• An apology to Yirrkala community aired on breakfast program Sunrise. (Channel Seven.)Source: Channel Seven.
Channel Seven has aired a public apology to the Yolngu people from Yirrkala community, following a defamation lawsuit over footage aired during Sunrise's 'Indigenous adoption' segment in 2018.
Keira Jenkins

30 Jan 2020 - 12:28 PM  UPDATED 30 Jan 2020 - 12:28 PM

An apology to Yolngu people has aired on Channel Seven's 'Sunrise' over the now infamous 'Aboriginal adoption' panel on the breakfast show.

A group of 15 people from the Yirrkala community in the Northern Territory, who featured in slightly blurred footage played during the discussion, filed a defamation lawsuit over the segment. 

The footage was originally filmed for a health promotion in Yirrkala.

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The Federal Court approved a settlement between the Yirrkala community members and Seven West Media, which was reached in December.

Seven West Media was ordered to pay the group from Yirrkala an undisclosed amount of money, as well as cover the group's legal costs, and issue a public apology.

The apology was aired early Thursday morning during the 'Sunrise' program.

"On 13 March 2018, we aired a story about alleged child abuse and neglect in Aboriginal communities and white people adopting Aboriginal children," the statement read.

"During the story, we showed unrelated blurred file footage of the Yirrkala community and Yolngu families in that community.

"The Yirrkala community and those Yolngu families had nothing to do with the story. And they have nothing to do with the alleged child abuse and neglect.

"They do not support any of the comments made in the story.

"Channel Seven apologises to the Yirrkala community and especially the Yolngu people shown in the story and their families for the hurt and distress that the misuse of this footage has caused them."

The controversial March 2018 segment, saw a panel of non-indigenous commentators debating whether white families should be able to adopt "abused" Indigenous children.

One panel member, Prue MacSween, said: "don't worry about the people who will decry and hand wring and say this will be another Stolen Generation."

"Just like the first Stolen Generation where a lot of children that were taken because it was for their wellbeing, we need to do it again," she said during the segment.

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