Earlier in 2018, a moral panic erupted over so-called ‘African gangs’ in Australia after federal and state politicians became vocal about ‘African youth’ since December last year.
UNESCO Chair-holder Professor Fethi Mansouri called for contextualisation of the issues surrounding the sensationalised reporting of ‘African gangs’ in Melbourne.
In an article published by Invenio, Professor Mansouri pointed to findings by researchers at Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Institute (ADI) that have shown that Australia’s project of a multicultural nation is put at risk by irresponsible reporting on marginalised communities.
“We need to steer away from the hysteria and culture of public fear that is being propagated by the media and politicians around African-Australian youths in the city of Melbourne,” said Professor Mansouri.
“We’ve seen this type of racially-based hysteria before when the culprits were Asian, Middle-Eastern or Eastern European rather than African. Yet much of the existing research evidence shows that there are no causal links between ethnicity and criminality.” – Professor Mansouri.
In subsequent weeks following the initial panic, far-right commentators were placed in the media spotlight leading to attacks on people of African descent.