NATIONAL INDIGENOUS NEWS SERVICE
Five years after the launch of the National Indigenous Radio Service (NIRS) in 1996, Australia’s first National Indigenous News Service (NINS) went to air. Operating on a tight budget out of the NIRS studios in Brisbane, the NINS provides a general, independent, national news service, which features Indigenous perspectives on local, national and international events. NINS relies on Indigenous communities across Australia to provide both sources for news and news stories themselves. It employs three full-time journalists and reaches around 150 community radio stations in urban, regional and remote Australia.
The service emerged amidst turmoil in the Indigenous broadcasting sector. In 2000, the Productivity Commission handed down its report on Australian broadcasting, for the first time acknowledging the existence of an Indigenous media sector. While news was mentioned, it was not a focus. In August the following year, moves to set up a national Indigenous broadcasting service emerged from the besieged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC). One month later, the peak body representing Indigenous media across the country—the National Indigenous Media Association of Australia (NIMAA)—was disbanded after endorsing a national Indigenous broadcasting proposal. By September, bush broadcasters had set up their own representative organisation (the Indigenous Remote Communications Association), and quickly moved to launch what became the innovative Indigenous Community Television (ICTV) using a spare Imparja Television channel.
Despite the very foundations of the Indigenous broadcasting sector coming under challenge, the NINS emerged without fuss as a result of the strong position held by the NIRS, its strong Brisbane-based support, and the need across Australia for an Indigenous perspective on events in the public sphere.
REF: M. Meadows and H. Molnar, ‘Bridging the Gaps: Towards a History of Indigenous Media in Australia’, Media History, 8(1) (2002).