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Domestic Workers needs Journalistic Media

Media plays a significant role in shaping public opinions. According to researches, viewpoints, values and morals of members of the public in a community are greatly influenced by what the media covers (whether the story is covered or not) and how media portrays the stories (presentation style) in the society.[1]

Throughout the course, we have been greatly nurtured by different scholars and professionals who endeavour various projects for foreign domestic workers (FDW). Yet, as I recall the sharing made by a journalist working in the South China Morning Post (SCMP) in one of the lessons, I learnt that journalistic media is subject to many constraints when they elect to what story to tell – after all, media company still emphasises profitability. It appears that most of the readers would rather want to learn how Cathay Pacific fails to provide blanket to passengers, than knowing stories of FDW being abused.[2] Coverage of stories related to domestic workers are more likely than not regarded as sideline.

Figure 1 Cathay Pacific is listed as one of the popular topics on SCMP

It is always vital to have public mandate if we want to motivate or coerce government officials to work or amend current policies and laws. The most efficient way to generate and obtain public mandate is through media’s coverage on stories. Overwhelming public support was gained when Erwiana’s story was covered by different medium.

Figure 2 Coverage of stories related to FDW in Hong Kong

It is grateful that there are numerous organisations, groups and people working for FDW, but it is argued that more citizens’ knowledge and support would be required to let the projects go beyond the current circumscription.

The advancement of technology would drive many medias to go online, where readers now would read news on their smartphone. Theoretically, mobile application is capable of storing unlimited content as long as there is sufficient storage on the server. Thus, I would suggest that news media can establish a separate column to include stories featuring FDW, where such column can always stay on the platform. This, even to a small extent, can increase the exposure of FDW’s stories, without hindering the newspaper’s ability to post other stories on their own platform. I believe, with more stories covering what FDW are facing, what the current laws are and what different groups have been doing, people would be more concerned to FDW. Public mandate can therefore obtained.

Figure 3 Would it be possible for issues related to FDW to be listed as a popular topic?

[1] Media Effects (60502nd ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc. 2012-01-03. pp. 35–63. ISBN 9781412964692.

[2] It is justified to say that issues related to FDW would be much more greater and wider, given the size of FDW in Hong Kong as well as in other Asian territories. Yet, the public consideration that it can arouse seems to be much less substantial than an airline, as manifested on the website of SCMP.

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