On April 9, Iglulik’s Nunavut Independent Television (NITV) board of directors agreed to obey the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s (NIRB) April 6 order not to rebroadcast, without the board’s prior written consent, the NIRB public hearings on Baffinland’s Mary River phase two expansion proposal.
“We know we are being censored. We want to find out who is censoring us,” said NITV board member Zacharias Kunuk, on behalf of the board. “It’s not the Inuit way to be confrontational.”
The last round of hearings were broadcast live by Uvagut TV from Jan. 25 to Feb. 6. On April 8, Uvagut TV offered to broadcast live, with advance permission to later rebroadcast, the April 12 to 21 hearings, which followed the same practices the broadcaster had arranged with NIRB since Nov. 2019, according to NITV.
On April 10, NIRB responded to NITV lawyer Tess Layton, stating, “The panel continues to be in decision-making, with two hearing sessions having been completed in November 2019 and January-February 2021 and the third session upcoming.
“The board’s policy with respect to rebroadcast or retransmission has remained the same, that while the board is engaged in decision-making, the board will not consider requests for rebroadcast or retransmission of the proceeding associated with the assessment.”
Previous broadcasts of NIRB Baffinland hearings can be viewed online at isuma.tv under NIRB.
An open letter from the NITV board states, “NIRB now seeks to limit wider access to information by community members by prohibiting reasonable and necessary rebroadcast of public hearings that impact the future of all Inuit.”
Among its reasons for wanting to rebroadcast the hearings, NITV cited convenience for Inuit to tune in during the evening after working during the day, and the Co-op fire in Iglulik, which knocked out local cable for a period and inhibited residents there from watching the previous airings of the hearings.