BCM310: Diasporic Media and asylum seekers

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Diaspora is a Greek term initially used in “scholarship, journalism, and popular discourse, used broadly and at times indiscriminately to denote a number of different kinds of movement and situations of mobility among human populations” (Burgett & Hendler 2007). In simpler terms, diaspora refers to “the broad range of dislocations experienced by several groups of people” (Khorana 2014). An example of this which is prevalent in Australian media is asylum seekers.

As previously discussed, the media plays a crucial role when it comes to informing public thought and perception regarding political, cultural and social issues. This means that the way in which different peoples, in this case, asylum seekers, are framed in the media has a direct effect on moulding public opinion. It has been noted that asylum seekers are only in the first stages of misrepresentation where the content produced around them is for the most part, limited, negative and full of misinformation and prejudices (Branston & Stafford quoted in Khorana 2014). This is decidedly true and is seen in the portrayal of asylum seekers through both images and terminology in news media. Common phrases include “boat people”, “illegals” and “queue jumpers” whilst images primarily are made up of large male groups often positioned near a boat. Asylum seekers are frequently depicted as a dehumanized ‘other’ that is out to ‘threaten’ the nation’s security. This is problematic as it has numerous legal ramifications and can contribute to the increase of race hate and hate crimes towards asylum seekers.

This also brings forth the notion of the right to representation. The right to contribute to the media by producing content that is a fair and accurate representation, is crucial if we wish to see a diversified media discourse. As the media has such a broad control over public thought processes, it is imperative that it demonstrates a number of different viewpoints and stories. 


References:

Burgett, B & Hendler, G 2007, Keywords for American Cultural Studies, New York University Press, NY, USA, p. 81

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Diasporic Media’, BCM310, lecture, University of Wollongong, viewed 19 May 2014

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