4 May 2010

Mainstream and Indigenous media outlets have called for more Indigenous journalists to improve the coverage of Indigenous issues.

The discussions were held as part of the World Press Freedom Day Indigenous Voice Forum at The University of Queensland.

Key speakers Paul Cutler, Director of News and Current Affairs SBS; Heaton Dyer, Executive Director, Programming, Strategy and Innovation at CBC News, Canada; and Te Anga Nathan Kaiwhakahaere Matua Kawepurongo, General Manager News and Current Affairs Maori Television all agreed that more Indigenous people are needed to participate in the media so Indigenous perspectives and voices can be heard.

Matthew Leonard from the National Indigenous Radio Service (NIRS) warned that organisations must do more than simply recruit Indigenous staff.

“Organisations need to be prepared to honestly scrutinize their own internal work cultures and challenge assumptions about the cultural safety of the workplace,” he said.

“If not, they will be unable to put appropriate mentoring and support systems in place and we will continue to see high attrition rates amongst Indigenous recruits”.

Forum participants including journalists, broadcasters and journalism educators from Australia, Canada, the United States and New Zealand got together to share their experiences and reach a consensus on the positive action required to recruit and support new Indigenous journalists, strengthen Indigenous media and better prepare journalism students to report on Indigenous issues.

Contact: Heather Stewart 0418 830 938 www.indigenousvoice.com.au