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Contemporary Health Issues Analysis

Paper Outline

A literature review on the population group
Discourse analysis for each media text

Media choices and unhealthy representations of population group

The media discourse analysis and the accompanying quote
Utilising Health Promotion principles

 
Cultural Minorities
A literature review on the population group
The issue of cultural minority has widely been covered by the Australian media. In reference to the refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, the media has been steadfast in covering aspects related to these groups (Mares & Mares, 2002). The role of the media is shaping how individuals view refugees and asylum seekers cannot be ignored (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2010). Australia is among the leading countries in the intake of refugees and asylum seekers. According to BBC (2012), the Australian government has plans to ensure that the country provides room for over twenty thousands refugees each year. Currently, the country’s refugee intake is about 14,000 per year. According the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, increasing the refugee intake will lead to a 45 per cent increase in refugee intake. In line with these projections, the lawmakers agreed for the offshore camps serving the asylum seekers to be reopened in Nauru and PNG. This was meant to minimize the risks taken by asylum seekers who use boats (BBC, 2012).
In most instances, the media has referred to the refugees and the asylum seekers as “illegals.” This has been the case despite lacking objectivity. In deed, Australia is home to over 50,000 illegal residents who are not refugees or asylum seekers. These are individualsliving in the country despite the expiry of their visas (Menadue, 2011; Gibney, 2004). The media has also exaggerated the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. According to media reports, Australia is seen as being a host to many refugees and asylum seekers than any other country. However, in real sense, this is not the case (Mares, 2001; McMaster, 2002; Mares, 2002). Other countries register higher numbers of refugees and asylum seekers than Australia (Australian Refugee Rights Alliance, n.d.; Menadue, 2011). The Australian media has exaggerated a slight rise recorded in the refugee and asylum intake. Notably, the media has opted to be politicized in its reporting. The opposition uses the media to portray that the government is doing very little to curb illegal immigration (Australian Refugee Rights Alliance, n.d.; Pickering, 2001).The Australian media has also failed to objectively report on issues affecting the refugees and asylum seekers. This was portrayed in the way the media reported the Curtin protest by the Iraqi asylum seekers in the year 2000 (Mares, n.d.).
Discourse analysis for each media text
In the article by Sheehan (2012), the author criticises the Australian government in its effort to set the record straight following the viral email that was spread depicting the kindness of the government to the refugees. According to Michel Foucault’s notion of discourse, this media article portrays that asylum seekers and refugees are not good for the Australian economy. The article notes that the government is spending substantial funds on the refugees and asylum seekers even when they do not qualify at the expense of the Australian public (Sheehan, 2012). In reference to Shirley Dally’s framework, the audience is the Australian public. The author quotes the amount spent to depict the differences in government spending on the refugees and genuine Australian people. In relation to the theory developed by Deborah Lupton, this article can lead to resentment against the refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. The refugees and asylum seekers are portrayed as illegally benefiting from the public resources.
In the article by Wright (2012), the author portrays a crisis created by asylum seekers in Australia. The article focuses on asylum population at the Christmas Island detention facility meant for asylum seekers before they can obtain legal documents. The author serialises the arrival of asylum seekers in the established facility (Wright, 2012). In reference to Michel Foucault, this article’s discourse portrays that the Australian government has to do something to save the crisis created by asylum seekers. From Shirley Dally’s theory, this article focuses on the Australian public and the government as the audience. The author serialises the arrival of asylum seekers to portray the crisis. In reference to the framework developed by Deborah Lupton, this article can create hatred towards the asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Australia. This is due to the crisis and strain they are creating to the Australian facilities.
In the article by Packham and Wilson (2012), the authors report on the new strategies used by the asylum seekers to gain entrance in Australia. In the article, it has been argued that the asylum seekers often make distress calls to the Australian authority for assistance when they encounter a problem while still in their boats. It is expected that the asylum seekers will be met and assisted to get to Australia safely (Packham and Wilson, 2012). According to Michel Foucault, this article portrays the unorthodox methods used by asylum seekers to gain entrance to Australia. This elaborates on the new developments that have complicated the issue of asylum seekers in Australia. In reference to Shirley Dally, the target audience of this article includes the Australian public and the policy makers. The authors have explained the way the asylum seekers make distress calls to the Australian authorities in an effort to gain a safe entry into the country. Following the theory developed by Deborah Lupton, this article will further deteriorate the perception that the Australian public has against the asylum seekers. This is due to the unconventional strategies adopted by the asylum seekers, which is already a despised group.
Media choices and unhealthy representations of population group
The news article by Sheehan (2012) reflects on the unhealthy representation of the asylum seekers and refugees in Australia. The author claims that the Australian citizens are being cheated to believe that the asylum seekers are not taking away what is rightfully theirs. The Australian public is the target audience and the article dismisses the explanations given by the government on the benefits provided to the refugees. Reading this article will play a great role in shaping the negative perception of the Australian public towards the refugees. In this case, the public will perceive the refugees as draining their resources.
The news article by Wright (2012) also reflects on the unhealthy representation of the asylum seekers. The author of the article depicts the asylum seekers as putting extra pressure on the Australian facilities. In fact, the author is categorical that the asylum seekers have overstretched the facility at Christmas Island. In the article, it is noted that the asylum seekers come from far areas to settle in Australia. The author depicted the government as the main audience for his article. The author would want to see the Australian government take a drastic action that would arrest the worsening situation. This article depicts the issue of asylum seekers in bad light as they are seen as putting a strain on the available resources. This way, the public may hold resentments against the asylum seekers and push for regulatory policies that would address the situation.
The news article by Packham and Wilson (2012) also reflects on the unhealthy representation of the asylum seekers in Australia. In the article, it is noted that the asylum seekers have turned to the use of unconventional means to get assistance from the Australian authorities. Essentially, the asylum seekers make an emergency call to the Australian authorities while in the sea to be assisted to get into Australiasafely. This seems to work as they usually get a safe landing into Australia. The article targeted audience is the public and the policy makers. The authors hope that the policy makers would come up with a policy framework that would address this new development. The asylum seekers are portrayed negatively as they seem to be a nuisance. In this case, the public will despise them for their behaviour.
The media discourse analysis and the accompanying quote
There is no doubt that the media has a great impact on the attitudes of individuals. The aspect of cultural minority and the media is something that has been talked about by many authors. It has been noted:
…media reporting can shape public perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers. On the one hand, compassionate and sympathetic coverage can help to promote understanding… resulting in public pressure for the increased protection of refugees. On the other hand, the portrayal of displaced people as a potential threat, and as competitors for scarce public goods, can generate and intensify feelings of fear, and awaken popular demands for protection from refugees (Mares &Allotey, 2003, p. 224).
The analysis provided by the news articles reinforces the tenets of the quote. The news article analysed presents a scenario where the asylum seekers and refugees are depicted in bad light. This ensures that the public has a negative perception of the asylum seekers and refugees coming to Australia. If the media portrayed the asylum seekers and the refugees in good light, the public would change its perception regarding the groups highlighted.
Utilising Health Promotion principles
The the Ottawa Charter or the Framework for Health promotion was developed in the year 1986with the aim of enhancing health promotion across the world. The Ottawa Charter established five areas that are critical to health promotion. The five aspects include healthy public policy; supportive environment; community action; personal skills and appropriate health services (Verrinder, 1999). The five principles can be applied to the case of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. In this case, good policy framework should be developed to ensure that the Australian people adhere to the provisions of theRefugee Convention that was established in the mid 20th century. Under these provisions, the UNHCR, an agency that ensures the welfare of the refugees and asylum seekers, has established guidelines on how the detention of the asylums seekers should be undertaken (Thom, 2009).
The Australian government should also establish a supportive environment that will promote the welfare of the refugees and asylum seekers. The government should also encourage its neighbours to become signatory to the Refugee Convention. This will help in creating a supportive environment as some of the asylum seekers and refugees will go into these countries (Reiher, 2010). The media should also be encouraged to be objective and sensitive in the way they report issues related to asylum seekers and refugees. This will positively shape the attitude of the Australian public towards asylum seekers and refugees.

 


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