Grassroots community media is vital if we are to maintain and enhance community identity, whether cultural or geographical.

Community media cannot be siloed into print, radio and television, the combination of all three create a rich and texture media landscape where community voices can be heard and if one of these platforms is silenced, our media landscape will be far less diverse and inclusive.

With this in mind, CNAVs cousins in the community television sphere are once again faced with a switch-off date, and unless action is taken, C31 Melbourne and C44 Adelaide will lose their broadcasting licence on June 30, 2021.

For seven years, their licences have received a last-minute emergency reprieve, extending their licence for a further 12 months, but a string of 12-month extensions is not a viable long-term solution, and hampers meaningful growth within the Community TV broadcast spectrum.

CNAV supports and joins the Australian Community Television Alliance (ACTA) in their call for the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications to keep C31 and C44 on air.

The broadcast spectrum C31 and C44 occupy is not scheduled to be repurposed until at least 2024.

CNAV believes a healthy community media landscape, with secure opportunities for all mediums, provides an accessible gateway for those seeking a stepping-stone into media production,

Grassroots media has a capacity to revitalise public confidence and trust in the Australian Media as a whole.

Community media also gives a voice to marginalised people, with ethno-specific and special interest programs allowing our multi-cultural, language-diverse and other non-typical groups to find a platform to share their culture, beliefs or lifestyle.

The answer to “should there be community TV?” is always “Yes”.

CNAV supports and requests that C31 and C44s spectrum is left for community broadcast use until at least the re-stack in 2024.

ACTAs balancing act between traditional broadcast models and digital media is a balancing act faced by community print media too.

Although there is a big future in digital media, many Australians still prefer or rely on traditional media platforms for their education and entertainment and, while traditional models will eventually be superseded by digital systems, that reality is still decades away.

CNAV calls on the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications to ensure the ongoing presence of ACTA on free-to-air television as both a trusted source of entertainment and information and for its work as a training platform for tomorrow’s journalists and broadcasters.

Community television is a vital part of our media landscape.

Don’t let this landscape become a cultural desert.

 

James Poyner
President
Community Newspaper Association of Victoria

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