That OTHER License Renewal

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APTN Logo.JPGThe Aboriginal Peoples Television Network is seeking a renewal of its license in the same round of hearings as Un News. More on the latter shortly: but if you support Aboriginal broadcasting in Canada, you might consider a quick note of support to APTN.

Full disclosure: APTN was a client of mine for a year before and a year after their launch. It was the most exciting and worthwhile gig I’ve ever done, and I’ve stayed friends with many of the remarkable people who made it happen.

Here’s an excerpt from our intervention:

“For several months in 1990, the Oka crisis polarized this country. What non-Aboriginal Canadians saw and heard that summer was a story of “us Canadians” and “those Indians” - shots of burning barricades, troops, police, and occasional glimpses through the trees of men with rifles and bandannas and warriors brandishing flags. The analysis and coverage, virtually without exception, consisted of “our” non-Aboriginal journalists, analysts and pundits, some sympathetic and some not, interpreting and “explaining” this “native” uprising within and cultural and historical context they barely grasped.

In 2013, Aboriginal issues and concerns are once again, unfortunately, leading the news. That Canada is still trying to come to terms with poverty, housing and health issues in Aboriginal communities is depressing. But one thing IS different this time around. Thanks in very large measure to APTN, Aboriginal leaders, journalists and communities are front and centre in the dialogue. APTN’s own news coverage of the crisis in Attawapiskat and the emerging Idle No More movement has been extensive, thoughtful, informed and balanced. Their material and expertise is now viewed by other broadcasters in Canada and internationally as THE primary source for insight, interpretation and accurate information on Canadian Aboriginal affairs. Aboriginal stories need never be told by non-Aboriginal people again.

There is still room for growth within the network. We think APTN’s growing audience would be well served by greater emphasis on coverage and analysis of national and international news from an indigenous perspective, on the funding and promotion of original television drama, and on expanded support for the small regional broadcasters across Canada who are struggling to keep their languages and cultures alive through broadcasting. But APTN is still a relatively young network, inventing itself from scratch and defining itself in a uniquely challenging cultural and economic environment. It has many miles to go and, with the Commission’s support, many years to achieve its ambitious mandate.

APTN is a triumph, a unique confirmation of what can be achieved in Canada through vision, goodwill, and collaboration between Canada and its First Nation, Inuit and M├ętis peoples.”

If you’d like to support the network, you can read the license application and intervention process here. And if you’d like to read a bit more about the history of this remarkable organization, check this out.

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This page contains a single entry by Balbulican published on February 12, 2013 6:00 AM.

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