Publication Details

Dreher, T. 2003, 'Speaking up and talking back: News media interventions in Sydney's 'othered' communities', Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy: quarterly journal of media research and resources, no. 109, pp. 121-137.


Since August 2001, Arab and Muslim communities in Sydney's western suburbs have been caught up in a spiral of signification that linked 'gang' activity in the area to the standoff over asylum seekers aboard the MV Tampa , a federal election campaign fought on the theme of 'border protection' and global news reporting of September 11 and the 'war on terror'. Many people who live and work in the Bankstown area responded to this intense news media scrutiny by developing community-based media interventions that aimed to shift the mainstream news agenda. Through media skills training, forums, events and cultural production, Arab and Muslim Australians in the Bankstown area positioned themselves as the subjects rather than the objects of news. This paper analyses news intervention strategies in terms of media power and the politics of representation. I argue that the activities of those working with racialised communities suggest valuable models for the wider process of improving the reporting of cultural differences in multicultural Australia.