His­toric NITV launch at Uluru

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

US­TRALIA’S first free-to-air in­dige­nous TV chan­nel was launched at noon yes­ter­day. The third chan­nel for SBS was ‘‘switched on’’ by Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Stephen Con­roy as part of a cer­e­mony at Uluru, in the coun­try’s cen­tre.

Na­tional In­dige­nous Tele­vi­sion (NITV), which has been broad­cast­ing for the past five years on pay TV, broad­cast a day (12/12/12) of spe­cial pro­gram­ming yes­ter­day to mark its de­but, in­clud­ing two live out­door broad­casts from Uluru.

The con­certs were pre­sented by in­dige­nous broad­cast­ers Stan Grant and Rhoda Roberts.

There was also a live broad­cast of a cel­e­bra­tion con­cert near the rock last night fea­tur­ing top in­dige­nous artists in­clud­ing Archie Roach, Casey Dono­van and Troy Cas­sar-Da­ley.

NITV chan­nel man­ager Tanya Den­ning says it took a ‘‘good 30-odd years of get­ting to this point, hav­ing a chan­nel ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery Aus­tralian’’.

‘‘A lot of the first moves into tele­vi­sion were in Cen­tral Aus­tralia,’’ she says, ex­plain­ing why Uluru was cho­sen as the lo­ca­tion for the launch.

‘‘There’s been a po­lit­i­cal push to have our place in the Aus­tralian me­dia land­scape and go back to our own­er­ship of our sto­ries.’’

The launch fol­lowed the Fed­eral Government’s 2012 bud­get an­nounce­ment to trans­fer fund­ing from NITV to SBS to de­velop a new, na­tional dig­i­tal free-to-air chan­nel ded­i­cated to Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der con­tent.

SBS man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Ebeid was in­volved in the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

‘‘It’s one of those really his­toric mo­ments that you can be really proud of con­tribut­ing some­thing to a com­mu­nity that has longed for me­dia of their own,’’ Ebeid says.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be ter­rific for them to be able to share in­dige­nous cul­ture and sto­ries in this way.’’

The chan­nel will also help record in­dige­nous cul­ture for both in­dige­nous and non-in­dige­nous Aus­tralians.

To watch NITV, tune in to chan­nel 34 on a dig­i­tal TV, PVR or set-top box. NITV also screens on Foxtel chan­nel 180.

NITV chan­nel man­ager Tanya Den­ning and SBS man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Ebeid in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory for yes­ter­day’s launch.

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