A group of publishers, journalists and advocates will argue that multicultural media is essential for public interest journalism.

At a forum later this week they will discuss how this media engages communities at times of crisis.

Kos Samaras, Anthea Hancocks, and Dr Hass Dellal are keynote speakers. There will be two panels with publishers, journalists, and researchers.

Kosmos Samara from Red Bridge Group is a strategist and polling specialist. He focuses on how governments must communicate to multicultural electorates. He will use examples where government failed to communicate, such as during the Yes campaign for a First Nations Voice to Parliament.

“Both politicians and corporate Australia risk overlooking a significant audience by solely relying on mainstream platforms. They may miss an opportunity to effectively engage with diverse segments of the population who may pay closer attention if messages were delivered through appropriate channels,” said Samaras.

Dr. Bulent (Hass) Dellal AO will speak. The Executive Director of the Australian Multicultural Foundation and Chair of the Australian Multicultural Council was also the former chair of SBS. Recently, he chaired the Commonwealth Government’s Multicultural Framework Review.”Multicultural media are essential in communicating with and representing diverse communities.

“As Chair of the Multicultural Framework Review Panel, we sought IMMA’s views and other media to ensure the media ecology is inclusive and can inform a Multicultural Australia,” said Dr. Dellal.

The CEO of MPC, Nick Richardson said he was “delighted to partner with IMMA for an important discussion about the role our vibrant multicultural media plays in Victoria.”

“This forum is a great opportunity to highlight the issues, talk about strategies and build connections around public interest journalism’s vital place in our diverse communities,” Richardson said.

Vivienne Nguyen AM, the chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) and event sponsor, said it is “critical that the multicultural communities are informed timely and with accurate information to minimise disinformation and misinformation.”

“The forum is also providing opportunities for potential collaboration in media diversity and representation,” Nguyen said.

The Gandel Foundation sponsors the MPC Quills Multicultural Affairs and Media Award and this event. The CEO Vedran Drakulic OAM said the Gandel Foundation has a long-standing commitment to enhancing social cohesion and inclusion and helping strengthen our multicultural society.

“Multicultural media plays a vital role in that context and is arguably the most critical link to their communities, especially in crises or challenges society faces.

“In addition, and crucially, multicultural media play an integral part in helping create understanding, connections and build bridges – all of these are why Gandel Foundation is proud to support this event,” Drakulic said.

The Panels

The first panel will discuss multicultural media and public interest journalism. It will look at engagement with audiences and the impact of digital transformation.

The facilitator, Fotis Kapetopoulos, is an MPC board member. He is also an IMMA secretary and a journalist at Neos Kosmos.

The panel includes Christopher Gogos, publisher of Neos Kosmos, and Julius Larobina, director of Italian Media Corp. Wendy Huang, director of Chinese News and Media Group and Jitarth Jai Bharadwaj, the publisher of Indian the Australia Today Network, will also join.

Neos Kosmos, launched in 1957, has adapted to second and third-generation Greek audiences. The Italian Media Corp comprises Il Globo, La Fiamma, radio, and television. Il Globo was launched in 1959 and remains the leading Italian Australian media.Chinese News and Media Group is Australia’s most prominent Chinese media nd produces the Chinese Herald and diverse digital titles. The Australia Today Network is a new digital publication in the growing Indian Australian media space.

The second panel discusses defining the ‘public’ in public interest journalism. It will look at how mainstream media in Australia represent the ‘public’ and the role of multicultural media in enriching this understanding.

The facilitator is Tito Ambyo, an award-winning Indonesian-Australian journalist, university researcher, and deputy chair of the MPC.

The Philippine Times publisher Alice Nicholas and Mariam Koslay from the Australian Multicultural Media Centre will be on this panel.

Contributing are also Earvin Cabalquinto, a researcher from Monash University, and Swathi Shanmukhasundaram, an ABC Impact Producer

Nicholas will discuss communicating with Australia’s Filipino community across print and digital formats. Koslay is Involved in media training for young Africans in Australia.

Cabalquinto, a researcher from Monash University, specialises in media consumption patterns of Southeast Asians in Australia. Swathi Shanmukhasundaram, an ABC Impact Producer, works in health literacy among migrant and refugee communities across mainstream and community media.

This is an opportunity to explore the prowess of independent multicultural outlets, their role in bridging gaps in mainstream coverage and their positive impact.

FREE: On the Frontline: Multicultural Media’s Vital Role in Public Interest Journalism forum

March 22 from 9 am to 1 pm at the Greek Centre, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.

Catering, including morning tea and lunch, is included. Book via Humanitix.

Supported by the Gandel Foundation, the Victorian Multicultural Commission and the Greek Community of Melbourne

A Melbourne Press Club and Independent Multicultural Media Australia event.