Cultural diversity has always characterised Australia, but growing potential for mobility and conclusion has lead to new forms of inclusion and exclusion in transnational communities and multicultural societies (Georgiou, 2003, pg.5). What we assume or what we believe to portray as a particular person, character or society is largely shaped by politics through an array of media channels.
As Foot (1976, in Sukhmani, 2014) elaborates, race hate and race violence does not rise and fall according to the numbers of immigrants coming to Britain. It rises and falls to the extent to which people’s prejudices are inflamed and made respectable by politicians and newspapers. What I have been exposed to growing up, just like many of you, is a negative portrayal and stereotype of asylum seekers through traditional news forms.
Use of words such as ‘terrorists’, ‘sponging’, and ‘diseased’ create an awful and misleading framed identity that has marginalised the ‘boat people’ society. This representation offers nothing but a negative image and prejudice, in which Australia are lead to believe that the refugees have nothing to offer the country. Migrants must then struggle to find acceptance and positive recognition in such a heavily media saturated society, carrying a label that only offers one side of the story.
This marginalization and stereotyping of racialised communities is also known as ‘diasporic media’, in which it has the potential to enhance the confidence of minority ethnic individuals and communities (Cottle, 2000 in Sukhmani, 2014).
It saddens me to believe that individuals must flee their country due to civil war or persecution of minority ethnic or religious groups, and then struggle to find reception in a country that is supposedly ‘culturally diverse’. Luckily immigrants and refugees are finding the strength and power to speak up!
As Salazar (2012) argues, that community media is better positioned to recognise changing attitudes towards migrants and refugees, and that young media practitioners have become active citizens in the exercise of their civil and communication rights. Through the use of modern media channels, such as social media, individuals own the process of content creation and communication, thus redefining the content and expressing their own opinions.
We must acknowledge that we have a moral obligation to dig deeper into the truth of issues, not just rely on what is presented in the frames of media and government. If you don’t agree, speak up!
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Tweets and Replies, JPEG, accessed 21/05/2014, https://twitter.com/ASRC1
Georgiou, M 2003, ‘Mapping Diasporic Media Across the EU’, Key Deliverable: The European Media and Texhnology in Everyday Life Network, 2000-2003, accessed 21/05/2014, http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/research/EMTEL/reports/georgiou_2003_emtel.pdf
Mehdi, N 2014, Asylum Seekers and Media Representation, accessed 21/05/2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BaPeY5ws9o
Merret, T 2013, Ali’s Story-Asylum Seekers-A Better Way, accessed 21/05/2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtWwS1jv3qw
PaperBoy, Front Page-Ship them out of here, JPEG, accessed 21/05/2014, http://www.thepaperboy.com/australia/2013/07/19/front-pages-headlines.cfm
Salazar, Juan Francisco 2012, ‘Digital stories and emerging citizens’ media practices by migrant youth in Western Sydney’. 3C Media, Journal of Community, Issue. 7, pp. 1-21
Sukhmani, K 2014, Diasporic Media, lecture, BCM310 Emerging Issues in Media and Communications, University of Wollongong, delivered 19 May