Editor-In-Chief: Charbel Baini

The Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane speech on Etnic Community Media‏

Recently the Premier held a media conference with ethnic community media outlets to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the New South Wales Liberal-Nationals Government.
It has been a pretty poor year of achievement, with more than 200 broken promises to the Premier's name. I make no criticism of the media conference specifically; I am critical of the way this State Government has treated ethnic community media as no more than a distant second to mainstream media.
The Premier called on the ethnic media to tell the people of New South Wales what he claims to have achieved while his Government slashes advertising in ethnic community media outlets.
This not only further tightens the financial noose but also disadvantages the migrant communities that these outlets serve.
Ethnic community media in Australia are valuable institutions contributing to our vibrant multicultural, multi-faith society and ought to be given the respect that they and their respective communities deserve. Although ethnic community media is well established in this State, many ethnic community newspapers or media generally struggle financially.
I accept that this affliction is not unique to media outlets, and that this is a free market where the most successful survive.
In my view, however, the State Government should find the means to support the service the ethnic community media provides. Such support, however, must be on a no-strings-attached basis so as to maintain the integrity of our third estate.
One option would be that, through an independent body such as the Community Relations Commission, the State Government could provide grants to small community media outlets in a similar manner to Federal Government community grants as provided through the Department of Immigration. Ethnic community media plays a vital role in the everyday lives of millions of Australians, providing diversity and interfaith harmony. They help the newly settled to understand what is going on around them and help them make informed contributions to community discussions and decisions.
They are at the heart of everyday living of migrant communities that produce and transform ethnic identity, culture and perceptions, and help them fit in and coexist and understand culture, behaviour, etiquette, ethics and values of others they live with and around and, by extension, identify themselves in the overall society in which they live.
They can become mobilising agents for ethnic communities and they can be indicators or barometers of social change.
Ethnic media has the capacity to raise awareness about issues not addressed in mainstream media.
Ethnic media can provide members of the broader community with insights into changes or developments taking place around them and internationally.
I understand, respect and value ethnic community media journalists and producers and all who are involved in producing their radio programs, their press reports or their online services.
I know they work hard and are committed to their jobs.
I commend them for their perseverance in making their product a success.
Those who established ethnic media in this country are true pioneers and they deserve recognition.
They are really and truly the quiet achievers, informing locals and the outside world of business and trade opportunities, promoting tourism, creating commerce and understanding. Governments should better understand the role of ethnic community media and the issues they cover so as to incorporate migrant community concerns into the agenda of State policymakers.
Neither governments nor mainstream media reference ethnic media in reporting news or initiating policy. Ethnic press is seldom seen as publicly significant; in fact, it is argued by some that, historically, there has been xenophobia towards the ethnic press.
I have commenced the process of establishing the Ethnic Community Media Awards to recognise the work of ethnic community journalists and to reward them accordingly.
Members will be aware that I have been recognising ethnic media journalists and owners in motions I have put before the House.
It is time that we recognised and respected these community builders for their journalistic professionalism and their hard work and commitment to keeping the community informed about national and international affairs.
Today we are starting to see community language media diversifying, producing in ethnic and English languages in print, on radio and on websites. Significantly, they are applying other electronic social media in globalising their news and outreach.
It is time the Government saw the true value of ethnic media and encouraged their success through supportive measures that will ensure their survival and that of the role they play in our Australian multicultural society.

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