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SEMINAR: Anthropology & Sociology Seminar Series

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Today's date is Monday, September 21, 2020
Anthropology & Sociology Seminar Series : “I take it with a pinch of salt”: Discursive Responses to News Representations of Asylum Seekers among Western Australian Media Audiences. Other events...
The media is a critical source of information on people seeking asylum and therefore, plays an important role in shaping and reinforcing how members of the public understand the issue. In Australia, few studies have investigated how media audiences respond to news discourses about asylum seekers, and no research has utilised a combination of discursive and audience reception approaches to shed light on the topic. This research employed Fairclough’s (1992) Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) alongside an Audience Reception framework (Hall, 1980) to explore how Australian media audiences conceptualise and evaluate news representations of asylum seekers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 residents of Western Australia (WA), who discussed their general views about asylum seekers, their media engagement preferences and habits, and their perspectives regarding Australian news discourses about seeking asylum.

Most participants cited the news as their main source of information about asylum seekers, with many adding that they choose to engage with content that aligns with their political views. Some reported regularly engaging with news material despite voicing major concerns about its reliability, suggesting a complex relationship with the media. With respect to how Australian media organisations represent asylum seekers, participants emphasised the following concerns: negative and dehumanising representations; bias and sensationalism; limited transparency; a lack of balanced reporting; and bureaucratic influences on news content. Some also pointed out that asylum seekers’ voices are frequently absent from news coverage about their plight. Overall, findings revealed considerable disenchantment among WA media audiences, which carries important implications for the communications and sociological fields, highlighting the importance of transparent, compassionate, and inclusive approaches to news coverage about asylum seekers.
Speaker(s) Ashleigh Haw
Location Social Sciences Building Room 2204
Contact Alka Sabharwal <[email protected]>
Start Fri, 26 Oct 2018 14:30
End Fri, 26 Oct 2018 15:30
Submitted by Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Last Updated Tue, 23 Oct 2018 10:02
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