Journalism's role in mediating public conversation on Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Australia

Romano, Angela R. (2004) Journalism's role in mediating public conversation on Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Australia. Australian Journalism Review, 26(2), pp. 43-62.


Australian society has seen several heated debates on asylum seekers and refugees since 1999, Although research suggests the quality of news reportage on such issues has improved in recent years, there remain many opportunities for journalists to lay the groundwork for a more productive public conversation about how Australian communities should respond to asylum seekers and refugees. This article draws from focus groups, a content analysis and interviews with stakeholders to identify gaps in the information being presented to Australians. The research suggests citizens need more information that would enable them to consider issues of current public concern, such as the "legitimacy" of asylum seekers, potential security and other risks relating to asylum seekers and reasons for changes in the nature of refugee arrivals. The research indicates journalists need to be more aware ofthe opposing and contradictory value systems that citizens use - such as the values ofcompassion versus caring for one's own first - to evaluate information about refugee and asylum seeker issues. Journalists' over-reliance on sources from government and to a lesser extent, civil-society institutions reduces the likelihood that they will use the narratives and frames that may assist the public in turning antagonistic debates about asylum seekers and refugees into more constructive deliberation.

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ID Code: 19367
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0810-2686
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Deposited On: 01 Apr 2009 00:59
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:10

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