Media and Australian Identity

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Question 1: Critically analyse how ideas of Australianness are constructed and/or challenged in a media text of your choosing (film/television show/radio show/podcast/advertisement/etc.).

Australia is one of the few countries with vibrant media that operate under strict regulations, owing to the significance of the national identity. The government of Australia recognizes the role of media such as film, television, radio, and advertisement, in shaping public opinion. As such, the media can either construct or challenge the concept of ‘Australianness’ when left to operate under specific environments. While the radio storytelling in Australia has largely been westernized, the film and television industries promote the Australian identity. This paper assesses the role of media in challenging or constructing the concept of ‘Australianness.’

Rotfeld, Jevons, and Powell (2004, p. 65) highlight the Australian standards for media advertising, which go a long way in preserving the Australian identity and national heritage. The standards seek to promote patriotism by the news media, owing to the escalation of various forms of advertising that do not conform to the Australian Standards. The Australian government seeks to enforce standards that construct the national identity in addition to protecting the indigenous culture. The reason for the standardization is the growing westernization of the American media, which threatens the local identity in the promotion of the American and other foreign cultures.

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According to Lindgren (2014, p. 66), the American culture has had a significant impact on the Australian culture, particularly through media influence. The Australian life has changed dramatically because of the Americanization of the Australian media. The radio storytelling is Australia has shifted from promoting and protecting the Australian identity to propagating the American culture. The Western culture has crept into the Australian media to an unprecedented level. The idea of the Australian identity is a core concept in the conservation of the Australian culture, especially when it comes to media perspectives.

The American storytelling forms have eroded the Australian identity in the radio story-telling platform. The Australian radio documentary is a genre that has been significantly assimilated into the American culture to the extent that it has lost its Australian sense. The Australian documentary production is on the rise although the radio aspect of it takes many forms. Although some of the documentaries tell Australian stories, there is a growing trend to challenge the Australian identity by embracing the American identity. The community radio and ABC have taken a dynamic shift in their documentary production to a scale that does not correspond with the Australian identity and culture.

According to Lindgren (2014, p.64), the digital age has aroused interest in storytelling in many societies around the world, including in Australia. The mushrooming of social media platforms has shifted attention from the conventional media because people can socialize and gets real-time updates via online platforms. Many Australians listen to the radio during meals and rest, which makes radio a great company at odd hours. It implies that the stories aired on radio are more intimate and have far-reaching implications on the Australian identity.

Price (2010, p. 451) advocates for the creation and restoration of Australian identity in the media, especially through reality TV. The author is convinced that reality TV can be an effective platform of relaying the Australian identity to the masses, considering the alienation of the mass media in the recent past. The current media situation in Australia does not accurately depict the national values and identity of the country or her citizens. Accordingly, all the key stakeholders ought to lay down effective strategies that will bring back the media to focus on issues of national and cultural importance. The media has done its part in promoting the real situations in Australia although it needs to adjust in other areas, especially in radio.

Although the reality TV shows in Australia are construction the Australian identity, the other media platforms focus on external issues that deconstruct the national identity. According to Fraser and Llewellyn (2015, p. 319), the Australian news media play a critical role in highlighting the narratives of the parents who live with disabilities. Consequently, the Australian media directly constructs the Australian identity, especially with regard to disability and parenting. Dreher (2009, p 445) emphasizes the need for the media to embrace cultural diversity in Australia. The diaspora community and mainstream media ought to avoid racialization and stereotyping of culture in order to promote the ‘Australianness.’ Although some of the news media focus on external issues, a considerable portion of the news media cover the discourses of the parents who cope with intellectual disability as a way of seeking solutions.

In conclusion, the media plays a significant role in challenging or constructing the concept of ‘Australianness.’ The Australian government recognizes the role of media such as film, television, radio, and advertisement, in shaping public opinion. As such, the media can either construct or challenge the concept of ‘Australianness’ when left to operate under specific environments. While the radio storytelling in Australia has largely been westernized, the film and television industries promote the Australian identity. 

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  1. Fraser, V, & Llewellyn, G 2015, ‘Good, Bad or Absent: Discourses of Parents with Disabilities in Australian News Media’, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 28, 4, pp. 319-329, Professional Development Collection, EBSCOhost, viewed 21 March 2017.
  2. Lindgren, M 2014, ‘This Australian life’: the Americanization of radio storytelling in Australia’, Australian Journalism Review, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 63 – 75.
  3. Price, E 2010, ‘Reinforcing_the_myth: Constructing_Australian_identity_in ‘reality_TV’, Continuum: Journal_of_Media & Cultural_Studies, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 451–459.
  4. Rotfeld, H, Jevons, C, & Powell, I 2004, ‘Australian media vehicles’ standards for acceptable advertising’, Journal of Advertising, 33, 4, pp. 65-73, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 21 March 2017.
  5. Dreher, T 2009, ‘Listening_across_difference: Media_and_multiculturalism_beyond_the politics of_voice’, Continuum: Journal_of_Media & Cultural_Studies, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 445-458.
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