This paper presents evidence that shows for the first time that news media influence was a significant factor in the decision to dismantle the Northern Territory’s bilingual education policy in 2008. It identifies and discusses five media-related overlays that have affected public discussion and policymaking during the life of the policy. They include the media’s role in informing public understanding of the policy; media representation of Indigenous peoples and issues; the relationship between policymaking and journalism in general; neo-liberal discourses about education, especially literacy; and the reporting practices of journalists who have covered the issue. It draws on relevant literature, the history of the policy and interviews conducted for the Australian News Media and Indigenous Policymaking 1988-2008 ARC Discovery Project to interpret some of the connections and disconnections between these overlays and bilingual education policy. This analysis suggests that the news media exerted a complex and uneven range of influences on the 2008 decision to dismantle Australia’s first and most enduring policy of Indigenous self-determination.
Field of Research
190301 Journalism Studies 190302 Professional Writing
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