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澳洲政府責無旁貸
周偉文
你能看到這一篇文章,表示你是《同路人》的忠實讀者。自新冠疫情開始,看到身邊事物的轉變,我相信大家的心情都不好過。不少企業倒閉,很多人失去工作,每一天大家關心的是感染數字及死亡人數。在維州的朋友,更要困在家中,每天提心吊膽,不知明天的數百個感染者中,是否包括自己、家人或好友。日子一長,很多人都會懷疑自己精神健康是否出了問題?

由一月開始,各地華人小企業在疫情影響下都萎縮停頓了。在差不多沒有廣告的情況下,我們堅持出版,因為我們相信社區不能只有社交平台上泛濫的誇張失實訊息,我們需要正面及客觀的消息及評論。特別有關疫症的訊息,我們更有責任去傳播。

我多次向政府反映要加強向少數族裔傳遞疫症訊息,只可惜不少決策者都無法理解少數族裔的實際處境,沒有正視問題。想像一下,維州州長安德魯斯每天都發表超過一小時的新聞發佈會,同時各大媒體都在網絡即時報導及分析,而讀者可以在報章閱讀及在社交平台上轉傳,在極短時間內,訊息就成為人人皆知。這一條資訊發佈鏈卻無法走進少數族裔社區。一些人數較少的族裔,英語能力較低者,根本無法理解主流平台上的訊息,慢慢就跟不上疫情的發展。在社交平台上,傳出的都是別人所理解的部份資訊,而且多是帶著主觀批評責罵,不一定能協助們掌握防疫政策。

華人在澳洲是最大的少數族群,情況也好不了多少。本刊作為媒體,我每天都跟進聽了州長的疫情發佈會,但也沒有資源去制作報導並及時在網上準確發佈,也無法在雜誌中作更詳細分析。在華人社交平台上,常見的是粗制濫造,水平極低,在中國以中學生英語能力翻譯出來,然後以嚇人標題改寫發佈的微訊信息。這些信息往往只是一些誤導人的小道消息,例如「維州警察總部成為播毒源頭」、「肯德基沒有雞供應而停業」等嘩眾取寵的錯誤消息。

我相信澳洲各級政府有責任向少數族裔提供各種語言的訊息,但不可只把訊息存放在政府網頁中就算是盡了責任。試想一下,有多少不懂英語的人能在其中找到這些重要的資訊?政府一定要支持少數族裔媒體,提供足夠的支持,讓它們去扮演著發送準確訊息及推動這些社群更好的參與防疫的角色。

 

Australian government to be held accountable

Raymond Chow       Publisher
You are reading this column because you have been a loyal reader of Sameway. Everyone has not been in a good mood as the pandemic unfolds over the past months. Businesses are closing, unemployment on the rise, people are counting infected cases and death toll every day. Victorians are under lockdown and living in fear without telling who amongst our circles would become a victim by tomorrow. Mental stress is inevitable as this state prolongs.

From January all small businesses in every Chinese community has been going down. Sameway insists on publication amid almost nil advertisement because we do not want social media as the only platform in overflowing those exaggerated information, we want to keep you posted of some positive and objective messages and analysis, especially with our media responsibility in regard to the pandemic.

I have repeated urged the government to better inform ethnic minority communities on the development of the pandemic. It is a pity many of the policy makers are not aware of or serious about the issue. Say Victorian Premier Andrew used more than an hour of press conference every day, followed by mass coverage through the online news network where every people can start circulating in their social platform spontaneously. But there could be a missing link with the ethnic minorities. There are some of such communities with low English ability falling behind of the updated situation. What they could get from their own social platform are just indirect, subjectively or poorly presented information unhelpful to them.

Chinese being the biggest ethnic minority group has not been better off. As a media operator I follow closely the Premier’s briefing every time, but the problem is I am not given any ready online material for me to prepare timely announcements in turn or to publish detailed reports. Mostly found with Chinese social networks are low quality reporting from China in high-school English translation standard, then titled up as eye catching WeChat messages. These could be very misleading and exaggerated messages such as “Victorian Police headquarter has become virus hot spot”, “KFC closed because of no chicken supply”,etc.

I think Australian government at all levels should be responsible for better informing ethnic minority communities in their languages, but more than just uploading information to the official web pages. Wondering how many who did not know English would find these uploaded information amid the ocean of English content and have missed reading them. The government must give more support to minority media on behalf to do a better job in coping with the pandemic in those communities.

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