Historic NITV launch at Uluru
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.