Senate debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Statements by Senators


1:34 pm

Photo of Mehreen FaruqiMehreen Faruqi (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

This week Media Diversity Australia has released a new report, titled Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories? 2.0. It looks at cultural and racial diversity in free-to-air television news. The picture the report paints is neither encouraging nor surprising. Truth be told, it's fairly damning. Among other insights, the report finds that journalists with an Anglo-Celtic background remain vastly overrepresented on television; that Australia's non-European population is at least 19 times greater than their representation on commercial networks; and that they could not identify a single Indigenous reporter or presenter at the Seven Network, which has the least on-air cultural diversity. It also finds an underrepresentation of cultural diversity on network boards and in TV news editorial leadership.

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance have rightly given a fail to Australian TV news and current affairs on their cultural and racial diversity report card. The Australian media is still overwhelmingly white. This has enormous consequences for the way that issues are reported on and communities are portrayed. The defensive remarks of media management in response to the report, reported yesterday, were disappointing, to say the least. There is clearly resistance to acknowledging the depth of this problem, let alone getting serious about addressing it.

The media monoculture is not just limited to TV news journalism, which was the focus of this report. Look at the list of this year's Walkley nominees. There are only a handful of journalists of colour across all media forms.

There is much work to be done to put an end to a media culture that is still aggressively Anglo. Congratulations to Media Diversity Australia on the release of this really important report.


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