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少數民族不能被忽視                                         社長  周偉文

墨爾本西北及東南多個地區持續爆發新冠個案,維州首席衛生官Brett Sutton教授指出這些區域都是多元文化社區,少數族裔聚居。有人問為甚麼會在這些社區爆發?到底是否有人要為此負上責任?
Brett Sutton認為少數族裔社區,對新冠病毒訊息大多未如主流社會大眾瞭解。有學者指出,少數族裔社群極少從主流英語媒體獲取生活資訊,他們往往從社交通訊、非英語社區區媒體及社區組織中,得到各種生活資訊。為此,Brett Sutton呼籲政府要正視這情況,加強向多元文化社區溝育及傳遞相關訊息。
早在三月,本刊曾向聯邦多元文化部長Alan Tudge提出建議成立多元文化新冠病毒資訊中心,向少數族裔社區組織及媒體,每週發放有關新冠病毒傳播及防禦資訊,特別要支持華人媒體定期出版新冠病毒特輯。可惜當時部長只是重複說政府已把有關資訊翻譯成為不同語言,可供任何人在網上閱讀。五月中部長指令政府官員回覆是意見很好,仍是重複原來的想法,就是我們已在SBS發佈了消息,算是做了應做的功夫。
明顯地,Brett Sutton教授及學者們的意見,表明了多元文化部長及相關官員們,沒有好好處如何向少數族裔傳達及教育預防新冠病毒。今天,州長安德魯斯指責有些人妄顧別人的安全,低估病毒傳播的風險,沒有遵守所訂的隔離措施。是的,這些妄顧別人安全的人,是不負責任,但各級政府,沒有正視向少數族做好傳遞病毒消息的任務,也是事實。我覺得多元文化部長要為此向少數族裔致歉,聯邦政府更要立刻作出回應,不要能坐視少數族裔因此而安全及健康,受到更大的威脅和更高的風險。


Don’t overlook ethnic minority
Many suburbs in NW and SE Melbourne record covid-19 outbreaks recently and Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton pointed out that these are multicultural suburbs populated by ethnic minorities. People are questioning about the causes of outbreaks there and who should take responsibility.
Brett Sutton remarked that ethnic minority communities are not that well informed of the pandemic as compared tothe mainstream society. Some academics believe due to language issue residents from these areas largely rely on their own social media or community network in obtaining information about the pandemic. Brett therefore urged the government to care more about the educaion and information feed in multicultural communities.
Back in March we have proposed to AlanTudge, Acting Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs that we need to establish an Covid-19 information center for ethnic minority communities for them to receive regular update on the pandemic including the publication of Chinese bulletins. Their response however was there already existed online information translated into different languages. In May they came back again saying the idea was good thus they had already done it through SBS broadcast.
I reckoned the important link is not about the translation but how effective the information is to be disseminated to the CALD communities. How would ethnic minorities know that pandemic information in their own languages exist? How many would know where and how to find the information they need in their own language from the English government website? It is the government’s responsibility to make sure they actively reach out to these communities. The government once has put up Chinese captioned version of Youtube information videos, but at the end of a month only handful hits were recorded. Without proper promotion and channel the production is futile. I then recap the idea in mid-May to the Department of Home Affairs but the official reply came back in June was nothing would be changed.
Obviously comments from Professor Brett Sutton and those academics pointed to the deficiency of the government in adequately educating and informing the ethnic communities in flighting the pandemic. Today Primier Andrew said people who did not strictly follow health guidelines were inconsiderate to others and had underestimated the risk of the virus. Apart from these irresponsible group, the government measuring up well too. I think Alan Tudge should send his apology to those ethnic minority communities affected and the federal government should act promptly to prevent further threat and risk to the health and safety of ethnic minorities.

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