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Guest post from Inge Kral

The recent closure of the Indigenous Community TV network (ICTV), (see Frank Rijavec's letter) is a move of profound short-sightedness by individuals who do not understand how significant this media broadcasting outlet has been for thousands of Indigenous Australians living in remote Australia. At a time when we need to be encouraging a diverse range of strategies to support literacy in remote Australia it is beyond belief that the government would shut down one of the most significant vehicles for literacy development and maintenance (both in English and local Aboriginal vernaculars) for school-age and post-school age remote Indigenous youth.

The Broadcasting for Remote Aboriginal Communities (BRACS) media training in remote communities has represented one of the most successful models of 'Vocational Education and Training' (VET) in the remote context because of its immediate applicability. Additionally media production in remote communities in the various media organisations has been an important vehicle for Indigenous languages maintenance. In addition to the encouragement of language and literacy maintenance and development, cultural pride has been strengthened and vocational pathways have been forged. These media organisations have also supported successful and meaningful CDEP and non CDEP employment.

Digital media successfully engages remote youth in learning new skills including IT skills, and it was through ICTV remote youth then viewed their own digital media productions within a short period of time in the public domain. This immediate link between video production and broadcasting then engendered respect for young media workers from within their communities and from outside their community. Sadly the closure of ICTV has eliminated a strategy for purposeful literacy (and IT skills) acquisition and use for this age group. This decision must be reassessed; in addition to a National Indigenous TV network we also need ICTV in remote Indigenous Australia.

Comments

Does that mean all the old BRACS are scrapped?? That's terrible.

You'd think that with NITV being launched, having good BRACS programs in communities might actually provide a pathway for ppl in communities to get into something a bit more mainstream... but that would make too much sense wouldn't it?

There's a belief that NITV will somehow help Indigenous languages. Here's Rachel Perkins, who's on the board:

"This country needs NITV because we need to open a window on Aboriginal culture to the rest of Australia," Ms Perkins said.
She also hoped the station could offer a public service by teaching indigenous languages to prevent them dying out."

Teaching Indigenous languages is no substitute for broadcasting in Indigenous languages (although they could act as free samplers for enterprises like Ngapartji Ngapartji). And, if the aim is "a window on Aboriginal culture" for outsiders, then there's little chance that NITV will broadcast regularly in Indigenous languages. It's early days yet, but the NITV homepage doesn't give any comfort.

The CEO, Pat Turner, says: "This will be something very different to what we normally see on Australian television. ... It will feature our stories the way we want them told." But for the most part, not in Indigenous languages.

Kimberly at Long Road has further thoughts and links.

Go Inge go!

The decision to can ICTV is insane. Or worse.

ICTV was that rarest of beasts in Indigenous affairs - the authentic Aboriginal product.

Popular with people in remote communities. Expression coming up from the grass-roots. Untidy, dirty, expressive and emotional. Energetic and vivid, funny and angry, daggy and entertaining.

Hardly ever any oil slick on it, and rarely any propaganda or bullshit. Playing now in most Nyirrpi households instead of Good Morning Australia or Sunrise or whatever. The real deal.

God only knows what NITV will replace it with, but I'll bet my sweet Troopie that it doesn't pack half the punch that ICTV had.

Noeli Roberts, Senior Cultural Officer and Founding member of Ngaanyatjarra Media, said this about the loss of ICTV:

"We had a lot of stories on ICTV- Tjukurrpa (dreaming stories or Law) and Turlku (cultural dance and singing). All the mob in the Ngaanyatjarra and Pitjantjatjara Lands could put their stories on that ICTV. We grew that ICTV up from nothing.

But now, everybody is asking me what happened to that ICTV, we were watching it all the time, the Yarnangu (Ngaanyatjarra people). I have to tell them, they changed the channel.

I want to send a letter to Canberra, government mob, and tell them our story. Yarnangu liked that ICTV, we don’t want to lose it. It's for bush mob that one.

Last night I watched that NITV, there's no Tjukurrpa, no Aboriginal people dancing, only town mob telling their stories. We want ICTV back for bush mob."

Noel Pearson has got stuck into the decision to replace ICTV by NITV, arguing that it is "a tussle between grassroots TV content production and a new Sydney-based network that talks ominously about "production values"'. It's a savage attack, but not on the Government who closed down ICTV, rather on the Indigenous people who promote NITV.

i feel sad for our elders like Noeli Roberts who i met in Balgo last year at a RIBS festival.
i have been told that he has been doing his thing in his country for years and on the smell of an oily rag.
now he and the rest of the people have lost something that is so close to their hearts (ICTV). how can he sit down and watch crap like i saw last night on NITV about non indigenous men acting all drunk and participating in a wet t shirt competition.
i loved watching old and new footage from the bush of Ngunda (dances) even though they were from another region to me and i could not understand the language.
Noel Pearson tells them like it is anyway in last saturday the 28ths Australian Paper.
Keep smiling anyway Juju Noeli.

Education through mass media, fantastic.

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