The Indigenous Media and Communication Caucus, a thematic and informal group of Indigenous media practitioners at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII),was founded by Indigenous journalists from four different countries,(Bolivia Guatemala, Nepal and Venezuela), who were gathered during the 15th session of UNPFII which took place in the year 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York City.
During the Permanent Forum, the Indigenous journalists and indigenous media practitioners joined together, had a long discussion to establish and launch the caucus. Following the session, each country representative took on follow-up tasks for spreading message at country level and expand the team in order to clearly define the objectives, values, and principles of the Caucus and to begin to advocate for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Media and communication around the world. One of the objectives of the Caucus was to create a platform for indigenous journalists and media to unite them from around the world and make a consolidated advocacy effort from among Indigenous media and communication practitioners at the UN through Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) and other relevant forums at UN or like minded international forums, in order to address the pressing issues of global Indigenous community media and communication movements stressing the importance of democratizing such Indigenous community media. Similarly Caucus aims to make collective statements and submit recommendations on behalf of indigenous media practitioners for the consideration of the UNPFII, EMRIP and other relevant international Forums at UN and others.
Before launching the Caucus, the Indigenous journalists had preparatory meetings at UN Headquarter and had meeting with then Chairpersonof the UNPFIIMr. Alvaro Esteban Pop to consult about the formation of Caucus. In order to initiate the lobbying work, during the very first year (2016), Anselmo Xunic from Guatemala, made a first intervention on behalf of Caucus, highlighting the need and objectives to form an Indigenous community media and communication platform at the global level and stressed the importance of democratizing community media.
Similarly, in the year 2017, during the 16th Session on the UNPFII, Rosy Gonzalez, from Guatemala made the intervention on behalf of the caucus. In the year 2018, during the 17th session on the UNPFII, Dev Kumar Sunuwar, from Nepal made the intervention on behalf of the Caucus.
Besides making intervention, Indigenous Media and Communication Caucus also organized panel discussion titled 'Hear our voices' moderated by Dev Kumar Sunuwar, the speakers in the Panel were as follows:
1) Reynaldo Morales from Peru, developing an extensive career as investigative journalist, educational media producer and documentarian assisting and empowering Indigenous learning communities.
2) TUHI MARTUKAW ( Jocelyn TING-HUI HUNG CHIEN) : from the Kasavakan Community of the Pinuyumayan Peoples in Taiwan. Anchorwoman for English NewsTaiwan Indigenous TV,
3) David Hernández Palmar Wayuu, Vénezuela, CLACPI Political Advisor and Director of the International Indigenous Film Festival of Venezuela (MICIV)
4) Andrea Ixchiu, Maya K’iche, RED TZ’IKIN – Network of independent filmmakers of Guatemala
5) Mariano Estrada, Tseltal, Mexico, General Coordinator of the Latin America Indigenous Peoples film and communication Coordination.
6) Guadalupe Martinez Perez from , nahuatl, Maxico, Coordinator for an alliance of Indigenous Women Communicators in Central America and Maxico.
The video link is here:
Goal of Caucus
Creating and strengthening a network of Indigenous journalists and media practitioners from around the world that allows a variety of actions and efforts to come together, pushing for the recognition of the right to freedom of expression, right to information in the mother tongues of Indigenous Peoples within state and international legal frameworks.
Objectives of Caucus
To make a consolidated advocacy effort from among Indigenous media and communication practitioners at the UN through UNPFII, EMRIP and other relevant international forums, so as to make a collective statements and submit recommendations for the consideration of those international, regional and national forums.
Need of Indigenous Media Caucus at UN
One of the ways to make Indigenous Peoples voice heard at UN is through UNPFII and EMRIP. Recently other mechanisms at UN and other international forums also have opened up door for indigenous peoples for their participation and voicing. Indigenous Media and Communication was created to fill the dearth of spaces to challenges faced by media and media practitioners at UN. The Caucus, though is an informal space but is one of the best spaces to connect and unite Indigenous journalists and Indigenous Media Practitioners from across the world make consolidated efforts to promote values and knowledge of their respective community, so as to strengthen a network of Indigenous journalists from around the world for conducting a variety of actions and efforts together and push for the recognition of the right to freedom of expression, right to information in the mother tongues of Indigenous Peoples within state legal frameworks within States’ policies and legislation. Likewise to push agenda to create equal media space also for Indigenous Media in the UN media.
