By MARK PEARSON Follow @Journlaw
The Australian Press Council has launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and welcomed the first indigenous newspaper, the Koori Mail, to its membership after a symbolic ceremony at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence in Redfern, Sydney.
The Reconciliation Action Plan documents the objectives and strategies the press self-regulator vows to employ over the next two years to promote understanding and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Launching the plan was former journalist Kirstie Parker – a Yuwallarai woman from NSW, board member of Reconciliation Australia and former editor of the Koori Mail (@koorimailnews).
She is now CEO of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE).
She congratulated the Press Council on its Reconciliation Action Plan.
“You have grasped that Aboriginal representation in media extends beyond media outlets to representation on the adjudicatory body, the Australian Press Council,” she said.
She noted the Council had recognized “the importance of Aboriginal voices in media; of managers, editors, producers, journalists framing our stories our way.”
“I cannot emphasise enough the importance of Aboriginal representation in media has been high on our agenda since the 1970s when the first community controlled Aboriginal media outlets formed,” Ms Parker said.
“That the Koori Mail – the most respected and successful Aboriginal newspaper in Australia – is now the first black media member of the APC is no accident. Media outlets come and go, I don’t have to tell you it’s a cutthroat and ever-shrinking business.”
“The Koori Mail’s longevity is a result of strong leadership, in strong roots, with a strong sense of purpose and a strong commitment to our stories and our culture.
“The paper has never given up on that and you have a lot to learn from them, your newest member.”
The Press Council’s draft RAP was endorsed after review by Reconciliation Australia.
The Chair of the Press Council, Professor David Weisbrot, explained the challenge was to implement the plans ‘fully and effectively’.
The Press Council’s RAP commits the organisation to:
• encouraging membership by Indigenous newspapers, magazines and online news and current affairs sites;
• engaging and consulting with Indigenous groups, individuals and organisations regarding the Press Council’s work;
• promoting employment and internship opportunities for Indigenous people at the Press Council and among member publications;
• promoting Indigenous cultural competence among staff;
• considering the impact on Indigenous peoples of current and proposed Standards of Practice;
• encouraging the Australian news media to report issues of importance for Indigenous communities in a respectful way; and
• endeavouring to promote high quality reporting in relation to Indigenous peoples.
The Australian Press Council was established in 1976 and is responsible for promoting good standards of media practice, community access to information of public interest, and freedom of expression through the media. Press Council membership encompasses over 900 mastheads, accounting for approximately 95 per cent of newspaper, magazine and online readership in Australia.
Read the Press Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan here.
[I attended the ceremony as a member of the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research which has a strong record of research into indigenous media.]
Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.
© Mark Pearson 2017