Date: 
Thursday 9 August 2012

Indigenous media is critical to demystifying Indigenous culture and strengthening our identity, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said today.

Marking International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and the 2012 theme of Indigenous Media, Empowering Voices, Commissioner Gooda said Australia’s Indigenous media outlets played a valuable role in challenging stereotypes.

“It’s often complex for mainstream media to portray Indigenous issues accurately and realistically, and sometimes, despite good intentions, this portrayal reinforces damaging stereotypes, “Commissioner Gooda said.

“Australia’s Indigenous media outlets have a vision and breadth which gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the information we need on the things we’re interested in, through an Indigenous lens.

“The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called on nations around the world to create and maintain opportunities for Indigenous peoples to articulate their perspectives, priorities and aspirations,” he said.

“I call today on Australian governments to support these efforts by fully implementing the Declaration.”

Commissioner Gooda said the Declaration, which provided a blueprint for Indigenous peoples and governments around the world to respect the rights and roles of Indigenous peoples, would be the main focus of the newly created Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategic Dialogue Group.

“I welcome the establishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategic Dialogue Group (ATSISDG). It is an important development in the protection and promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights and interests,” he said.

“The ATSISDG will operate as a ‘think tank’ and focus on strategy, collaboration and information sharing – particularly in relation to ensuring implementation of the Declaration.”

Commissioner Gooda said the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples was an opportune time to take stock on where Indigenous peoples are in relation to the key challenges they confront.

“Let’s not forget that Australia is not alone in our efforts to improve outcomes for our Indigenous people in areas such as culture, education, health, human rights and economic development,” he said.

“International Days such as today fuel international cooperation around these issues and provide not only practical lessons from around the world but also unite us in hope.”

Media contact: Louise McDermott (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597

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