World Indigenous Journalism Awards 2014

World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network Announces Winners for the World Indigenous Journalism Awards 2014.

On June 19, 2014, the keynote speech was given by the former Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Paul Martin.

Read the full keynote speech transcript next

The World Indigenous Journalism Awards 2014 winners were announced at KANATA 2014 in Winnipeg, Canada, on June 19, 2014. The awards gala ceremony was opened by the Elders Margaret and Jules Lavallee, followed by opening remarks from Valerie Creighton, President/CEO of the Canada Media Fund (CMF). The first keynote speech to the more than 240 delegates was provided by the former Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Paul Martin. He was then followed by the Grande Dame of Aboriginal filmmakers in Canada, Ms. Alanis Obomsawin of the Abenaki First Nation of Odanak (Québec).

During the journalism awards ceremony, the Right Honouranble Paul Martin delivered a powerful and inspirational speech to address the importance of Indigenous media and journalism, as well as the Indigenous issues across Canada, to the international guests attending KANATA 2014.

The fact is Indigenous peoples, their concerns, and communities do not make the news because they are not considered news. Circumstances that would dominate the national headlines if they occurred in non-Indigenous communities, such as boil water advisories, delayed emergency relief, nonexistent infrastructure, and schools built on toxic dumps are so commonplace on reserve they are not considered ‘newsworthy’,” said Mr. Martin. “And the problem does not end there. When there are stories about Government neglect, the news reports tend to express only sympathy rather than accompanying it with analysis and a demand for action. Sympathy is important, however without background context and the consequent pressure to act it does nothing to change things, and thus, for example, right now almost 100 First Nations communities do not have water clean enough to drink. Furthermore, sympathy without analysis simply builds upon the false stereotypes of Native people and their cultures, and does nothing to change the system that created those false stereotypes in the first place.

Read the full speech HERE next

WITBN’s World Indigenous Journalism Awards, WIJA, honors excellence in audio-visual journalism that demonstrates superior journalistic skills in a form and manner best representing Indigenous storytelling. WIJA especially acknowledges the significance of journalism that best delivers the Indigenous perspective and contributes to leverage the public understanding of the Indigenous reality nationally and internationally. WIJA seeks to recognize and reward the best examples of professional journalism in Indigenous television and audiovisual media.

1. The Right Honourable Paul Martin and Best Investigative Reporting Winner Māori Television Crew

2. Michael Milanese, President of Aboriginal Ink and Best International Reporting Winner Māori Television Crew

3. APTN Chair of the Board Jocelyn Formsma and Best Videography Winner Bill Scott

4. Canada Filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin and Special Recognition TG4 Pól Ó Gallchóir

Kanata 2014

WIJA 2014 Winners

Winners of World Indigenous Journalism Awards 2014

Best Investigative Reporting
Feathering the Nest, Māori Television, Aotearoa New Zealand
Mihingarangi Forbes, Annabelle Lee-Harris, Adrian Stevanon, Richard Langston

In September Native Affairs broadcast a story examining the governing body of the most important language movement Te Kohanga Reo. Critics of the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust believed it had lost sight of its core business - looking after family and the language nests. They said the trust (which is a charitable organization) spent some of the money it gets from government more like a corporate business. They were angered it was using trust money to make personal loans to staff and board members. In contrast, workers at the coalface of kohanga reo have to scrimp and save. After that story went to air documentation was leaked to the news crew. The documentations seemed to show highly questionable spending at the trust and it's subsidiary company Te Pataka Ohanga. Native Affairs began to investigate but before broadcast the story, the trust filed an injunction against Māori Television at the high court. Ironically the legal action they initiated forced the trust to answer the questions they had refused to answer. That court case and the information that the news team gathered as a result of it were then incorporated into this story. The trust eventually dropped their injunction and the broadcaster was able to broadcast 'Feathering The Nest'

Best International Reporting
Tonga Ferries, Māori Television, Aotearoa New Zealand
Adrian Stevanon, Richard Langston

In 2012 reporter Adrian Stevanon received a tip off that The World Bank and the New Zealand government had commissioned reports on maritime safety in Tonga and that despite some disturbing observations were choosing to ignore the findings of those reports. Stevanon then lodged an official information act request with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry applied delay tactics but after months of phone calls to maritime experts around the world Stevanon was finally able to procure a copy of the reports in question from the Tongan government. He then traveled to Tonga with story producer Richard Langston. After broadcasting this report, the story was picked up by the New Zealand Herald, the country’s largest circulation newspaper.

Best Videography
Sundance, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canada
Bill Scott (Studio Crew/Camera Person)

The reporter arranged to meet with ceremony key person prior to the event. Over the course of several weeks, they negotiated the ‘ground rules’ for filming the Sun Dance ceremony until finally they both felt ready to proceed. The news team agreed to some restrictions on what could be filmed. The actual camera work required caution, so as not to disturb the participants (many of whom were at first suspicious of her presence). They also wanted to scrupulously avoid any disruption of the ceremony. During the event, reporter had regular discussions with the ceremony holder and other participants in order to maintain the trust that had been established. The subsequent editing process was considerable and delicate – in recognition of the sensitive nature of the story. Scott has worked in the broadcast industry for over 15 years. He first got his start with a private production company and then went on to work for a PBS affiliate in Duluth MN. Scott was one of six individuals who formed the first studio crew at APTN in 2000 and worked on the very first APTN National News production, InVision. In that time Bill has worked on countless live events, awards shows, concerts, and as a daily news shooter. Scott is Anishinabe from Manitoba.

Special Recognition
Abuse, TG4, Ireland /
Sorcha Ní Mhonacháin

This story was in preparation by Nuacht TG4 when the perpetrator of the child abuse died. The three victims were happy to come forward with their stories, and the death of Domnhall Ó Lubhlaí didn't deter them. The approach to the story was very straightforward, and the bulk of the work was done before as much as one frame of tape was recorded. Central to the approach was the relationship between the news team and the victims; trust and integrity were central to this relationship and this honest relationship is what created the space for the revelations that followed. This story came as a shock to several generations of former students, parents, activists in the Irish language movement and indeed official Ireland. To have someone with a high profile and who was so involved with children over many decades, exposed as a danger to children, caused ripples around the language community.

Mhonacháin has been working as a journalist for the past 15 years. She spent THREE years with the Irish language newspaper Foinse, before joining the TG4 newsroom. A native Irish speaker born to parents originally from an English-speaking district, Mhonacháin believes that the Irish-speaking community's social, educational and cultural needs should be provided for in their own language, on a par with the needs of English speakers in Ireland. Mhonacháin holds a degree in Italian & French from the National University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland.