Asian Media in Transition Essay

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Using examples from recent editions (from the last 6 months) of a particular English language newspaper published in Asia, examine how Australia and Australian issues are being reported in the newspaper. In your essay, provide a context for understanding Australia’s role in the region. You can draw on the readings for topic 2 for this. Make sure you include a thesis statement/proposition in your introduction, explaining what the central argument of your essay is. For example, it may be that discussion of Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers in Asia are still framed by the country’s historical treatment of immigrants, presenting Australia as still being stuck in the conservative past. Discuss how the reporting of Australia situates Australia in the region and the implications of these representations of Australia in Asia.

Australia have been in an on-going struggle to cope with an almost constant influx of asylum seekers, many originally from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iran and Iraq, who make their way to Australia by boat via Southeast Asia. Australia is constantly in the spot light regarding its treatment of these aforementioned asylum seekers, with the media ever-questioning whether their complex array of policies are framed by the country’s historical treatment of immigrants, presenting Australia as still being stuck in the conservative past. Using examples from recent editions of the Jakarta Post, the largest English language newspaper in Indonesia, this essay will examine how Australia and the treatment of asylum seekers issue is being reported, how it situates Australia in the region and the implications of these representations of Australia in Asia. Since Australia became a nation in 1901, a number of recurring themes have shaped the actions of generations of policymakers: as a creation of imperial Britain, Australia has always been a long way from ‘home’ and often painfully conscious of its isolation and potential vulnerability; “The sense of being strangers in a strange land, surrounded by peoples of whom they knew little other than that they were different, alien, and possibly hostile, shaped much of Australia’s early international relations,” (Beeson, 2001). Asia was to play a pivotal role in shaping Australia’s future in that it provides immense new markets and unprecedented trading opportunities. However, Asia was seen as a threat with their overwhelming numbers. The developing racial prejudice was increasingly linked to economic concerns, with fear of Asian migrants taking work from Anglo-Australians and British Migrants. The white Australian policy, also known as the anti-Asian immigration policy, was Australia’s approach to immigration for the most part of the 20th century. Over subsequent years, Australian governments gradually dismantled the policy with the final vestiges being removed in 1973 by the new labour government (Department of Immigration and Citizenship, 2012). Nevertheless, Australia has proved to be anything but consistent when it comes to its direction in foreign relations and policies, particularly the Asian-orientated ones. On the one hand, Australia is trying to reposition itself in Asia as a friend, trader and security partner, with much reference to Asian countries as ‘neighbours’; “In framing the relationship with Asia in neighbourly terms it could appear that Australians had no thought of giving offense to people who were racially different,” (Walker 2002). And on the other hand, political leaders such as One Nation Party’s Pauline Hanson, mentioned in her maiden speech that she believes Australia is being “swamped by Asians” (New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board, 2003). Unfortunately for those genuinely for ‘Asianization’, the white Australia policy has provided an ‘excruciatingly embarrassing legacy for subsequent generations of policymakers keen to embrace Asia, rather than keep it at arms-length’ (Beeson, 2001). The same applies to their treatment of asylum seekers....
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