11 April 2010

Strategies being adopted in Canada to inform journalists about how to improve coverage of Indigenous Issues will be covered at World Press Freedom Day at UQ in Brisbane next month.

They will be discussed by Brenda Nadjiwan, a member of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation and University of Toronto academic Professor Minelle Mahtani.

Ms Nadjiwan is a founding member, and the current chair of the Strategic Alliance of Broadcasters for Aboriginal Reflection (SABAR) in Canada.

She will join a select group of International specialists addressing key concerns about Indigenous Issues media coverage at The World Press Freedom Day Indigenous Voice Closing the Gap Forum on May 1 in Brisbane.

“The forum is important to get people talking about the fact that there is a gap in the area of Aboriginal inclusion, to identify a baseline, and be able to move forward and do better,” Ms Nadjiwan said.

“Aboriginal people have been noticeably under represented both on-air and behind the scenes in media even though they are a significant and dramatically increasing demographic.”

Ms Nadjiwan said with the increasing Aboriginal population in Canada this forum was very timely and relevant to the future of Aboriginal Peoples and the Media Industry in Canada.

“This International forum is an opportunity to share new ideas and successful measures for increased inclusion and move positively forward to closing the gap,” she said.

“On a personal level, I want to see more Indigenous participation in the media.”

“I see media as storytelling and storytelling has always been a highly valued skill within Aboriginal communities. By becoming involved in media careers, Aboriginal people can continue to exercise that skill and share a new perspective.”

Ms Nadjiwan is encouraged by the commitment and work of SABAR but feels more change needs to be embraced by both Journalism Educators and the Media Industry. She wants to see:
• Increased awareness of the issue and discussion about how to close the gaps.
• Increased government support.
• Increased corporate media support.
• Increased education and training support for Aboriginal Peoples.
• Increased on-air reflection of Aboriginal Peoples.

Ms Nadjiwan said media had the power to change perceptions and attitudes.

“SABAR understands this and continues to work with news organizations and other forms of media to emphasize the relevance and embrace the contributions of Aboriginal people in our society,” she said.

“Aboriginal people are Canada’s fastest growing demographic, so the business opportunities for broadcasters and their advertisers are substantial.”

The Global event is hosted by the UQ School of Journalism and Communication and Centre for Communication for Social Change on May 1, 0900-1800, at the UQ St Lucia Campus.

Conference Convenor, Associate Professor Martin Hadlow said the Forum was a critically important part of the three-day World Press Freedom Day conference.

“We are delighted that the global UNESCO World Press Freedom Day event is being used as a platform for enabling Indigenous media professionals from all over the world to gather and discuss issues of mutual interest and concern,” he said.

“The forum outcomes can only be positive in further nourishing a respect for cultural and societal values, not to mention identifying the specific needs of indigenous broadcasters and journalists internationally.”

SBS Head of News Paul Cutler is the keynote speaker at the Forum and there will representatives from CBC and National Native News in the US also making presentations.

The Indigenous Voice Project is a joint collaboration with the UQ School of Journalism and Communication and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Unit headed by Michael Williams to improve Indigenous student intake, retention and graduate outcomes.

Industry Project partners include SBS, ABC, NIRS, NITV, National Indigenous Times, National Native News (US), CBC in Canada and 989fm in Brisbane.

Education partners include Triple-A Training, QUT, Griffith, Edith Cowan University and Murdoch University.

The project has new links with Cherbourg, Warwick, the Drumley Walk in Beaudesert and organisations including Australia’s peak Indigenous Media body AICA and Indigenous Remote Communities Association IRCA.

Project Leader Heather Stewart said the gathering would not have been possible without the sponsorship, particularly from Education partners QUT and Griffith universities.

“Further to this the support and guidance from our project partners has been invaluable,” she said. “This project is a collaboration and crucially relies on Industry, Community and Education sector in-kind input.”

For further information about the Indigenous Voice Project and the Closing the Gap Forum contact Project Leader Heather Stewart heather.stewart@uq.edu.au Mobile: 0418 830 938 Website: www.indigenousvoice.com.au

To register for the World Press Freedom Day Conference: http://www.unesco-ci.org/cgi-bin/events/registration/page.cgi?g=World_Press_Freedom_Day_2010%2Findex.html;d=1

SABAR contacts: Media Officer: Melanie Farrell mfarrell@rci.rogers.com Brenda Nadjiwan Tel: 416-973-7938 Fax: 416-954-3189 Brenda.Nadjiwan@inac-ainc.gc.ca mailto:Brenda.Nadjiwan@inac-ainc.gc.ca

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