SYDNEY: The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) made the following representation to the Special Broadcasting Services (SBS) on 7th December, 2017 as a response to network's call for "Public Consultation" as part of their annual "SBS Radio Services Review".
7 December 2016
Ms Mandi Wicks
Director, Audio & Language Content
Special Broadcasting Service
14 Herbert Street
Artarmon NSW 2064
Via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dear Ms Wicks:
We write to you on behalf of the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU), the peak public affairs committee of the Armenian-Australia community to raise on our concerns in relation to the Draft Language Selection Criteria 2016/17.
As you make considerations as part of your review, for which we strongly recommend no change to the Armenian language program, we would like to bring the following key matters to your attention:
- The 2016 Australian Census, and for that matter successive Census, do not portray a complete picture of the Armenian-Australian community. The vast majority of Armenians migrated from Middle Eastern countries, including but not limited to, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, following on from the creation of the diaspora resulting from the Armenian Genocide as well as from the former Soviet Union and Eastern block countries. As an ethnic minority, Armenians have endured a history of persecution including not only a genocide at the beginning of the 20th Century but also anti-Armenian pogroms in Azerbaijan in the late 20th Century. With respect to the latter, those responsible used government records of the names and addresses of Armenians in the cities of Baku and Sumgait to target and commit such atrocities. Sadly, the historic memory of Armenians includes too many instances of once cosmopolitan and tolerant societies suddenly turning nationalist and threatening. Accordingly, a large proportion of our Community still have serious reservations and are circumspect about divulging information about ethnicity to authorities.
- Since the outbreak of the Syrian war, a large number of Armenians have migrated and continue to migrate to Australia. The SBS Armenian language program has been of vital assistance to this growing sector of our community who require language assistance and they adjust to a new life in Australia.
- In 2013, the Armenian language program, along with a number of other language programs, were transitioned to a digital platform. Whilst understanding the technological advancements in content delivery, the digital platform has restricted the reach to the sections of our community who do not have access to digital services. The reach to our community was further curtailed by the decision of SBS to but the Armenian language broadcast from three hours per week to one hour per week.
- The Armenian language program is broadcast in Western Armenian. In 2009, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added Western Armenian onto its list of endangered languages, further reinforcing that there should be no change to the current Armenian language program and on the contrary SBS should reinstate the broadcast hours of the Armenian language program.
We thank you for taking the time to consider our submission and look forward to your favourable outcome.
Vache H. Kahramanian