Filming Protocols

Filming protocols

Responsibilities of the Production Crews
Indigenous Media Unit
SBS Television

SBS is required by law to develop Codes of Practice relating to programming matters. Under SBS's Codes of Practice and Editorial Guidelines, specific reference is made to programming for Indigenous Australians under section 2.1.2 of the codes. Program makers, producers and journalists are also asked to refer to the SBS publication, The Greater Perspective, which contains protocols and guidelines for filming in Indigenous communities.

Whenever SBS staff/contractors (including video journalists, film and television crews, radio and print journalists, researchers, and others) travel into Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander country or enter their communities, certain procedures should be followed. This is to avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts with any indigenous communities with whom they may be dealing.

They must contact the local Aboriginal Community Council, Land Council or Aboriginal service organisation, informing them of their intention.

The reason for this are:

• as a courtesy to the community
• as a way of informing the community that they are in their area
• to seek permission to travel Aboriginal land
• to apply for a visitor’s permit to travel in designated Aboriginal lands if necessary
• to inquire as to the appropriate person or person who should or could be interviewed

Production crews, producers, researchers, journalists and others should take all reasonable steps to protect the physical, psychological and social welfare of the indigenous people they are dealing with, and to honour their dignity and privacy.

Always obtain the right permission before going into the territories of indigenous people, or before imposing yourself on indigenous people.

Non-indigenous people often have the mistaken belief that all indigenous people use English as their first language. Many communities only use English as a second language, and the use and meanings attributed to words may not necessarily be the same as that understood by a production crew.

It is necessary to maintain trust among all persons concerned. The aim or purpose of any consultation, investigation, research or interview should be communicated to the people/community concerned as clearly as possible, to avoid the possibility of any misunderstanding. The rights, interests and sensitivities of the Indigenous people must always be safeguarded.

At Living Black we produce a News and Current Affairs style program reporting on the stories and issues that affect Indigenous Australia. We aim to be as current as possible with our reporting, turning stories around on a week to week basis.

Unfortunately this often means that time pressures may make it difficult to arrange access to communities, organisations or people in advance. As an Indigenous unit though, we a give a high priority to the above protocols and wherever possible make contact before heading into communities for stories.
Source: Living Black/Aboriginal Land Council


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