Wednesday, June 22, 2011

[pima.nius] 7512 NZ: Forum to explore future of public television

1:23 PM |

From yesterday - still waiting for updates on PMC



Title – 7512 NZ: Forum to explore future of public television
Date – 22 June 2011
Byline – None
Origin – Pacific Media Watch
Source – Victoria University, 22/6/11
Copyright – VU
Status – Unabridged
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FORUM TO EXPLORE FUTURE OF NZ PUBLIC TELEVISION

WELLINGTON (Victoria University/Pacific Media Watch): Is there a future for public television in New Zealand?

Is public television a luxury New Zealand can't afford? Or is it a crucial ingredient to a healthy and prosperous democracy?

A public forum at Victoria University today will seek to provide some answers to those questions, and map out a future for public television.
One of the forum organisers, Dr Trisha Dunleavy, a senior lecturer from Victoria's Media Studies programme says the forum will seek to provide solutions to the current public TV malaise, of which the decline of TVNZ 7 is just part.

"TVNZ 7 and TVNZ 6 have shown that public service channels can consistently offer choices that commercial channels do not. For the first time in many years Kiwis had local commercial-free entertainment and quality children's programming, exploration of art and cultural issues along with in-depth quality news and current affairs programmes," said Dr Dunleavy.

"However, the problems in our public television are broader than the loss of these channels. We are concerned about the sustainability of a New Zealand identity for our television in the context of a poorly regulated TV market where profitability is shifting to Sky at the expense of free-to-air networks. What we stand to lose are the local TV programmes that TVNZ and TV3 have helped to make accessible to all New Zealanders."

The forum will bring together stakeholders from industry, parliament, the state sector and academia to try and identify practical policy options to sustain public television. It will include panels focusing on the issues of funding and structural alternatives, sustaining local content, the challenges for free-to-air networks, and regulatory arrangements.

The forum originated from an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Broadcasting earlier this year, signed by 61 media academics from around New Zealand. In it, they urged the Government to reconsider the series of steps it has taken "to dismantle the little that is left of public broadcasting in our country," seeing this as a critical asset for New Zealand.

"Over the past five years, one government decision after another has undermined the health of New Zealand's broadcasting environment—including the failure of recent governments to make a success of the TVNZ Charter, the continuing demand for dividends from TVNZ, and … the decision to pull the plug on TVNZ 6 and 7.

"Universally accessible public service broadcasting is not a luxury—it is a means of helping the country to meet its goals of literacy, higher education levels, better health outcomes, and the smart, flexible, creative thinking needed to be competitive in today's world."

Presenters at the forum will include key representatives from Mediaworks, Think TV, Freeview, Stratos, SPADA, leading TV production companies, the Broadcasting Standards Authority as well as several leading academics in the television field.


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