian daily published in Mandarin Chinese.

I wish to know if there are historical precedents for the contemporary example listed above.

  • 1
    I imagine in colonial times the newspapers of the colonizers would outsell the natives' who were new technologically to publishing. Often there would be an ethnic divide. I imagine there were many places where, say, The Times of London was the best selling newspaper even tho you had to wait weeks to get it.
    – AllInOne
    May 1 '19 at 16:35
  • 1
    Former African colonies spring to mind. I'm like, the East African Federation's official language is English, but the language in practice is Swahili. Or take a place like South Africa... What's the official language there? May 1 '19 at 19:54
  • @AllInOne Thank you for the insight. I've edited the question to limit the newspapers to locally-published ones. This rules out the case of The Times of London.
    – Flux
    May 2 '19 at 11:43
  • I assume you would not count, say, English language newspapers in contemporary India, where the intent is clearly not to cater to an ethnic minority of native English speakers but rather to provide news in a language broadly accessible to the literate population, whatever their mother tongue.
    – C Monsour
    May 4 '19 at 11:53
  • @CMonsour English newspapers in contemporary India do not count because they do not cater specifically to an ethnic minority whose ethnic language is English. Secondly, the newspaper with the highest circulation in contemporary India (Dainik Bhaskar) is published in Hindi, not English.
    – Flux
    May 4 '19 at 13:25

In 1900 Hufvudstadsbladet (Swedish language newspaper in Finland) had a circulation of 17,500, putting it far ahead of the nearest Finnish language rival, Uusi Soumetar at 11,300.(Conflict and Compromise in Multilingual Societies: Finland, Volym 3) But Swedish is one of the two national languages of Finland so it may not count.

  • 1
    In 1900 Finland was part of the Russian Empire, not an independent country
    – C Monsour
    May 2 '19 at 15:26
  • 1
    @CMonsour Finland was an autonomous part of the Russian Empire, but Hufvudstadsbladet continued to be the largest newspaper until the 1920s.
    – liftarn
    May 3 '19 at 6:57
  • 1
    I don't think the Finns felt very autonomous under Bobrikoff! There were no parts of the Russian Empire that were autonomous in fact rather than in official government fiction. But yes 1920 would be a good year to cite. Finland was definitely independent then.
    – C Monsour
    May 3 '19 at 18:13
  • I guess the remaining question is whether it counts given that it may not have been so much catering to an ethnic minority as simply having been published in a prestige language.
    – C Monsour
    May 4 '19 at 11:50

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