17 March, 2023
NSW Government’s announcement of 15% advertising in independent multicultural media is welcome – but more needs to be done.
The NSW Government announced that it will double the proportion of mandatory advertising spend for government departments to better communicate with diverse communities.
Fotis Kapetopoulos, the Secretary of Independent Mulicultural Media Australia welcomed the announcement.
However, he said that IMMA members were disappointed that no funding was made available for sustainability and digital transformation as was the case for regional and mainstream media.
IMMA Federal and state governments have spent over $100 million in support to regional and mainstream media over the last five years.
Multicultural media is critical for providing information and acting as a platform for multicultural communities. IMMA members are a trusted source of culturally relevant and targeted information and connection for those communities.
Communication with multicultural communities is effective when provided in culturally, faith and linguistically specific ways from trusted sources embedded in the communities they serve.
And yet, the ability of independent multicultural media to continue to do public interest journalism for communities is still under threat.
Independent multicultural media organisations in print, radio, broadcast and online have experienced enormous challenges as tech giants and digital disruption encroach on our traditional revenue streams.
Print prices alone have increased by 50 percent since last year and costs keep augmenting as incomes continue to decline in media spend specifically on government messaging.
The COVID crisis brought to light, the importance of independent multicultural media in communicating to diverse communities. We communicated COVIDSafe information with integrity, authority, and in the nuanced voice our members understand.
Enormous funds have been allocated to regional and mainstream media over the years, governments also spent big on mainstream campaigns and big tech platforms during COVID, without prioritising independent multicultural media. Often at great detriment to multicultural communities, and the wider Australian community.
In June 2022, the NSW Government also announced a $28 million package to support whole-of-Government Language Services. Government messaging has since been pushed through these services – not always in a timely matter – rather than providing direct financial support to independent multicultural media to continue to provide their own in-language information.
IMMA calls on the NSW government and the Opposition to commit to supporting a diverse media landscape with a sustainability and digital transformation fund as it has with the current $3 million Regional Media Fund.
Fotis Kapetopoulos the Secretary of IMMA said:
“IMMA welcome the Perrottet government’s announcement and acknowledge that the Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure has been active in developing a dialogue with IMMA however, we are disappointed that no funding was announced for sustainability and digital transformation.”
“Our audiences account for 40 percent of Australians, up to 5 million every month and they are intergenerational audiences – we talk to individuals, to families, and to communities, we ignite word of mouth.”
Julius Larobina pubisher of Il Globo, La Fiamma, Niche Radio Network and Il Globo TV said:
“We welcome that the government has finally recognised independent multicultural media.
“The 15 percecent is a great milestone and recognises the role we play in public interest journalism.”
“We look forward to further policy clarification that ensures that the spending actually goes to independent media outlets.”
Dimitra Skalkos, publisher of Greek Herald, said:
“We are not just media outlets, but institutions, we are trusted and valued as a voice of and for our communities.
“Our platforms continue to deliver government messages or announcements relevant to our communities using our resources with reduced support being provided in return.
Muhammad Noman publisher of Monthly Muktamancha
“We welcome the 15 per cent, it is recognition of what we do, however, we need to be able to survive as media and we have not had the support provided to regional and mainstream media.”
“Our media is not just about language, even when we produce in English, the language reflects the tenor of culturally diverse Australians.
Wendy Huang the publisher of the Chinese Herald said:
“We are important to the whole media ecology, many of us are family businesses, that employ professional and emerging journalists and our role is essential in a democratic society.”
For information on IMMA please contact:
Secretary of IMMA E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0413 445 287