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Uvagut TV to Broadcast Unprecedented Live Coverage of Controversial NIRB Hearings

The proceedings start on January 25 and continue until February 6.  

Uvagut TV to Broadcast Unprecedented Live Coverage of Controversial NIRB Hearings

Uvagut TV, Canada's first Inuit-language TV channel, will broadcast live from Pond Inlet the upcoming Environmental Assessment Public Hearings on Baffinland Iron Mine's proposed Mary River Phase 2 Expansion.

This unprecedented coverage is an exercise in digital democracy, giving Inuit and concerned audiences everywhere unfiltered access to the proceedings being conducted by the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) in Iqaluit and Pond Inlet, starting on January 25 and continuing until February 6.

Suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic, NIRB in-person hearings are proceeding despite Inuit community concerns about COVID-19 safety risks and their ability to be sufficiently informed and consulted.

Among those scheduled to speak are representatives of the five most impacted communities - Pond Inlet, Igloolik, Sanirajak, Arctic Bay and Clyde River - along with staff from the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) which is responsible for managing Inuit owned lands in the Qikiqtani region where the mine is located.

Operating since 2014 in the Qikiqtani region of north Baffin Island, Baffinland's open pit iron mine has raised concerns among lnuit and non-government groups over land and water contamination, the impact on Caribou and marine mammals, and the implications for Inuit livelihood, language and culture. Its proposed Phase 2 expansion includes building a 110-kilometre rail link to double from 6 million to 12 million metric tonnes the ore shipped annually from Baffinland's northern port near Pond Inlet. If Baffinland adds the 18 million metric tonnes previously approved for a southern route through Steensby Inlet, its Phase 2 expansion could increase bulk-tanker shipping fivefold.

"The potential impact is huge, yet the project has received relatively little media coverage," says Uvagut TV's Managing Director Lucy Tulugarjuk, Executive Director of Inuit-run non-profit Nunavut Independent Television Network (NITV). "Mining in Nunavut impacts every aspect of Inuit life and culture. As Canada's first Inuit-language TV channel, we're giving our Inuit audience full access to the public hearings so everyone can see what happens here. That's why an Inuit TV channel is so important to Inuit."

Uvagut TV's Saqpinaq Carol Kunnuk and Ben Kunuk will broadcast the Hearings live from 9 to 5 on weekdays, with a daily round up starting at 5:30PM with interviews and analysis hosted by Lucy Tulugarjuk in Montreal and Zacharias Kunuk in Igloolik speaking with guests through zoom. The hearings will be broadcast in Inuktut and English with simultaneous translations.

The team behind Uvagut TV has been documenting Baffinland proceedings since 2012 while simultaneously developing expertise in live local broadcasting from the remote arctic.

Uvagut TV is available nationally on Shaw Direct basic satellite channel 267; on Arctic Co-op basic cable and satellite channels 240 or 267 in Nunavut and NWT; and online worldwide at www.uvagut.tv and www.isuma.tv.


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