The Effects Of Communication On Indigenous Australians Essay

The Effects Of Communication On Indigenous Australians Essay

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Indigenous Australians’ have been featured in many Australian mediums including paintings, poetry, films and books (Dodson, 2003, p. 27). This has led to many representations from the heroic native to the overweight drunk and then to the spiritual being (Dodson, 2003, p. 27). Bowles (2002, p. 74) states that a representation can have an effect on self identity and international perception. This leads to the question what is representation? How do Public Relations (PR) professionals consider the effects of communication on indigenous Australians? Are there any protocols in place to protect indigenous Australians within the Public Relations’ field?
Representation is an imaginative portrayal led by what society believes as the ‘norm’ (Bowles, 2002, p. 75). A representation is a depiction of an object or person and has two main characteristics (p. 73). The first characteristic is that it is a portrayal and not the same as the actual object (p. 73). The second is that the comprehension is a series of choices meaning audience will interpret the portrayal how they want to (p. 73). Representations are not meant to be realistic but it is possible for the audience not to know that therefore they will believe what they are shown. Representations are thought to alter the way we perceive the world and our social relations because the audience cannot forget the link from what is being represented to how it is represented (Bowles, 2002, p. 76). A representation can be harmful to who is being depicted, the entire group that is being depicted and to the viewer as it could change the way they see this group of people (Bowles, 2002, pp. 74-78). This is because the experiences offered by the media are vast and not easily judged for the truth (Bowles...

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...Birch, 2003, p. 149). The Koori may have been offended by this as others have decided that their culture and history was easily dismissed. It would have been easy for the tourism commission to have made a liaison to communicate with the Koori and would have saved a lot of damaged relationships. They could have even used the Koori to explain the importance of the sites to the non-indigenous locals to lessen the backlash of people angry over the changed names.
PR professionals need to be mindful of all cultures within their organisations publics. Within Australia professionals will inevitably come across indigenous Australians and therefore be mindful of how their organisation affects them. Protocols should be put in place to help the professionals create stronger relationships with indigenous Australians so they do not let their perceptions affect their practise.

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