The media has a varied and distinct history of targeting and misrepresenting different minority groups. The media has been accused of framing certain historical events in racial/ethnic contexts (Mansouri, Fethi &Wood, 2008 p.17). September 11 was often talked about within a racial setting, attaching Muslims and persons of Arabic origins to these events. More recently, events such as the Cronulla Riots and the Sydney ‘Lebanese’s’ gang rapes were also spoken of in racial contexts, thereby attaching these violent events to the identities of Muslims and the Lebanese community. These narratives are generated within the media and repeated over and over again until these views become common say amongst commentators. This invariably leads to negative assumptions about these racial groups and the shaping of public opinion. A culture of fear becomes adopted when the media behaves in this way, attaching distinct ‘moral panic’ around certain minority groups as threats to Australia (Dreher, 2013, p.2). The emergence of this concerning pattern is of importance because the media has to ability to shape the publics perception of these minority groups as Dreher states, “media matter because they do not merely reflect, but are also players in, key public debates, providing representations and frameworks which shape understandings and action” (2013, p.1).
Just as the media adopts common narratives and attaches them to other minority groups such as Muslims, the Arabic and the Lebanese communities, so too have they done so with asylum seekers. Issues surrounding asylum seekers are almost always represented as a part of national debate surrounding issues of policy. Common media narratives include that asylum seekers are a strain on Australia resources, Australian jobs will be lost to foreign ‘invaders,’ asylum seekers are ‘queue jumpers’ and the incoming persons pose the threat to national security (Pickering, 2001). These narratives are overwhelming negative and foster a fear in...
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