The Queensland First Nations Media Coalition (QFNMC) was launched on Thursday evening, and Director Jyi Lawton says it’s dedicated to building a united and self-determined sector.

The Coalition consists of 10 First Nations media organisations from across Queensland and was formed under the National Coalition of Peaks in reaction to the Closing the Gap target reforms.

The reforms focused on advancing self-determination in the media sector through empowering First Nations media organisations to inform and engage with First Nations communities.

The official opening took place at Parliament House in Brisbane and was launched by Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Craig Crawford.

The launch hosted esteemed guests including Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui; Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Director-General, Dr Chris Sarra; First Nations Media Australia Chair, Naomi Moran; and representatives from QFNMC’s constituents — including QFNMC Director and Brisbane Indigenous Media Association CEO, Jyi Lawton.

Lawton, a Bidjara man, says QFNMC builds on the work that the former body, the Queensland First Peoples Media Alliance, did.

“There were learnings we took from that alliance … Where things fizzled out a bit was that it wasn’t an incorporated entity, so no strong governance and decision-making frameworks to then attract funding and ensure adequate resourcing,” said Lawton.

“We took the really good founding principles and foundations that made that [Alliance] succeed but then we applied those learnings to make sure that we were sustainable and will be sustainable moving forward.” 

A driving force behind QFNMC was the opportunity to strategically partner with Federal and State Governments and with peak bodies on Closing the Gap — ensuring that they are the grassroots voices involved in key decision-making.

“The question is, who is best placed to represent the views, perspectives and best interests of Indigenous media in Queensland?” said Lawton.

“The overwhelming consensus was as First Nations media organisations in Queensland — we are best fit to be that representation.” 

Lawton says whilst there is strong mainstream solidarity, it is First Nations media organisations’ role to report for community.

“The ability and empowerment that comes from us reporting on our own issues and reclaiming that narrative is so important,” he said.

“Media in any society plays a critical role in organising public opinion … Uncle Ross Watson always says that media is an essential service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“It is essential in breaking down stereotypes and self-determination.”

QFNMC consists of key Indigenous media organisations across Queensland, including:

  • Torres Strait Island Media Association, Thursday Island
  • Bumma Bippera Media, Cairns
  • Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, 4K1G, Townsville
  • Mackay and District Aboriginal and Islander Media Association, My105, Mackay
  • Radio 4US, Rockhampton
  • Brisbane Indigenous Media Association, Brisbane
  • Mount Isa Aboriginal Media Association, MobFM, Mount Isa
  • Cherbourg Radio, Cherbourg
  • Bidjara Media and Broadcasting Company, 4RRFM, Charleville
  • National Indigenous Radio Service.

By Rachael Knowles