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Colour Code
Colour Code

Stop racist coronavirus reporting

"Chinese virus PANDAMONIUM" and "China kids stay home". These are the headlines splashed across the front pages of the Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph last week.

And these headlines have impact – we've seen an outpouring of stories from the Asian community of people being harassed on public transport and their workplaces, and children being bullied in playgrounds.1

That's why we're lodging a complaint to the Australian Press Council against the Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph for these offensive headlines. They have the power to order a correction, apology or other forms of action that penalises racist reporting. And the more people who add their voice, the stronger our complaint will be.

Add your voice and your concerns to Colour Code's complaint to the Australian Press Council.

UPDATE: The editors of the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph have apologised for their racist headlines targeting the Chinese Australian community. Thank you to everyone who has spoken up about the overt discrimination – putting pressure on those in power works when we all stand together.

But, we need to keep going.

The editors' apologies were small paragraphs buried deep within the newspapers, and weren't proportional to the glaring front pages blasted for all the public to see. The superficial apologies also failed to take responsibility for the negative effects on the affected communities, or make commitments to better standards in the future.

And as indicated by the complaints we have received so far – the response doesn't match with the gravity of the impacts that Asian Australian people have faced.

When the deadly H1N1 virus began in the USA, killing over 12,000 people in the United States, you can bet Australian newspapers didn't call it an 'American virus' – yet these headlines blatantly target a minority community in this country.2

It's not too late to add your voice, so we can demand more substantial action from these media outlets, and ensure racist reporting like this doesn't happen again.

[1] Australian doctors warn of rise in racist abuse over coronavirus, The Guardian, Tuesday 4 February;
'This is racism': Chinese-Australians say they've faced increased hostility since the coronavirus outbreak began, SBS, 01, February, 2020 [2] H1N1 United States Fast Facts, CNN, 05 June 2019
The Australian Press Council is responsible for promoting good standards of media practice, community access to information of public interest, and freedom of expression through the media. The Council is the principal body with responsibility for responding to complaints about Australian newspapers, magazines and associated digital outlets.
Highlight what's wrong with their headline/
Let them know these sorts of headlines are racist, and blatantly single out the Chinese community. They have real world impacts on Asian community members.

Share your experience/ how you're feeling
In one or two lines, tell them how the headlines made you feel - have you experienced racism since the reporting of the outbreak? Are you, your family or friends feeling less safe? How do you feel seeing Asian community members targeted in Australia?
The complaint will be lodged by Colour Code on behalf of our members.

We will compile all the complaints we receive as supporting evidence that we attached to our complaint. We will only include your name, and what you've written down as your concerns. Your contact details will not be shared with the Australian Press Council and will not be included in the complaint.

If we can get hundreds of people sharing their concerns, we can build a stronger case against these media outlets, and we'll be too loud to ignore.

Share your concerns!

The more people who add their voice, the stronger our complaint to the Australian Press Council will be, and the greater chance we have to stop this racist reporting.

NB: Your details will be added to the bottom of the email sent.

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