As the nation’s health and economy is so severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, it is obviously essential that people receive the most authentic medical and government information to enable them to respond and contribute to policy making.
In multicultural Australia, although English is the common language, there are millions of Australians who do not have English as their first or main language and badly need this information in their ethnic community language. Although the main stream print and electronic media are flooded with such information in English up dated almost daily this is not the case with the ethnic media which are left on their own very limited resources to make it do, the massive job required.
With the emergency stage now declared communication especially live radio should be considered generally as an essential service and assisted to perform exactly this. Yet ethnic broadcasting especially in the community sector that provides 3/4 of all ethnic broadcasting in Victoria and indeed Australia, it appears not to be considered as an essential service and faces a shut down at a time that is needed most. Clearly it is not enough to nominate SBS as an essential service and leave others with no live voice.
3ZZZ ,the Ethnic Communities radio station in Melbourne broadcasting from modern safe working studios for 30 years in 65 languages with over 500,000 listeners is facing this prospect within days, unless the Victorian Government which repeatedly acknowledge 3ZZZ invaluable contribution to the State’s huge ethnic minorities formally includes 3ZZZ in the essential serviced category, a deserved and urgent expectation .
Of course 3ZZZ and other similar stations will comply with the safe medical working environment guidelines.
- George Zangalis is known for his political action for migrants in Australia stemming back to the days when he joined the Communist Youth Party in Australia. He has been involved in the Ethnic Communities council, has sat on the board of SBS and is a lead broadcaster in Melbourne’s ethnic radio station, 3ZZZ. He has written the book ‘Migrant Workers and Ethnic Communities: Their Struggles for Social Justice and Cultural Rights: The Role of Greek-Australian’.