First of all thank you High Commissioner for extending your invitation to me and for allowing me to make a brief response as part of this milestone launching.
Television media has been and will continue to be an important information and educational tool for our generation and generations to come.
It not only provides news and information on what is happening round the world but serves as an important tool to expose viewers especially our young population to the different cultures and ways of life around the region and abroad.
It also serves as an important tool to help build our knowledge through the introduction of new material and skills which will help our different sectors to contribute positively to the sustainable economic development of our economies.
Exposure to different traditional and cultural ways and the happenings around the country and the world is one of the key reasons why our leaders decided to establish Television blo Vanuatu (TBV).
The TBV unit within VBTC while is an important component of our broadcasting entity still lacks adequate resources to enable it to effectively carryout its intended role. A number of factors can be attributed to this but I will not dwell on them this evening.
Despite the lack of resources to produce material for our viewers, TBV has been able to carry out its functions and achieve its objectives to a certain extend thanks to the likes of TVNZ, Australian TV outlets, RFO, CCTV and others for contributing to the content being projected onto our TV Screens by TBV every day. The government expresses its appreciation for this gesture and looks forward to your continued support.
Excellency’s, Ladies and Gentlemen, what we are gathered here this evening to witness its official launching is another positive step forward in terms of content for TBV viewers for which we thank the Government of New Zealand with much appreciation.
The announcement by Prime Minister John Key on the Pacific broadcasting initiative at the Pacific Islands Forum in September 2015 was welcomed by Pacific Leaders who were in attendance including the Prime Minister of Vanuatu who is also Minister responsible for media.
As we heard from the presentation by Mr Tony O’Brien, a representative from the Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Ltd, the initiative aims to promote the service going live to eight Pacific countries (Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Niue and Samoa) over the period of May/June 2016.
Through this initiative I understand from the presentation that free-to-air broadcasters in the Pacific such as our very own TBV will receive up to 8 hours per day of a wide range of content which includes sports (including the OFC Champions League Football), news and current affairs, documentaries and factual series, and general entertainment programmes.
This is a significant increase from the number of hours per week that the Pacific received under the previous service.
As we heard in the presentation the Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Ltd (PCBL) is funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who will be managing this new service. Previously, the Pacific service was managed by Television New Zealand.
In Vanuatu, PCBL are working with the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation (VBTC). As such we will not only be receiving an increase in content, but our local producers and staff of TBV will also be getting some support to build and promote local capacity as part of this initiative. Tankio tumas.
We comment the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand for taking this important step forward. This gesture is a demonstration of the strong partnership forged between the government and people of New Zealand and the governments and people of the Pacific.
On behalf of the Government and people of Vanuatu, tankio tumas for your support towards the development of the television industry in Vanuatu.
We further thank you for your continued collaboration and support and for your many contributions towards our development efforts; a clear example of which is the Port Vila beautification project which is already underway. Thank you also for your continued support towards our recovery efforts following TC Pam – much appreciated.
In closing, I call on VBTC management and staff to work closely in partnership with PCBL to ensure that we take advantage of the offer under this initiative by the Government of New Zealand so that viewers of TBV can enjoy the increased variety of content that will be put out through our local network. And, the resultant increase in local skills and capacity in the television industry.
Thank you again and I wish all stakeholders success in the implementation of the Pacific broadcasting initiative.