今天, 每一個人都因為新冠病毒, 在生活上作出了巨大的改變。
在澳洲, 聯邦政府在過去一年能守緊邊境, 成功阻止及控制了病毒進入社區, 並且實施經濟措施,協助中小型企業渡過大流行帶來的衝擊, 令到沒有很多生意倒閉及失業率飃升。在最近數月, 在處理接種疫苗令澳洲社會慢慢回復正常的過程中, 澳洲的情況卻未如理想, 聯邦政府實在需要加一把力。
問題的根源, 是聯邦政府忽視了澳洲社會的多元性。澳洲自七十年代開始, 努力去改善種族歧視, 提倡多元文化共融, 彼此尊重的生活, 卻一直沒有正視在社會中潛在的隱性歧視現象(Covert Racism)。在今次新冠大流行, 這現象完全被顯露出來。
疫症開始初時, 首要的是教育社區認識新冠病毒及實施各種防疫措施, 媒體是主要工具。總理莫里森每週一次的國家內閣會議及大大小小的疫情新聞發佈會, 大家見到總理對疫情的關切。去年維州安德魯斯州長由7月3間開始一連120天的每天新聞發佈會, 是歷史性的紀錄。
這些訊息, 通過臉書及Youtube直播, 每每有數萬人在觀看, 訊息在各大主流媒體即時被報導, 並在社交平台上立時轉傳及討論, 在晚間電視新聞及電台報導並在翌日於報章刊出, 不用24小時這些訊息就傳遍主流社會。不過佔人口接近一半的少數族裔背境移民就, 卻少有在在這些資訊通道中, 得到幫助。
不懂英語的第一代移民, 根本無法進入及使用這些資訊通道。就算可以用英語交流的, 因文化差異及關注事物有所不同, 很少使用主流媒體。而使用他們原來語言的少數族裔媒體, 根本無法提供快速及有效的資訊通道。各級政府沒有正視這情況, 而聲稱把資訊翻繹成為不同語言, 放在官方網頁上, 就已經足夠, 其實就是一種隱性歧視, 沒有為有特別需要的多元社區, 建立合宜的資訊通道。在第二波疫情爆發時, 維州政府明白少族裔成了疫情的重災區, 設立了多元文化專案小組統籌, 專向多元社區推動面對新冠疫情各項政策, 嘗試解決這一個隱性歧視帶來的影響。
現今, 疫苗接種已出現「疫苗猶疑」的情況, 由於虛假資訊深深影響多元社區, 因此在多元社區將會更大的問題。是時候聯邦政府要正視這一情況, 不能再推搪下去。
We need a multicultural Covid information centre
COVID has altered the life of everyone of us.
Over the year the Australian government has good border control in containing the virus and has good economic measures in supporting and saving businesses. However, in recent months our vaccination program to restore social normality however has not been as smooth as the government expected hence more need to be done.
The root of the problem is the overlooking of the multiculturalism of this country. Since 1970’s the government has been working hard on racism and multiculturalism but not quite on ‘convert racism’. The pandemic has revealed this issue.
As the pandemic started the priority was community education in CovidSafe mainly via the media. PM Morrison held weekly national cabinet meetings and various press conferences concerning the pandemic. Daniel Andrew’s 120 consecutive days of holding Covid press conference was really a record. These daily information went out through the Facebook and YouTube and direct to tens of thousands of real time audiences, followed by wide coverage in the mainstream media through online platforms, which further arousing discussion and attention through social media network, and with TV and radio reports around the day, and newspaper coverage on the following day. But few of the ethnic minority communities benefited to the same extent.
Our first generation of immigrants with poor English standard cannot access such media information. Even those with better English would not use much mainstream media due to a cultural difference reflected in the content. But their own ethnic minority media may not be good in offering them accurate and up to date information. Government officials at various levels are overlooking their special Covid information needs. Just by putting the translated versions in the official websites is a kind of covert racism. In Victorian during the second wave of the pandemic the state government attempted to solve this problem by setting up a CALD task force in promoting CovidSafe policies in ethnic minority communities.
Our vaccination program is now facing setback especially in our CALD communities due to the feeding of fake information and misinformation by nations around the world. It is high time for the government to take some action in response.
For any vaccine roll out plan to work, the federal government must set up a multicultural Covid information centre in building up the connection with CALD communities.
Mr. Raymond Chow, Publisher