Racism In Modern Media In Australia

1437 words - 6 pages

EssayWhile newspapers are supposed to be impartial and avoid controversial topics such as racism, a more subtle form of racism encoded in the usage of language is still to be found in the media of modern societies such as Australia.Newspapers are supposed to respect the ethos of journalistic objectivity, to be impartial and play a fair role in community cohesion. Nonetheless, a deeper analysis of these aspects shows that the rhetorical force of the media often encodes a certain ideology. It is incontrovertible that journalism has more power to shape our understanding about events, ideas, people and the relationships between people than any other form of communication. (Richardson: 220) The language, in this instance, is the tool which makes this form of communication possible and it has a crucial role in mediating reality. Therefore it is inevitable that a wide range of linguistic features which have a subliminal message are used in the newspapers in order to shape their ideological view.The purpose of this essay is to reveal to what extend the usage of language in newspapers can conceal a highly controversial topic such as racism. This issue will be analyzed by focusing on the usage of textual features in one of the news reports which appeared on the sixteenth of July 1995 in the newspaper The Daily Telegraph in Sydney Australia. The headline was entitled "Kids make big bucks feeding misery of suburban addicts".First of all it is very important to have an overview of the context in which this article was written. In the period from which the article is dated, there was a Vietnamese gang in Australia known as 5T, whose violent and drug dealing activities were famous and which operated openly in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta. As a result, this became one of the main topics for the Sydney media of that time.Another important aspect to be mentioned is that after 1975, there was massive immigration into Australia from Asian countries, especially from Vietnam. At that time, this event represented a serious concern for Australians and there were latent xenophobic sentiments and attitudes that resonate beneath the surface of a democratic, egalitarian policy in a predominantly 'white' society (saga:9). The result of such a negative perception of Asian migrants is that even two decades later, in 1995, there still exist remnants of racism, which are unfortunately to be found in newspapers as this analysis will show.Firstly, the role of the headline is to offer the maximum information in the minimum number of words. That is why every word is carefully chosen and has the function to transmit a certain type of information. In some cases the ideological meaning of the newspaper article can be extracted from the headline. The purpose of lexical choices used in the headlines is not only that of offering factual information but also to influence the readers' perception. For example the word "Kids" used in the chosen article will have a certain impact on the...

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