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不能忽視多元文化媒體的抗疫角色

社長 周偉文

9月28 日維州酒店隔離研訊團隊發表的初步發現指出,錯誤發生的根源是政府管治團隊只看到管理程序,而沒有意識到酒店隔離是一個重要的衛生防疫問題。而且現存的官僚架構,只因循地按架構內的程序工作,根本沒有正視到真正的問題。

8月13日,我向州長安德魯斯反映了多元文化區媒體,並沒有足夠資源去向社區發放有關新冠疫症訊息。首席衛生官Brett Sutton教授當天也公開表示,多元文化族裔對維州政府的防疫政策認識不足,更受到來自原居地以他們的語言,通過網絡及社交媒體傳來的錯誤訊息。最近一個報告指出,佔維州人口0.14%的蘇丹裔及南蘇丹裔居民,卻因大部份人根本不知道或不明白政府隔離限制,違反了守則被罰款,極不合理地佔總罰款5%,即比普通人高35倍。

州長公佈了5百萬元撥款,用於向多元文化社區傳遞有關疫症消息,經過兩個月,仍沒有具體落在支援少數族裔媒體之中,有的卻是要求多元文化社區向政府申請辦宣傳活動的計劃。數以千計的社區組織被邀請申請撥款,正是政府常用的官僚方案,為了申請數千元,大家都忙於撰寫計劃書,政府部門審批、申請者推行活動再交上部告,作門面的功夫,而不是踏踏實實去支援有關疫情訊息的定期發佈。

州長安德魯斯每天在新聞發佈會呼籲大家去進行檢測及遵守防疫措施,我確實欣賞。可惜的是,面向佔維州近一半人口的多元文化社區,執行政策的官員仍只是按沿著原先已被證明起不了作用的社區聯絡架構,按程序傳遞信息,而忽視了問題的本質。沒有少數族裔媒體傳遞信息,社交平台上,根本沒有用他們語言傳講的信息可傳。沒有這些少數族裔媒體制作大量談論疫症問題的內容,也根本無法引起這些社群重視各種防疫規則,更談不上要求他們遵守。

為甚麼澳州各級政府會認為向主流社會發放訊息,把他們翻譯放到政府網站,再花上精力做少數族裔的公關工作,就可以令到多元文化社區接收到有關疫症訊息?漠視多元文化媒體所建立的影響力,不給予經濟支持,拉著澳洲抗疫工程的後腿。最近日子,一些爆發群組都與少數族裔相連,澳洲各級政府不能不去正視這問題。

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

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