Don’t overlook multicultural media in fighting with Covid-19
As pointed out in the preliminary report issued on 28th September by the investigation panel on the Victorian hotel quarantine, the problem was with the government not taking hotel quarantine seriously as a health hazard but only as a procedural motion. After all, the existing government bureaucracy can only work according to laid down procedures without proper reference made to the real issue.
On 13th August I told Primer Andrew that multicultural media organisations did not have the resource to better inform the respective communities on the pandemic. Chief Health Officer Prof Brett Sutton also acknowledged on the same day that ethnic minority communities need to be better informed through proper and reliable channels rather than through social platforms of their various own languages. A recent report indicated that Sudan and South Sudan people were largely fined for breaking lockdown rules due to their ignorance; given they only represent 0.14% of Victorian population, they received 5% of the fine total meaning a 35-fold more than the others.
The Premier indeed had announced a five million funding for this purpose but after two months no ethnic minority communities had received the hard cash. The bureaucratic system just made all the community organisations putting in thousands of grant applications, for a few thousand dollars each we have been driven mad in presenting proposal papers for their vetting and review reports for their window dressing rather than having genuine support in better informing the various communities.
I appreciate Premier Andrew in every of the daily press conference urged us to go testing and to follow lockdown rules. It’s a pity that those officials administering multicultural policies, which affect almost half of the Victorian population, were sticking to outdated community liaison framework without addressing to the actual information need of the communities. In the absence of good information source from their respective ethnic minority media, these communities find them difficult to adequately understand and follow health guidelines and social restrictions.
I cannot understand why the government authorities would believe just by uploading some translated health information to their official websites and doing some PR coverage could serve this purpose for the ethnic minority communities? To neglect the influence of multicultural media without giving them the financial aids could only fail the government effort in fighting Covis-19 across the country. Recent outbreaks relating to ethnic minority clusters are prompting government officials for a serious look of the issue.
Raymond Chow Publisher