The fact is that the development of societies cannot occur without media. Media in the hands of Indigenous communities can promote their own development, as well as strengthen the use of Indigenous languages, music, ancestral knowledge, and local forms of organization that are in danger of disappearing due to globalization and a worldview imposed by the international media corporations. In such a context, it is possible to create, strengthen and sustain Indigenous media only through the advocacy efforts to improve laws regarding access to media; this may be possible through the caucus. Therefore, Indigenous media practitioners, NGOs and other organizations working to access media, information and communication all have an equal role to keep it moving.
Partnership to grow
The creators (or the dreamers) of the caucus aimed at pushing the pressing issues of Indigenous media and communication to UN through PFII and EMRIP. To this end Founding members of Caucus team has sought technical support from Cultural Survival, an organization being involved working in the areas of Indigenous media, and has long been engaged in UN forum for such a long (has known all its processes), also has capacity of working in bi-or multi-language of UN, has financial or technical or human resource (Indigenous journalists being involved) in it, in order to get this informal group organized or help group for making a consolidated advocacy, should take a leading role to facilitate and communicate with Indigenous journalists from around the world until it takes a shapes through its network to get organized.
Cultural Survival has thus worked as a mentor from the inception and is looking forward to have similar dedication until this informal group can take shape on its own. The Caucus is also open to have partnership with similar and like minded organization from around the world. Caucus team acknowledge the support of provided by the Cultural Survival right from the beginning of Caucus work, mainly the translation (from English to Spanish and vice-versa), facilitation and providing its technical supports. Caucus team expects continuous support in future as well. The Caucus team also asked Cultural Survival to help raise funds for bringing more indigenous journalists or for strengthening the indigenous journalists networks through Caucus.
Creation of Social Media Platform
The Indigenous Media and Communication Caucus has a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/IndigenousMediaCaucus/) to start with creation of social media platforms and has plan to design a website, online groups and other best possible social platform in order to exchange the views so that the Caucus can be a help for Indigenous communities sustain their efforts to establish media in their own languages from, by, and for their communities.
Tentative Activities of Caucus for next few years
1. Create position paper for the caucus
2. Involve Indigenous Journalists, Indigenous Media houses from different regions of the world.
3. Circulate position paper/invite input from the team.
4. Organize regular online meeting and try to get several participants from each geographic region
5. Discuss issues particular on indigenous media and communication, share the successes to one another.
6. Design and run website of Caucus for consolidated efforts.
7. Conduct study on the status of Indigenous Medias around the world starting with study on Indigenous community radio.
8. Bring more indigenous Journalist from different parts of the world at UNPFII, EMRIP and other relevant international forums, coordinate interventions and statements during the session, including conducting panel discussions, and organize a side event on successes of Indigenous media and communication
9. Make a joint interventions during UN and other international forums on behalf of indigenous journalists and media practitioners and archive them to make available for larger groups
10. Hold informal caucus meetings specially during UNPFII and EMRIP and other relevant forums within UN to coordinate media advocacy efforts at UN.
11. Create plan of action for follow-up
12. Engage in continued involvement, training and exchange among the Indigenous media practitioners for strengthening the Caucus, so as to reflect indigenous media issues in the national, regional and international policies, legislation and other legal frameworks.
13. Hold regular/timely online meetings among the members of Indigenous Media and Communication Caucus.
If you are Indigenous journalists and media practitioners and want to be a part of the Indigenous Media and Communication Caucus, the team would like to request you send us following information in the address given bellow:
Representing Indigenous Community:
Current Media involvement:
No of Language, you have command in:
Dev Kumar Sunuwar, coordinator of Indigenous Media and Communication Caucus, chairperson at Indigenous Television in Nepal and Community Media Grant Associates at Cultural Survival.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Phone no. +977 9841666831
Viber/Whatsapp : +977 9841666831