1950s vibe, 21st century audience: Australia’s dearth of on-screen diversity

  • Nasya Bahfen La Trobe University, Melbourne
Keywords: Australia, census, diversity, Islam, media representations, New Zealand, Screen Australia

Abstract

The difference between how multicultural Australia is ‘in real life’ and ‘in broadcasting’ can be seen through data from the Census, and from Screen Australia’s most recent research into on screen diversity. In 2016, these sources of data coincided with the Census, which takes place every five years. Conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, this presents a ‘snapshot’ of Australian life. From the newest Census figures in 2016, it appears that nearly half of the population in Australia (49 percent) had either been born overseas (identifying as first generation Australian) or had one or both parents born overseas (identifying as second generation Australian). Nearly a third, or 32 percent, of Australians identified as having come from non-Anglo Celtic backgrounds, and 2.8 percent of Australians identify as Indigenous (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander). Nearly a fifth, or 18 percent, of Australians identify as having a disability. Screen Australia is the government agency that oversees film and TV funding and research. Conducted in 2016, Screen Australia’s study looked at 199 television dramas (fiction, excluding animation) that aired between 2011 and 2015. The comparison between these two sources of data reveals that with one exception, there is a marked disparity between diversity as depicted in the lived experiences of Australians and recorded by the Census, and diversity as depicted on screen and recorded by the Screen Australia survey.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

References

Aisbett, K. (2007). Children’s Television Production Project. Australian Communications and Media Authority. https://www.acma.gov.au/-/media/Research-and-Analysis/ Information/pdf/childrens_television_production_project-pdf.pdf?la=en

Aly, A. (2007). Australian Muslim responses to the discourse on terrorism in the Australian popular media. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 42(1), 27-40.

Anderson, H. (2017). The institutionalization of community radio as a social movement organization: 4ZZZ as a radical case study. Journal of Radio & Audio Media, 24(2), 251-269.

Bahfen, N. (2016). ‘Wogball’, or the world game? Race and soccer in Australian journalism. Asia Pacific Media Educator, 26(1), 17-30.

Bahfen, N., & Wake, A. (2011). Media diversity rules: Analysing the talent chosen by student radio journalists covering Islam. Pacific Journalism Review: Te Koakoa, 17(2), 92-108. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjr.v17i2.353

Barker, A. (2018). Fairfax and Nine are merging. Here’s what the deal involves and what it will mean for you. ABC News. [online]. Retrieved in February 2019, from https://www. abc.net.au/news/2018-07-26/what-the-fairfax-and-nine-merger-means-for-you/10039236

Coleman, N. (2017). On average, 9 mosques have been targeted every month this year. CNN. [Online]. Retrieved in March, from https://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/20/us/ mosques-targeted-2017-trnd/index.html

Coles, A., & MacNeill, K. (2017). Policy ecologies, gender, work, and regulation distance in film and TV production. In Women, labor segmentation and regulation (pp. 211-231). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dunn, K. M., Klocker, N., & Salabay, T. (2007). Contemporary racism and Islamaphobia in Australia: Racializing religion. Ethnicities, 7(4), 564-589.

Ellis, K. (2019). Disability and digital television cultures: Access, representation, and reception. London, UK: Routledge.

Ewart, J., & Beard, J. (2017). Poor relations: Australian news media representations of ethnic minorities, implications and responses. In Minorities and Media (pp. 165-191). London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ewart, J., Pearson, M., & Healy, G. (2016). Journalists’ and educators’ perspectives on news media reporting of Islam and Muslim communities in Australia and New Zealand. Journal of Media and Religion, 15(3), 136-145.

Fares, W. (2015). Cyber racism hits hard in the real world. The Point. [Online]. Retrieved in March, from http://www.thepointmagazine.com.au/post.php?s=2015-11-26-cyberracism-hits-hard-in-the-real-world

Flew, T. (2011). Rethinking public service media and citizenship: Digital strategies for news and current affairs at Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). International Journal of Communication, 5(2011), 215-232.

Hammett-Jamart, J. (2004). Regulating diversity: Cultural diversity, national film policy and the international coproduction of films. Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy, 111(1), 46-62.

Hess, K., & Waller, L. (2011). Packaged good: Responses from Australian journalism educators on the reporting diversity project. Pacific Journalism Review: Te Koakoa, 17(2), 11-26. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjr.v17i2.349

Hess, K., & Waller, L. (2015). Community journalism in Australia: A media power perspective. Community Journalism, 4(1), 2-9.

Ho, C. (2007). Muslim women's new defenders: Women's rights, nationalism and Islamophobia in contemporary Australia. Women's Studies International Forum, 30(4), 290-298.

Jakubowicz, A. (2010). Diversity and news in Australia: Synopsis. Presentation to symposium on news and inclusion: Journalism and the politics of diversity, Stanford University, 4 March 2010, [Online]. Retrieved in March 2019, from https://culturaldiversityresearch.wordpress.com/news-and-inclusion/%E2%80%9Cdiversity-andnews-in-australia%E2%80%9D-presentation-synopsis/

Kabir, N. (2006). Representation of Islam and Muslims in the Australian media, 2001– 2005. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 26(3), 313-328.

Klocker, N. (2014). Ethnic diversity within Australian homes: Has television caught up to social reality? Journal of Intercultural Studies, 35(1), 34-52.

Nunn, C. (2010). Spaces to speak: Challenging representations of Sudanese-Australians. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 31(2), 183-198.

Phillips, G. (2009). Ethnic minorities in Australia’s television news: a second snapshot. Australian Journalism Review, 31(1), 19-32.

Phillips, G. (2011). Reporting diversity: The representation of ethnic minorities in Australia's television current affairs programs. Media International Australia, 139(1), 23-31.

Rahman, K. A., & Emadi, A. (2018). Representations of Islam and Muslims in New Zealand media. Pacific Journalism Review: Te Koakoa, 24(2), 166-188. https://doi. org/10.24135/pjr.v24i2.419

Rose, J. (2019). Reporting Islam before and after 15/3. RNZ Mediawatch. Retrieved from https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/mediawatch/audio/2018688583/ reporting-islam-before-and-after-15-3

Ryan, T. (2016). Seen but unseen: Missing visible indigenous women in the media and what it means for leadership in indigenous Australia. PLATFORM: Journal of Media & Communication, 7.

Weber, D. & Roberts, N. (2016). Perth mosque attack: Car firebombed, anti-Islam graffiti sprayed in ‘act of hate’. ABC News. [Online]. Retrieved in March 2019, from https:// www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-29/firebombing-ant-islam-graffiti-attack-at-thornliemosque-school/7552394

PJR icon
Published
31-07-2019
How to Cite
BahfenN. (2019). 1950s vibe, 21st century audience: Australia’s dearth of on-screen diversity. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 25(1&2), 29-38. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjr.v25i1and2.479