COMMUNITY TELEVISION ANNOUNCEMENT…

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Update:

See the link here for Malcolm’s response regarding the future of community television.

 

 

AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY TELEVISION’S RESPONSE TO THE DECISION TO TERMINATE ACCESS TO BROADCAST SPECTRUM BEYOND 2015

The Australia Community Television Alliance is shattered by the announcement today from the Minister of Communications, Malcolm Turnbull that their access to broadcast spectrum will not be extended beyond the end of 2015 – a move that will almost certainly lead to the death of community TV in Australia.

ACTA is disappointed that this decision has been made public without any reasonable process of consultation with community TV stations and rejects the Ministers assertion that this decision “is in the best interests of community television”. This decision has been made in the interests of the major media organisations and at the expense of the community.

ACTA asserts that free-to-air television is presently the dominant form of media in this country and that community access to spectrum is a vital contributor to media diversity. ACTA accepts audiences are moving online and the sector should be preparing for this future, however it is unfair that community television be forced off the air well in advance of all other television broadcasters and in a time frame that is likely to cause the closure of all stations.

We call on the Minister to open dialogue with the sector to find a solution that would enable community television to transition its business model in a time frame that is more feasible or to explore the option of sharing the SBS multiplex, utilising their third channel, currently used to re-transmit the stations primary channel.

Community Television in Australia has a 20 year history of providing open access to local communities to broadcast their stories on free-to-air television. Community Television’s purpose is to ensure that free-to-air broadcast spectrum is accessible by all members of the public – to make and screen content that is local, provides access to community groups and provides industry based learning for media students and independent filmmakers.

At a time when there are six shopping channels broadcasting on free-to-air in the capital cities, it is unfortunate that the Minister does not value the contribution community television has made – and could continue to make – to media diversity in this country.

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