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Broadcasters and Aboriginal organizations form partnership

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TORONTO � Major Canadian broadcasters and media organizations, together with Aboriginal media organizations, today announced the formation of a partnership to increase the contribution and representation of Aboriginal people on-air and behind the scenes in all aspects of the Canadian broadcasting industry.

The Strategic Alliance of Broadcasters for Aboriginal Reflection was jointly initiated by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and a diverse group of broadcasters and industry-related organizations dedicated to working together.

"This is a terrific example of how government can help bring together private sector and Aboriginal organizations for an important, common purpose," said the Honourable Andy Scott, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for M�tis and Non-Status Indians. "This partnership will provide Aboriginal peoples with more opportunities in the broadcast industry, and offer all Canadians a better understanding of Aboriginal people."

Current and future initiatives of this Alliance will examine opportunities for Aboriginal participation in targetted areas such as internships with participating broadcasters, scholarships, partnerships with Aboriginal educational institutes, and participation in job and career fairs targeting Aboriginal people.

In July, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Task Force for Cultural Diversity on Television released a report identifying Aboriginal representation in English and French television programming as a "critical gap". The Canadian Association of Broadcasters' report singled out the Strategic Alliance of Broadcasters for Aboriginal Reflection � still being formed at the time � as a best practice to address this gap.
Efforts to develop this new partnership began in February 2002 with the support of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative. The formal structure was finalized in October of this year.

Chairperson Deanie Kolybabi, President of Panache Media said, "Broadcasters have had only limited success at increasing Aboriginal involvement in the industry. We felt we needed input from all invested to really tackle this challenge in a meaningful way. The Strategic Alliance of Broadcasters for Aboriginal Reflection is the first industry-wide initiative of its kind that puts both the broadcasters and the Aboriginal community at the same table."

The main industry participants leading this program include both national and regional radio and television organizations: Aboriginal Voices Radio, Alliance Atlantis Broadcast Group, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), Broadcast Educators Association of Canada, CBC, CHUM Television, CRTC, CTV, First Nations Technical Institute, Global Television Network, Indigenous Culture and Media Innovations National Screen Institute, National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Rogers OMNI Television, Rogers Media Radio Division, Seven Seeds Inc., Standard Radio Inc., Toronto One, The Weather Network, and Vision TV.

All broadcasters and industry-related organizations are welcome to join Strategic Alliance of Broadcasters for Aboriginal Reflection.

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