'Indian Ocean News': Indian challenges to Australian Racialised Media

University of Technology, Sydney
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Transforming Cultures eJournal, 2009, 4 (2), pp. 111 - 143
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Two events involving Indians in Australia have grabbed news headlines at different times. One was the 1945 campaign supporting Indonesian Independence in which Indian seamen known then in Australia as lascars played a high profile role for which they have seldom been acknowledged. The more recent has been the 2009 series of violent attacks on Indian students in Australia, which have aroused major news coverage and public debate in Australia and India. How might news media reflect better the potential of both these stories to tell transnational Indian Ocean news in which more than one narrative is heard? How, in fact, might they reflect the qualities of the Indian Ocean itself in fostering circulation and dialogue? To contribute to this wider question, this article explores two issues. Firstly, do cultural stereotypes persist over time and, if so, is it because news media re-create and re-circulate them in changing circumstances? Secondly, how does access to making news come about: whose voices are heard and how are news stories identified and told? In the light of what appears to be the simple perpetuation of old stereotypes into the 2009 stories, this paper examines both newspaper and documentary filmic representations of the 1945 campaign.
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