Don’t Underestimate the Competition

In recent years, Australia and the “western world” have seen an increase in media being produced in Asian countries including Mumbai in India and Hong Kong, China (Curtin, 2010).  Media capitals are usually defined as Western based media industry areas such as Hollywood or the United Kingdom that has high concentration of media production companies (Curtin, 2010).  Eastern media capitals, or new media capitals, have localised their entertainment to reflect the cultural values of their regions.  It has been argued that established western media capitals have orientalised these emerging media powers showing the limitations of western media and displaying a reluctance to accept new viewpoints in the global media arena (Khorana, 2012).

Vorstellung-vom-Anderen

Orientalism is the stereotyping of Asian countries, associating what is seen as “Asian” by western society and applying this view to how new media capitals construct their media and content.  This stereotyping is particularly visible when investigating the reportage of news and current events.  One example of the Australian media orientalising Eastern news media would be that of the attacks on Indian students in Melbourne in 2010 used in Dr Sukhamani Khorana’s “Orientalising the Emerging Media Capitals: The Age on Indian TV’s “Hysteria”” (2012).

The attacks began in early 2010 when an Indian student was stabbed to death in Melbourne.  The ABC article, though it begins with the student’s struggle, quickly moves from the human story to an economic perspective followed by a piece on how the Indian media was “provoking fear” and not reporting on the incidences correctly.

Indian_students_protest_and_blocked_off_Swanston_Street_and_Flinders_Street_,_Melbourne

The Indian media reported on he attacks quickly and condemned Australia for its absence of compassionate reporting.  Reports of the events went global after this and rumours that Australia was a racist country became the topic of news in other western countries.  This frightened the Australian media as they had clearly underestimated the power the Indian media had in their release of these stories.  This is because the Australian media orientalised the Indian media; they categorised their views as having less value.

This reporting of incidents, or lack of, had a negative impact on Australian-Indian relations, both politically and socially.  Increases in access to internet and social networking such as Twitter can have positive impacts and disperse some of the orientalism the Australian mainstream media display when reporting on issues from Asian countries.

What other incidences of orientalism have you seen?

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