Friday, September 07, 2007

do your bit to protect community television

Below is an extract of a letter I received from the Digital Campaign Coordinator at Channel 31. Please take time to write to the PrimeMinister about this issue, it is important to retain diversity in Australian media. Community television (and radio) plays a vital role in broadcasting a more informed view and we need to do as much as we can to ensure it's ongoing survival...

Community television is a vital service to the community. We provide the means of empowerment for a number of different (often marginalised) groups to represent themselves as they want to be seen, as well as allowing our viewers an insight into communities they might be otherwise unaware of.
At the moment, if someone purchases a digital set-top-box, or TV set with an in-built digital tuner they effectively lose access to community TV! We do feel that we (and hence our community producers) are being unfairly discriminated against, considering the opportunities that all other free-to-air networks have been handed by the Federal Government to date. So many of the communities who produce programmes broadcast on C31, are already ‘left out’ of other media, but community television provides opportunities to them and so many others who may already feel marginalised from the ‘mainstream’. As long as the future of digital community TV hangs in the balance, these communities are left in a precarious position They have no guarantees that they will be left with any outlet to express themselves, and improve understanding of their unique individual cultures by the public. As long as we are being prevented from being allowed to simulcast in analogue as well as digital, these communities are again being marginalised by being excluded from the brave new world of digital television.

To show your support for community television send a letter to the Prime Minister, an example letter can be found at or you can visit the ‘Digital TV’ section of Channel 31's website at .

Community television prides itself on breaking down barriers, improving understanding between peoples, fostering diversity, and giving anyone and everyone with passion, a chance to make good television that can be enjoyed by all. We believe that the only way that we can guarantee that we can continue to provide these possibilities to anyone in the community is if we are given the security of a digital future. We are simply appealing to the Federal Government to give us a ‘fair go’, just like the other free-to-air networks, by granting us the ability to simulcast in both analogue and digital starting NOW until the ‘switch-over’ from analogue to digital television services, at which point we could be allocated a full 7MHz channel.

What we are asking for in the grand scheme of things, is such a small price to pay for services to such a wide section of the Australian population. People who may find that the best way to integrate into Australian society is to express themselves in a creative and publicly available way, and to let others get to know them little by little, until they are no longer considered ‘others’ but simply ‘fellow Australians’. Community television gives anyone who wants it, this same opportunity. However, we can only continue to do so effectively if a sustainable future for community television is guaranteed, and guaranteed fast. We are rapidly running out of time.

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