Last week NITV announced it was discontinuing its Twitter account after ongoing racism and hate, but keeping Instagram and Facebook as social media platforms.
The news followed ABC’s Stan Grant taking a break D+R amid a high-profile retreat following online abuse and media headlines.
The point host John Paul Janke says trolling has increased since the government announced a referendum on Voice to Parliament.
“Eventually, we called to be on a platform like Twitter and be exposed to the conversations that happen there. Is it really worth investing our time and energy? Are we getting the impact we really want by engaging in that platform? he says TV tonight.
“We have made the decision to step away from Twitter”
“We have made the decision to step away from Twitter due to what we see as the ongoing and increasing racism and hatred that our teams who manage and monitor our accounts see every day. In the end, they’re just doing their job. They are sharing content, seeking to promote First Nations excellence, voices and content.
“The abuses of many of our communities, of much of our mafia, are not new. But we can see that it is increasing with intensity.
Janke, a proud Wuthathi and Meriam man, replaced Stan Grant as host of indigenous current affairs show The point in 2018. Having known Grant for 30 years, she looks back on recent events with much regret in a year where a conversation is more needed than ever.
“I think for many of us, his loss in the Voice to Parliament debate and a referendum, is really a loss to the national conversation,” he says.
“He’s probably our most prominent First Nations reporter”
“He has a career spanning nearly four decades, both here in Australia and internationally. It is a great loss to the media landscape at a time when this country needs First Nations voices on a national platform.
“Stan, being a prominent First Nations journalist, is likely to be the target of much criticism and attack. …but we want to bring the differing opinions in First Nations communities into that national conversation, and sometimes, I think Stan has said in post-show articles, that’s an inconvenient truth for the country.
“Every two weeks, we’ll take the show to a different state”
In its fifth year of hosting The point Janie is embarking on a national road tour to visit all states and territories to hear opinions on the referendum issue. The point: Referendum Road Trip it will also include commentary and analysis by Canberra correspondent Gamilaroi man, Cameron Gooley, and current affairs reports by National Point Correspondent and Gamilaroi woman, Keira Jenkins.
“Every two weeks, we’ll take the show to a different state and ask a guest panel to hear their views on the referendum,” Janke explains.
“Then we will look towards a round table of indigenous leaders and sometimes non-indigenous spokespersons as well.
“Our field journalists will be preparing some packages, speaking to other voices in the community and highlighting issues that affect them, and potentially how or not a Voice in Parliament will influence the unique issues they are addressing in their particular town or region.
“There are probably many different levels of understanding of what a voice in Parliament is, what it can be and what it should be. So I think we want to make sure all those voices are heard and echoed across the country.”
Recognizing that there are conflicting views within indigenous communities, The point hopes to hear a variety of perspectives.
“There are different opinions in our community”
“Public broadcasters are bound by our code to highlight a balanced perspective. There are different viewpoints in our community and I think we need to make sure they are brought to the attention of the conversation. But even in saying this, we need to make sure that those viewpoints are actually valid and important viewpoints. One of our main objectives this year will be to ensure that everyone participates in this referendum from an informed position.”
Tonight’s first episode takes place live from the Cammeraygal Country studio in Sydney and follows a week later from Waiben (Thursday Island) in the Torres Strait during the Winds of Zenadth festival.
“All islands come to Thursday Island for a big cultural festival. So it’s perfect for us to go up there and get to know the viewpoint of those who live in the Torres Strait on the Voice in Parliament and also on the issues that affect them.”
“Its Network 10 branding allows us to tap into an audience that doesn’t usually watch Indigenous content.”
Returning as co-host is 10’s Narelda Jacobs as part of the growing close ties between the commercial and public broadcasters, both of whom will also soon team up on the series The first inventorspresented by Rob Collins.
“Narelda’s networks and her Network 10 brand allow us to tap into an audience that doesn’t usually watch Indigenous content. But we see it as very important in this year. Narelda and I had the opportunity to work not only on The pointbut on ours Sunset Ceremony show on January 25 and other shows,” he continues.
“Really, for us, it’s giving us a more mainstream audience, which we need to reach in a year where everyone’s vote matters to the outcome of a referendum.”
The Point 7:30pm Tues on NITV / 10:30pm Tues on SBS.