Two of NITV’s most high profile productions for 2017 have been recognised by the United Nations Association of Australia’s Media Awards, one of the most coveted accolades in the Australian media industry.
Cold Justice, a collaboration between journalist Allan Clarke, NITV and BuzzFeed News, is a three-part cold case series that investigates the injustices faced by Indigenous Australians in unsolved homicides. It received the award for Best TV Documentary.
Warwick Thornton’s critically acclaimed feature documentary ‘We Don’t Need a Map’ which tackles Australia’s historical relationship with the Southern Cross, was recognised with the Promotion of Indigenous Rights and Issues award.
The judges of this year’s UNAA Media Awards expressed they were impressed with NITV’s Allan Clarke’s forensic four-year investigation into the cold case death of Tamworth Aboriginal teenager Mark Haines in 1988 as it “uncovered several flaws in the original police investigation and led to a full review”.
“The work clearly showed that the journalist had worked hard to achieve justice and right a wrong,” they said.
Journalist Allan Clarke said he was honoured to receive the accolade, and dedicated the win to Mark Haines, in an acceptance speech delivered on his behalf at the awards ceremony by colleague Danny Teece-Johnson.
“We are both Gomeroi boys, and while I never got to meet him, I feel like I know him,” Allan said.
“Mark is one of [the] thousands of Aboriginal murder victims who have been ignored by our judicial and police systems. It’s time that we come together and smash the stereotype that Aboriginal people are perpetrators and not victims – they deserve empathy and they deserve to have their stories told.”
NITV News and Current Affairs Producer, Danny Teece-Johnson said, “we’re just so lucky we’ve got the journalists that we do, the calibre and the tenacity, and the fight. They never give up, because they understand what it’s like to be a community member and understand the pain that the families are going through.”
Watch the award acceptance speech:
We Don’t Need a Map
Judges of this year’s Promotion of Indigenous Rights and Issues category said they had been “captivated by the symbolism, boldness and humour and the diversity of perspectives that were brought to life” in ‘We Don’t Need A Map’, labelling it a “risky production”.
“Acclaimed filmmaker and Aboriginal trailblazer Warwick Thornton tackles the fiery subjects of colonisation, identity and place through a bold and poetic film essay," they said.
“‘We Don’t Need A Map’ challenges viewers to consider the place of the Southern Cross in the Australian psyche, and in doing so, offers a powerful view of Aboriginal spiritual connection, rights and recognition."
Film director Warwick Thornton and producer Brendan Fletcher said they were thrilled to be acknowledged for their work.
“We made this film to ask questions. Questions about the sort of nation we are building. What sort of values are we passing on to our children about being Australian? And what contribution can Indigenous people make to these questions?” they said.
They also encouraged anyone facing challenges “when making work with meaning” to “just … keep … going.”
NITV Channel Manager, Tanya Orman has said “NITV delivers comprehensive Indigenous news that is trusted and respected by the community. We are proud to collaborate with BuzzFeed News and remain committed to investigating this unsolved crime.”
Regarding ‘We Don’t Need A Map’, part of NITV’s ‘You Are Here’ documentary series, Ms Orman said, “the core of NITV is Indigenous storytelling and investment in creative excellence.
‘You Are Here' encapsulates the reason NITV exists, to create stories by, for and about Indigenous Australians, and through us, these stories are for all Australians.”
According to the UNAA website, their Media Awards "seek to promote understanding about humanitarian and social justice issues by recognising those in the Australian media whose contributions stimulate public awareness and understanding.”
Watch the Cold Justice Series here: