This report on the Skills Sharing Exchange Program of Indigenous Voices in Asia presents the experiences and lessons learned from good practices in indigenous media advocacy. The overall purpose of this program is to learn from experience and exchange skills through the sharing of expertise in media work. It also aims to gain knowledge and experience on the role of media as a tool to empower indigenous communities through its application in networking and advocacy.
The exchange program was designed under the Indigenous Voices in Asia (IVA) project of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), which was implemented with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The IVA project with its five major partners in Thailand, Nepal, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines aims to contribute to ensuring the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). In accordance with Article 16 of UNDRIP, indigenous peoples have the right to effectively participate in democratic and political processes through the protection and promotion of their rights in all forms of media without discrimination and to set up their own media in their own languages.
Three exchange workshops were held in Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines between October 2013 and April 2014, with a total of 65 participants (40 male and 25 female) from the 5 countries in Asia took part, composed of indigenous media professionals, rights activists and development professionals involved in media development and management in indigenous communities. These were organized and hosted by AIPP and its partner organisations: Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Nationalities Journalists (FoNIJ), Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN) and Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP). The workshops included on-site visits to indigenous initiatives in print media, community radio, television and mainstream media. The Exchange program also included interaction and exchanges among leaders, indigenous and mainstream media practitioners, civil society organizations and government officials.
The host organizations showcased their achievements as indigenous media practitioners in their engagement with community media and through innovative approaches in media networking and advocacy. In Indonesia, the key features were the setting up of autonomous community radio networks, the use of print media for advocacy, and the establishment of the first indigenous TV station. The exchange program also featured the innovative concept of citizen journalism in media advocacy, and networking with mainstream media and community media from the local to the global level. In the Philippines, the focus was on advocacy through the use of video, community-based print media and community radio, including capacity building on radio programming, video production and writing news and feature articles. In Nepal, the program focused on the network of indigenous journalists under FoNIJ, engaging mainstream media, and the activism of indigenous women journalists.
The participants of the learning exchange visits expressed the lessons they learned and the challenges they faced as indigenous peoples not only in the host countries but in Thailand and Cambodia as well. These were drawn from the main areas of media work including:
- Indigenous peoples’ establishment and sustainability of their own media such as community radio, newspaper, resource center, TV station and indigenous journalists network
- The role of social media in the advocacy and promotion of the rights, issues and concerns of indigenous peoples
- Networking at different levels among indigenous communities, mainstream media, civil society organizations, and governments in the promotion of indigenous peoples issues and concerns.
The skills sharing workshops proved to be an effective and invaluable form of capacity and knowledge building. They also contributed strategically in strengthening the solidarity, cooperation and networking between and among indigenous peoples, indigenous journalists and activists, mainstream media practitioners, civil society organizations and relevant institutions in mainstreaming indigenous peoples issues through various forms of media.
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