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SBS to propose launch of Indigenous channel

Thursday 01 Sep 2011
SBS has been invited to join forces with National Indigenous TV (NITV) network to create a new channel dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content in a proposal outlined today by Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, The Australian reports.

Whereas four-year-old NITV is only available through pay-TV transmission, this move would instantly create a national, free-to-air Indigenous channel.

Mr Conroy said there was strong support for a national Indigenous TV service in the community.

“The Australian government is determined to ensure that the resources allocated to Indigenous broadcasting are delivering the best outcomes for Indigenous people,” he said in a statement. “The government’s aim is to provide a national platform for free-to-air delivery of predominantly Australian Indigenous content without the creation of a third national broadcaster.

“SBS is well placed to facilitate the evolution of this service and bring Indigenous television on to a free-to-air platform,” he said.

Mr Conroy said the principal objective of a new Indigenous service “would be to increase the amount and overall quality of original Australian Indigenous content on free-to-air television”.

NITV chairman Ken Reys welcomed the proposal for an SBS Indigenous channel.

“We see this as a potential opportunity to achieve a long-awaited ambition of securing national free-to-air transmission for Indigenous television,” he said. “There are many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and millions of other Australians who currently don’t have access to NITV.”