Not everyone is on board for PacificAus TV

On Monday the government announced PacificAus TV, a new $17.1 million initiative for Australian (commercial) television shows to be available free to Pacific nations Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru.

Amongst the titles from Seven, Nine and 10 will be Neighbours, Better Homes & Gardens, Totally Wild, Border Security, 60 Minutes, House Rules, Travel Guides, This Time Next Year, The Force, The Voice, MasterChef, 800 Words, Paramedics and Lego Masters.

But not everybody is enthused by the idea.

Jemima Garrett, co-convenor of the Australia Asia Pacific Media Initiative and former Pacific correspondent for the ABC, said, “Watching rich, white people renovate their homes will not ‘deepen the connection’ with the Pacific or overcome perceptions that Australia can be paternalistic. Nor will providing Border Security in a region in which visa access is a sore point.”

She suggested investment in public interest journalism and co-productions would be a better way of building relationships in the region.

Dan McGarry, the former media director at the Vanuatu Daily Post newspaper, had mixed feelings.

“Pacific islanders want news, they want weather updates, especially during cyclone season. But language and cultural differences make shows like Neighbours irrelevant to most islanders. Entertainment wasn’t what we asked for (except for The Voice – everyone loves that),” he wrote.

But others disagreed.

“The programs will greatly enrich the television content available to all Fijians,” said Stanley Simpson, Director Mai TV, Fiji. “We have received a great mix of drama, entertainment and educational programs that will both delight and inform our viewers on Mai TV. Sincere thanks to the Australian Government for the initiative.”

Source: The Guardian, SBS


  1. I find jemima’s comments offensive, she’s hardly going to “deepen the connection” by referring to “us” as rich white people

  2. Isn’t it more paternalist to generalise about what all Pacific Islanders want to watch based not on any data but a rehash of postcolonialist theory from an ex-ABC staffer?

    If they don’t like it they will watch something else.

  3. Stanley Simpson’s Mai TV, Fiji is a religious channel. ABC Australia is already broadcast on one of Fiji’s six channels FBC2, but only midnight to 6am. Others such as TV1 Samoa likewise carry ABC midnt to 6am. Also ‘cherry pick’ Play School, Home & Away and ABC News 24. Others, TV2 and TV3 don’t. Cook Islands & Niue relay ABC Australia from midnt. The content they receive from Pasifika TV, NZ 24/7 is far more relevant, including e.g. Home Learning TV 9am-1pm…”programming for children and young people aged 2 to 15, as well as for parents. The Ministry of Education’s Home Learning TV partnership with TVNZ”. As PacificAust TV is on the same satellite IS-19 as ABC and NZ why are they buying new TVROs? Why not make this same content available to ABC Australia? They did have it before Malcolm and Julie Bishop ripped up their contract and forced ABC to fund and operate a new service.

  4. History repeats … thirty-five years ago we were in the process of introducing the Remote Commercial Television Service to areas of Australia that had not had television before. I spent a couple of delightful days on Thursday Island meeting the local people to find out what they actually wanted to watch and, quelle surprise, they didn’t want what the do-gooders who were lobbying the Canberra bureaucrats wanted them to see … look at the composition of the Australia Asia Pacific Media Initiative and you’ll understand …

  5. It’s a tone deaf selection of programs, and if we want Pacific nations to side with us over China we’re going to have to do a lot better.

  6. Give us a break Jemima, what a farcical comment and short sighted viewpoint. It’s pretty simple, if you don’t like it don’t watch it. The people can decide for themselves what to watch and this only gives them more choice. Just like Australians can easily choose not to watch all the mindless or irrelevant rubbish from other countries.

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