National indigenous TV station launched in Australia
Friday, July 13th, 2007

Australia’s first national 24 hour indigenous television station is on air.The maiden hour-long broadcast of National Indigenous Television (NITV) was beamed live from Sydney to more than 600,000 viewers this morning. The broadcast and a short documentary about the history of indigenous media will be repeated throughout the day until 6.30pm (CST) when normal programming will begin with a children’s show.

During the first stage of the national roll-out, the government-funded television station will be available via the Optus Aurora remote area satellite service. It will then transmit a free-to-air service to parts of northern and central Australia, Queensland and South Australia on the second channel of Northern Territory commercial indigenous station Imparja Television. Imparja TV reaches 150 remote indigenous communities.

By October, NITV hopes to be available as part of Foxtel and Austar’s pay-TV packages. The station will receive $50 million over four years from the federal government to buy, commission and broadcast programs made by indigenous people. It aims to provide a full range of content with an indigenous perspective, including drama, news, sport, children’s television and documentaries.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan, speaking at the launch, said she was excited about the opportunities NITV could offer indigenous people to develop their talents, both in creating content and the day-to-day running of the station. “NITV gives indigenous Australians a distinct and dedicated voice in the broadcasting sector, a national voice for the first time,” Senator Coonan said.

She said NITV would also benefit non-Indigenous people. “All Australians are very keen to listen to your stories, we need to listen to better understand,” Senator Coonan said.

(Source: Australian Associated Press)