Indigenous TV Broadcasters form global network

A global network of indigenous television broadcasters is being established after the inaugural World Indigenous Television Broadcasting Conference (WITBC) hosted by Māori Television at the end of March. Indigenous broadcasters representing Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, Hawaii, Ireland, Aotearoa-New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, South Africa, Taiwan and the USA gathered for the first major conference of its kind in Auckland.

The exceptional line-up of guest speakers included Chief Judge Joe Williams of the Waitangi Tribunal; Simon Molaudzi (South African Broadcasting Corporation); John Walter Jones (S4C, Wales); Jean LaRose (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canada); Jim Mather (Māori Television); Shaun Brown (SBS Corporation, Australia); Sylvia Feng (Public Television Service, Taiwan); Pól Ó Gallchóir (TG4, Ireland); Patricia Turner (National Indigenous Television, Australia); Margaret Mary Murray (BBC Scotland); and Dr Saul Berman (IBM Global Business Services).

Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive Leith Comer says his organisation was proud to support the conference as it provided Māori television broadcasting with the opportunity to excel and further promote Māori culture and language to the world.

“Jim and the team at Māori Television have grown from strength to strength and I’m excited to see what the future of New Zealand Television broadcasting will look like,” he says.

Māori Television chief executive Jim Mather says the three-day event was an opportunity to debate and shape our people’s future by engaging with other indigenous broadcasters on pertinent and emerging issues for indigenous media.

The conference also gave delegates a forum to discuss the need for a World Indigenous Television Broadcasting Network (WITBN) which will promote indigenous broadcasting at the highest levels internationally and foster closer relationships among broadcasters.

An interim council was formed and Māori Television will now develop a draft strategic plan before the network is formally launched.

“WITBC ’08 provided a space for discussions around the establishment of a global network, which will open up a number of opportunities in terms of increased audiences, access to resources, international indigenous advocacy and knowledge transfer such as learning, teaching and training,” Mr Mather says.

Taiwan will host the next World Indigenous Television Broadcasting Conference in 2010 followed by Wales (2012) and Canada (2014).