Norway hosts first journalism award for indigenous broadcasters


Norway is widely known for hosting the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Awards. This month, the Scandinavian country is hosting the debut of another important yet largely unknown journalism award ceremony for the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network (WITBN) on March 29, 2012.

Nine finalists have been selected out of 24 entries in the in depth reporting category of the WITBN Indigenous Journalism Awards (2012 WIJA). The ceremony will be held in Kautokeino, Sápmi, Norway.

The official announcement from WIJA explains: “2012 WIJA is the first international indigenous journalism award dedicated to presenting indigenous perspectives through journalism in television and audiovisual media. While journalistic standards and ethics are the essences of this honor, the awards in particular look for the portrayal of indigenous perspectives on stories of local, national or international impact.

This video shows the 2012 finalists from indigenous networks in developed countries such as Taiwan, Australia, Norway, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

2012 WITBN indigenous journalism awards finalists

One of the nominated programmes, from Māori Television, Aotearoa New Zealand, covers what should be labeled as “Occupy Easter Island” (it started a year before the Occupy movement in the U.S.), a rarely reported protest by Rapanui activists who occupied a government-owned hotel for half a year, demanding recognition of indigenous rights and demonstrating the unfairness of occupation.

‘We are ready to die for our land,’ says Rapanui activist in programme broadcast
by Maori Television of New Zealand

Easter Island (or Rapa Nui) is a land where colonisation has forced the indigenous population to a small corner of the land, and where tourism had created an unsustainable economy. The sustainability problem is widespread in indigenous peoples’ struggles all over the world to survive and preserve their culture.

The indigenous use of broadcast journalism and modern technology to promote the rights of their communities is a step forward.

The nine finalists out of 24 entries for the 2012 WITBN Indigenous Journalism Awards are:

NRK Sápmi, Norway

When the revolutions in North Africa began in early 2011, it was legitimate to ask how it affected the indigenous peoples in the area. Research showed that there were several indigenous groups that arose as a result of the riots, and who promoted their own claims about their existence.

National Indigenous Television, Australia

Amnesty International chief Salil Shetty visited communities in Utopia on the weekend in 2011, describing the plight of locals as “devastating.” The human rights group profiled the Utopian region that claimed homeland communities were being starved of money for proper housing, maintenance and basic services like rubbish removal.

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canada

Tens of thousands of Aboriginal people in Canada were forced from their homes during the era of “residential schools”. Children were removed from their communities and dragged away to schools in communities thousands of kilometers away.

National Indigenous Television, Australia

On Wednesday, 22 June 2011, the Australian Government announced it would hold a series of community consultations to help it determine the way forward for one of the most controversial social policies in the country’s history – the Northern Territory Emergency Response.

NRK Sápmi, Norway

In a letter from the Sámi Parliament to six political groups, it was discovered that the groups could not explain how they had used the supports from the Sámi Parliament in 2009. The Sámi Parliament believed that the money had gone to private purposes and reported it to the tax authorities.

Māori Television, Aotearoa New Zealand

In this report, Rapanui activist Santi Hitorangi discusses the occupation of the Hangaroa hotel. The group of Rapa Nui says the land on which the hotel was built was illegally taken from their ancestors generations ago.

’Ōiwi TV, Hawai’i

Settling on the most isolated group of islands on earth, the ancient Hawaiians thrived through their deep cultural connection with the land. This symbiotic relationship extended to all natural resources, including one of the most limited: water.

Taiwan Indigenous Television, Taiwan

Typhoon Morakot devastated Taiwan in 2009. In the Jialan village in Taitung, more than 60 households were ruined. Officials have been reckless in dealing with permanent housing.

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canada

Bruce Carson, a former senior advisor to the Prime Minister attempted to secure contracts for a company in the hope to sell water systems to First Nations communities through the department of Aboriginal Affairs. The water systems were outrageously overpriced; Bruce Carson was associated to a prostitute with shady connections to criminals.

This article by Simon Maghakyann was originally published on Global Voices, on 20 March 2012 under a Creative Commons license.