A guide for journalists working on Aboriginal communities and land in the Top End of the Northern Territory. There are special issues that affect media representatives who choose to cover issues in these remote locations and it is important that the following information is kept in mind when accessing Aboriginal land.
- It is important that all images/recording/writing make every effort to present the Aboriginal people, culture and environment in a manner that is accurate and true to life. The ‘primitive nomad’ image, for example, does not reflect Aboriginal lifestyle in the 21st Century.
- Once on Aboriginal land, it is necessary to stick to the conditions listed on your permit and access only those areas stipulated on the permit.
- Upon arrival it is good manners to visit the local council office or a person of prominence in the community to ensure that they are aware of your presence.
- When considering the use of an image of a deceased individual or, in the case of an artist, an item created by them, seek permission prior to publishing/televising.
Aboriginal people in the NLC’s region are willing to share their culture with the global community and are not opposed to visits from outsiders. However, free, prior and informed consent about the proposed activities and future use of material is required. In some instances, media interest and coverage has led to greater recognition and understanding of traditional law and practices and positively impacted upon raising awareness in the broader community about social and economic issues affecting the lives of Aboriginal people in the 21st Century.