Indigenous Peoples’ Worldview and Inequalities: Voices from Southeast Asia’s Indigenous Media

Ms. Mona Sihombing2

2Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), San Sai District, Thailand

In portraying inequalities between Indigenous Peoples and their non-indigenous counterpart, it is generally accepted for mainstream/dominant media outlets to use economic power gap as their narratives. They may talk about human rights, cultures, or access to basic social services, yet the presence or absence of each of the topic being discussed is framed within their relations with economic power gap. It is understandable because economic power is elementary for developmental changes, and media are always seen as agents of development.  Along this line, media narratives embody the same top-down approach with that of developmental changes.

However, with information and communication technologies opening wider access of indigenous communities to establishing own indigenous media. They have also been exposed to mainstream/dominant media’s narratives – including ones that are different from how indigenous worldview interprets economic power gap and thus inequalities. In order to understand Indigenous Peoples’ worldview on inequalities in the context of Southeast Asia,  this research will present findings from survey and interview with indigenous journalists working with indigenous media in Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand as these are the countries where Indigenous Voices in Asia – Network (IVAN) has been active for the last few years.


Mona Sihombing is the Communication Programme Coordinator of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), a Chiang Mai-based regional Indigenous Peoples organization established in 1992. As part of her involvement with the organization, she is responsible for regional coordination of IVAN – a regional network of indigenous journalists and media. She holds a Master of Global Media Communication from The University of Melbourne.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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