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Why Indigenous Community Television is a positive step forward

By Lesley Johns

April 24, 2013 | 3 min read

Last week, Indigenous Community Television began fulltime broadcasting to outback communities from its base in Yuendumu, 300 kilometres west of Alice Springs. ICTV says it will be available to more than 1,000 communities after its digital rollout completes later this year. Lesley Johns of Precise Media, with a special interest in indigenous affairs, says the channel represents a significant step forward.

Lesley Johns

Many Aboriginal communities already have access to an Indigenous TV channel – NITV. So they have seen programming created specifically by and for Indigenous people. What’s interesting is that ICTV is a community channel and whether there will be enough content generated to keep it interesting and relevant.

Assuming that remote communities will be able to receive the channel through the new digital network, then it is a positive step forward.

A community television channel will offer the opportunity for individual communities to create content and have it broadcast – that’s very exciting. Of course though, those communities will need to have the resources to do that, and sadly that will be a problem for some communities.

Many of the very remote communities are under-resourced – digital cameras, computers and the like, needed to create content, will be difficult to come by. I’m assuming most of the content will be created in the bigger centres, like Alice Springs and Ceduna.

Nonetheless any new service, particularly one that is Indigenous-specific will be welcomed by Aboriginal people.

NITV broadcasts on Foxtel, Austar and Optus and is available in some regional and remote areas through an analogue signal – so some communities already have access to Indigenous content and have had for some time.

With the roll-out of digital TV across Australia, remote communities will access TV through the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) network.

ICTV will be delivered through the VAST network, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

NITV – is the National Indigenous Television channel, part of the SBS family of free to air channels broadcasting across Australia. It has been running Indigenous programs since 2007. The content for this channel is primarily commissioned or acquired from the Indigenous production sector.

Lesley Johns operates Precise Media & PR

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