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Statement for the 23rd Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues  by the Indigenous Media Caucus

April 15-26, 2024

Agenda Item 4 : Discussion on the six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum, with reference to the UNDRIP and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Thank you, Chair, and congratulations on your election to lead the Permanent Forum.

The Indigenous Media Caucus, representing journalists and media makers from across the globe, stands before you today. We honor the Indigenous Peoples who have safeguarded our lands for generations. However, their traditional knowledge and contemporary struggles face constant threats, from resource extraction to criminalization.

Our fight against these colonial narratives continues. Indigenous journalists who report on critical issues like land rights and self-determination face intimidation, violence, and even death. This chilling effect stifles press coverage from our communities, directly hindering the fulfillment of Article 16 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – the right to freely access media that reflects our realities.

Across the globe, Indigenous journalists face a chilling reality: threats, harassment, and violence for reporting on critical issues. From Indigenous journalists facing intimidation in India to the closure of Rádio Yanomami in Brazil after deforestation reports, these watchdogs are silenced for speaking truth to power. In Nepal, Indigenous journalists investigating Indigenous issues are targeted, while Philippine journalists face a barrage of online attacks and lawsuits for criticizing the government, and Palestinian journalists are systematically killed for covering the realities on the ground. This systematic suppression extends to Guatemala, where a journalist lost her radio station for exposing corruption, and Colombia, where an Indigenous station faced threats for reporting human rights abuses.

The Indigenous Media Caucus makes the following recommendations to the Permanent Forum:

  1. Urge member states to develop and implement national action plans, in consultation with Indigenous communities, to ensure the safety and security of Indigenous journalists and communicators

  2. Urge UN agencies to collaborate with member states to guarantee Indigenous Peoples' right to access media and information in their Indigenous languages, as enshrined in Article 16 of UNDRIP.

  3. Work with Indigenous journalists to obtain necessary accreditation at the UN to cover UN events, such as the UNPFII, as Indigenous community media outlets.


Thank you, Madam Chair.