NATIONAL INDIGENOUS TIMES
Australia’s second national Indigenous newspaper, the National Indigenous Times (NIT), was launched in Batemans Bay, New South Wales on 27 February 2002. Aboriginal campaigner and Koori Mail founder Owen Carriage was a key figure in the conception of the NIT. He wanted the NIT to be a publication that was not intimidated by Indigenous organisations, state or federal governments, or individuals.
The NIT has proved itself to be a strong political voice and advocate for Indigenous rights. In 2004, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) whistleblowers leaked information to NIT journalists about government plans to abolish ATSIC. The story’s broad public interest led NIT staff to ask the Australian Financial Review to break the story. As a consequence, and acting on a complaint from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on 11 November 2004, Australian Federal Police raided the NIT office and editor Chris Graham’s home. The Australian Financial Review offices were not raided, and no charges were laid against any NIT employees. The raid received international condemnation from organisations such as Reporters Without Borders.
Graham and colleague Brian Johnstone, together with AAP, were highly commended in the 2004 Walkley Awards for their coverage of the ‘stolen wages’ issue. Graham and Johnstone were awarded a 2005 Walkley Award for their work on the ‘Cabinet leaks’ story.
The NIT was published fortnightly until 2011, when it moved to weekly publication. It receives no government funding and survives on sales (around 14,000) and advertising revenue.
REFs: E. Burrows, ‘Writing to Be Heard: The Indigenous Print Media’s Role in Establishing and Developing an Indigenous Public Sphere’ (PhD thesis, 2009); http://www.nit.com.au.