As newsrooms work to become more inclusive, editors and producers may need to be flexible in how reporters go about their jobs.
Gestures such as offering modest gifts after receiving information from a source are taboo for reporters, but that could put some in a conflict with their culture.
“In many Indigenous cultures across the land… often when we speak to folks, when we’re asking people for their time, effort or knowledge, usually there’s a gift of tobacco involved,” said CBC radio reporter Kyle Myzuka. “This directly conflicts with what we consider a norm in journalism.
“Not only do we not accept gifts, we also really aren’t supposed to give them either. The rationale is that it can cause a bias or conflict of interest.”
He added he’s managed to convince his employer to allow him to show Elders his appreciation when needed, but highlighted it as an example of the conflicts Indigenous journalists experience in the trade.
Myzuka, who is Métis, was responding to a new policy paper through the Gordon Foundation, which examines the still-low level of Indigenous journalists working in Canadian media. The paper calls for the addition of a journalism program at Aurora College, which is transforming into a polytechnic university, as one of three pillars.
Authored by Jane Glassco Northern Fellow Garrett Hinchey, the paper also calls for hiring targets among media organizations and better integration of communications and media studies in high school curriculums.
“You sort of have to stumble across someone and then explain to them why it’s something they could be interested in,” Hinchey said. “That first part, that thinking of ‘I would like to try that,’ isn’t something that people come to on their own.
“If you put on CBC Northbeat, most of the people you see on there are the kind of professional graduate school types who come up from down south, so people don’t see themselves represented. So that’s the first barrier I think we need to break down.”
Laws of supply and demand are also a factor.
Former Northern News Services publisher Bruce Valpy said the first major hurdle to get past was improving high school graduation rates.
”The education system is failing Indigenous students, that’s the problem,” said Valpy. “They’re not given a proper grounding, so there are not enough people graduating, and there are not enough people going to university because of the barriers. Especially in the North, you have to make up all the deficits at the same time you’re coming of age, so you have that extra burden.
“Candidates are just too few and far in-between.”
Can’t comment on NewsClick’s China link, respect media freedom: US
The US government has seen reports of NewsClick’s alleged links to China and is aware of concerns around it though it can’t independently comment on the veracity of those claims. But, as a general principle, the US continues to urge Indian government as well other governments across the world to respect the human rights of journalists, including freedom of expression online and offline.
At a regular State Department briefing on Tuesday, when asked about the raids on the proprietors, staffers and contributors of NewsClick and a New York Times report that the news website was a part of a Chinese influence operation funded through an American businessman, State department‘s principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said, “So we are aware of those concerns and have seen that reporting about this outlet’s ties to the PRC (People’s Republic of China), but we can’t comment yet on the veracity of those claims.”
Patel added that, separately, the US strongly supported “the robust role of the media globally, including social media, in a vibrant and free democracy”.
“We raise concerns on these matters with the Indian Government, with countries around the world, through our diplomatic engagements that are, of course, at the core of our bilateral relationship. And we have urged the Indian Government, and have done so not just with India but other countries as well, about the importance of respecting the human rights of journalists, including freedom of expression both online and offline.”
Patel, however, said that he did not have any additional information about “this particular circumstance or any of the underlying issues that may or may not be related to this outlet”.
India’s Latest Media Arrests Put Washington in an Awkward Spot
(Bloomberg) — India’s latest media crackdown puts the US in an awkward position as it seeks to balance promotion of human rights with courting New Delhi to counter the influence of China.
Police in the South Asian country’s capital arrested the editor-in-chief and another employee of online newspaper NewsClick Tuesday under sweeping anti-terrorism laws. Authorities also raided the offices of the publication, without giving a reason.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been targeting critical independent media since he took office in 2014. NewsClick came to prominence in 2021 for its extensive coverage of farmer protests against government plans to liberalize agriculture. India has previously accused the media organization of having funding ties to China, which it denies.
For Arati Jerath, a New Delhi-based political analyst, the arrests create a challenge for Washington.
“The US does not want to get too involved in India’s domestic affairs,” she said. “They are looking at India through a geopolitical prism and with China in the picture, India is a strategic partner.”
US Department of State spokesman Vedant Patel said he couldn’t comment yet on claims NewsClick has ties to China.
Patel also stressed the importance of press freedom globally. “We raise concerns on these matters with the Indian government, with countries around the world,” he told reporters in Washington.
India has often argued its democracy and vibrant press are a counterpoint to China with its one-party state and heavily controlled media. The US frequently finds itself torn between its efforts to defend human rights around the world and the pragmatic need to partner with governments accused of rights abuses.
India’s government has often used its anti-terrorism law to intimidate and punish journalists. The law, which doesn’t allow for bail, empowers the police to detain suspects for years without leveling official charges.
India has also scrutinized many mobile app and technology companies for alleged links to China after a Himalayan border clash between New Delhi and Beijing in 2020.
In 2021, authorities raided NewsClick’s office and the homes of seven staff members for what they described as improper foreign investments. Several of them were questioned and NewsClick called the allegations “misleading, unfounded and without basis in fact or law.”
In August, the New York Times cited NewsClick as an organization allegedly being used for Chinese propaganda overseas. India’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said at the time the media outlet was being funded by Beijing.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Thakur said he didn’t need to justify the raids. “If someone has done something wrong, the investigative agencies will work on it,” he said.
NewClick’s human resources head Amit Chakravarty was also arrested. Several employees’ laptops and mobile phones were seized. Local media reported at least 30 premises were raided, including the homes of six NewsClick reporters.
India fell to 161st of 180 countries and territories in a press freedom ranking by Reporters Without Borders, a press advocacy group, this year. In February, authorities raided the BBC’s offices in New Delhi, weeks after the British broadcaster aired a documentary about Modi’s role in 2002 riots in his home state of Gujarat.
Last year, Mohammad Zubair, a journalist running a fact-checking website, Alt News, was arrested after highlighting anti-Islamic comments made by former BJP officials.
The Press Club of India expressed concern about the arrests and raid, saying it wants the government to explain its actions. The group plans to protest the detentions at a march Wednesday.
Jerath, the analyst, questioned India’s move to arrest the people under the terrorism law without providing details or evidence.
“You have already labeled them as terrorists,” she said.
(Updates with details on the crackdown. An earlier story corrected paragraph 11 to show authorities raided the homes of seven NewsClick staff members in 2021.)
What is NewsClick? A look at India’s media crackdown – Al Jazeera English
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