Indigenous violence as a ‘mediated public crisis

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    The association between Indigenous Australians and violence remains a persistent backdrop to public discussion of issues of race in Australia. This paper reports on initial analysis of a survey of newspaper reporting of ‘Indigenous violence’ in seven Australian newspapers from January 2000 to June 2006. From a ‘high point’ in the reporting of Indigenous affairs in the year 2000, reporting of Indigenous Australia has increasingly focused on news of violence, conflict and corruption in remote, rural and urban settings. Over the six-year period, stories relating to Indigenous violence featured at regular intervals on the news landscape through stories of substance abuse, domestic violence and child abuse in remote communities. Significantly, such news stories were not treated consistently across all newspapers or time periods, with substantial variation in the extent of coverage in different newspaper locations and genres. In addition, a series of ‘moral panics’ periodically confronted Australian media audiences - moments of intense scrutiny of alarming events resulting in calls for government action to remedy the perceived ‘problem’ (Critcher 2003; Cohen 1973; 2002). Reporting of such crises was typically juxtaposed against political news stories of corruption and the ultimate demise of representative Indigenous government. Most striking was the reporting by the Australian and the Fairfax press of the issue of violence and child sex abuse in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory in May and June 2006. The paper argues that Indigenous Australia continues to be mediated as an underlying societal risk, and that parts of the Australian media have sought to actively drive political agendas in Indigenous affairs through the construction of mediated public crises
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCommunications, Civics, Industry
    EditorsJohn Tebbutt
    PublisherAustralian and New Zealand Communications Association (ANZCA)
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Print)9780646490663
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    EventANZCA 2007: Communications, Civics, Industry: Refereed Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference 2007 - University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
    Duration: 5 Jul 20076 Jul 2007


    ConferenceANZCA 2007: Communications, Civics, Industry
    Abbreviated titleANZCA 2007
    Internet address


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