MEDIA RELEASE 18 February 2021
Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS)

VALS is outraged that Facebook has blocked our page and the pages of many community organisations that represent marginalised groups as part of its political battle with the government and media outlets.

To apply a blanket ban without considering marginalised groups is re-enforcing the systemic discrimination that marginalised communities are fighting against. Facebook should immediately lift all blocks and reconsider its tactics and how they impact marginalised people.

VALS is also disappointed that the Government has taken a hard position in this battle and not considered the impact on marginalised groups. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have played a key role in disseminating government information to our communities and relaying the problems our community have faced to Government. This political battle will hinder the nation’s pandemic response if the Government does not find a resolution.

We do not get the billions of dollars of revenue that Facebook, media outlets, and Governments do. We work hard on a very tight budget. Being collateral damage in the political stoush of the rich and powerful does serious damage to our work and risks compounding the systemic discrimination that leads to marginalised people having worse outcomes in justice, health, education, and ultimately mortality.

Quotes Attributable to Nerita Waight, CEO of Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service

“Facebook’s actions today were racist. They must immediately remove all bans and put more thought into their future political actions.”

“Aboriginal people are always sacrificed in these political battles and all sides should feel great shame and guarantee to ensure the voices of Aboriginal people and marginalised groups are properly involved in the future.”

“The Prime Minister gave a speech last week on the anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations. He made many promises about doing better. Hopefully, his Government will fulfill that promise and manage this issue with greater awareness and engagement.”

Media inquiries

Patrick Cook
Senior Communications and Media Officer
pcook@vals.org.au
0417 003 910