National Congress and Media Diversity Australia Release Handbook for Journalists

National Congress has partnered with Media Diversity Australia to develop a free online handbook for journalists reporting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and issues, to promote more culturally sensitive, fairer and more accurate reporting on First Peoples.

This is now available online, released for NAIDOC Week 2018. The handbook is a comprehensive 18-page resource which is currently being disseminated to media outlets and journalism schools across Australia. A practical two-page journalist checklist has also been made available.

National Congress funded the research, writing and community consultation for the resource.

It is designed to help journalists navigate issues from appropriate terminology and visiting sacred sites, to reporting on deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“National Congress is pleased to collaborate with Media Diversity Australia and Australia’s national broadcaster the ABC on the production of media guidelines for reporting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, and we hope that this will lead to a sensitive and accurate reporting on First Australians,” said Jackie Huggins, Co-Chair of National Congress of Australia’s First People.

The handbook takes into account time pressures, deadlines and the nature of news and current affairs cycles. There is also a contacts list to help journalists find appropriate sources and permissions.

“Whether intended or unconscious, those working in the media have the power to influence how Indigenous communities are perceived and understood. This resource is a guide only – hopefully it encourages journalists and their editors to consider the impact inaccurate reporting can have on already disenfranchised communities,” said Shannan Dodson, Media Diversity Australia’s Indigenous Affairs Officer.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation provided editorial resources and support, as well as in-kind graphic design.

National Congress supports culturally sensitive journalism which respects the laws, cultures, interests and wishes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and hopes journalists will consult this handbook routinely when reporting on issues impacting First Peoples.



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