Media coverage of Yothu Yindi’s former lead singer offends Yunupingu family


Media across Australia have offended the family of the deceased former lead singer of indigenous rock group Yothu Yindi by showing his full name and picture.

Mr Yunupingu died in his home of  Yirrkala in the NT last night at the age of 56 after losing his fight against kidney disease. Tributes poured out across Australia for the singer across radio and online, but the singer’s family have been distressed at the coverage for cultural reasons.

In many Aboriginal communities there is a taboo placed on the name and image of a dead individual.

Offending websites have included the ABC’s news homepage,’s homepage, The Australian website, NITV’s Twitter account, ABC’s Mark Scott’s Twitter account, 3AW Melbourne’s main website and Twitter account, 702 ABC Sydney’s Twitter account and broadcast, Nine’s Lisa Wilkinson and many more. Many have since been edited or removed entirely.

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Darren Moncrieff, Northern Land Council spokesman, sent an email out to press in the NT saying the family have requested media use only the last name of the singer and refrain from using his image.

He said he had been contacted by a family friend.

“I was speaking with a friend of Mr Yunupingu’s wife and he said the family were quite upset. Mr Yunupingu lived in a community in the NT, where tradition and traditional life is still quite strong.”

The Commercial TV Industry Codes of Practice states the media should  be “aware of the cultural norms and experiences of indigenous peoples,” and “consult local indigenous groups when preparing news and current affairs.”


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