As the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull announced a proposal on the 10th of September 2014 to not renew Community Television operators’ Apparatus Licence. The end date is December 2016!
Malcolm Turnbull stated that community TV’s “best outcome” would be to move the entirety of the service to the internet. We are thoroughly disappointed with this move.
Community television and C31 serves so many Australians; including people with disability to Indigenous broadcasters, programmes for youth, ethic communities etc. It has been a platform for many professionals.
Whilst media consumption is rapidly changing, traditional TV still serves as the primary form by which audiences watch long form video content, with online services acting as a complement to Broadcast TV. As highlighted by the Australian Multi-Screen Report 2014; currently, the average viewer consumes 24 hours per week of Broadcast TV, whereas viewings on PC or mobile or tablet devices amounted to a little over two hours. This suggests that internet viewings are still a supplement to traditional TV, which draws the bulk of viewership.
Additionally, the free-of-charge accessibility of Community TV will be altered if the content will only be receivable online. As the internet is not free-to-access, this may restrict the ability for services to communities who may lack the technical capacities or data required to access long form video content online. Hence, the responsibility of community broadcasters to provide free-of-charge content via widely available equipment under the Broadcasting Services Act will be compromised. The move will end the ch31 TV as we know it.
We, the undersigned, as supporters of community television, ask the Prime Minister to reinstate and keep Channel 31 ongoing after December 2016.
We therefore ask the PM to revoke the decision to cancel the CTV Transmitter licences. Community television and C31 serves the community in many ways; from people with disability to programming in different languages spoken across our state, to Indigenous broadcasters, faith based, legal, environmental, and regional and youth programs for communities within Victoria.
We appeal to the Prime Minister to review his proposal not to extend CTV Transmitter Licenses, and ask that extensions for Apparatus (Transmitter) Licences run concurrently with BSA Licences to 2019.
To support the efforts for a transition into an online service that will maintain relevance with the challenges of the digital age, we request that a process of consultation as to the most appropriate levels of funding be undertaken in order to successfully bring this digital vision into fruition.
The Support Community Television petition to The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP was written by LawHelp Australia and is in the category Media Issues at GoPetition.