Tuesday, June 2, 2009

International Indigenous Current Affairs Series and Television Announced

A global alliance of indigenous television broadcasters is launching two major initiatives for its members – an international indigenous current affairs series and a programme exchange scheme. The World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network (WITBN) aims to unify television broadcasters worldwide to retain and grow indigenous languages and cultures. The nine foundation Council members are National Indigenous Television (NITV), Australia; Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), Canada; TG4, Ireland; Maori Television, New Zealand; NRK Sámi Radio, Norway; BBC ALBA, Scotland; South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), South Africa; Taiwan Indigenous Television (TITV) / Public Television Service (PTS), Taiwan; and S4C, Wales.

A news sharing initiative, Indigenous Insight is a weekly 30-minute current affairs programme to be produced by Maori Television. The series will showcase the best news stories from WITBN Council members. A pilot of 12 programmes, presented by Maori Television presenter Julian Wilcox, will be recorded between July and September this year.

The programme exchange scheme has been developed by TG4 in Ireland and will see the ‘free’ exchange between WITBN Council members of four programmes per year. A two-year transmission window will commence in September 2009 and close at the end of August 2011. The first year of the scheme will act as a ‘pilot’ for the full scheme.

The inaugural chairman of WITBN, Jim Mather – chief executive of Maori Television – says the development of collaborative relationships between the indigenous broadcasters creates opportunities for increased audiences, better access to resources, enhanced knowledge transfer and enhancement of schedules through the exchange of programming.

“Indigenous Insight will be unique – an international indigenous current affairs series, probably the only one of its kind in the world, that will provide comprehensive coverage of the issues affecting indigenous communities,” Mr Mather says.

“The programme exchange scheme also represents an innovative and cost effective means to secure new and attractive programming content in exchange for programme material already commissioned for broadcast on our channels.”

The second ever World Indigenous Television Broadcasting Conference (WITBC ’10) will be hosted by Taiwan Indigenous Television (TITV) / Public Television Services (PTS) – under the umbrella of the Taiwan Broadcasting System – in Taiwan from Tuesday March 9 to Friday March 12, 2010. Membership application forms for WITBN are available on the website www.witbn.org.

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