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AUSTRALIA: Racist reporting still rife in media, says new monitoring report


New research shows Muslims are more negatively portrayed in the media than other groups. Image: Lukas Coch/AAP/The Conversation

Friday, December 15, 2017

Item: 10049

By Christina Ho
SYDNEY (The Conversation/Pacific Media Watch): Half of all race-related opinion pieces in the Australian mainstream media are likely to contravene industry codes of conduct on racism.

In research released this week, the Who Watches the Media report found that of 124 race-related opinion pieces published between January and July this year, 62 were potentially in breach of one or more industry codes of conduct, because of racist content.

Despite multiple industry codes of conduct stipulating fair race-related reporting, racist reporting is a weekly phenomenon in Australia’s mainstream media.

We define racism as unjust covert or overt behaviour towards a person or a group on the basis of their racial background. This might be perpetrated by a person, a group, an organisation, or a system.

The research, conducted by not-for-profit group All Together Now and the University of Technology Sydney, focused on opinion-based pieces in the eight Australian newspapers and current affairs programmes with the largest audiences, as determined by ratings agencies.

We found that negative race-related reports were most commonly published in News Corp publications. The Daily Telegraph, The Australian and Herald Sun were responsible for the most negative pieces in the press. A Current Affair was the most negative among the broadcast media.

Muslims were mentioned in more than half of the opinion pieces, and more than twice as many times as any other single group mentioned (see chart 2).

Muslims were portrayed more negatively than the other minority groups, with 63 percent of reports about Muslims framed negatively. These pieces often conflated Muslims with terrorism. For example, reports used terrorist attacks in the UK to question accepting Muslim refugees and immigrants to Australia.

Priscilla Brice and Deliana Iacoban from All Together Now, a not-for-profit group working to combat racism, also contributed to this article.

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Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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