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International broadcasters secured for conference

High profile international broadcasters secured for conference

Leading public broadcasters from around the world will join local speakers at a major conference on the future of public service broadcasting in New Zealand being held in Wellington later this month.

The international line-up for the New Future for Public Broadcasting conference is headed by BBC Director-General Greg Dyke, and also includes the Director-General of Irish National Broadcaster RTE, Bob Collins, Chairman of the Universal Television Group Michael Jackson and (UK) Channel 4’s Director of Television Tim Gardam. The conference also includes presentations from New Zealand radio and television public service broadcasters and regulators. It is being held in Wellington on 20 and 21 November.

Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey said the conference will be an important landmark in the future development of broadcasting in New Zealand.

“There have been major changes in the New Zealand public broadcasting environment in recent years, ranging from the introduction of TVNZ’s charter and establishment of NiuFM (the nationwide Pacific radio network), to the development of the Maori Television Service and the consideration of how digital television technology should be introduced.

“Earlier this year the government asked the Ministry for Culture and Heritage to look at how the current public broadcasting system can contribute to development of New Zealand’s national and cultural identities.

“I am delighted that major figures in the international public broadcasting community have agreed to participate in the conference.

“The international speakers will share with those attending how their organisations have responded to key issues New Zealand broadcasters are currently grappling with. For example: BBC Director-General Greg Dyke will outline how the world’s pre-eminent radio and television public service broadcaster has successfully introduced digital technology after a shaky start;

Bob Collins, RTE Director-General, brings his recent experience heading up the Irish national radio and television broadcaster during a major broadcasting review which reaffirmed the importance of public service broadcasting in contemporary society.

RTE and TVNZ share a very similar structure; Channel 4’s Director of Television, Tim Gardam, has worked in both programme making and broadcasting management and is particularly associated with the development of innovative and popular programming on the channel; and Michael Jackson who was responsible for setting up Channel 4 in the UK will discuss how the channel successfully managed to combine commercial and public service objectives. Since leaving Channel 4 he has headed up the television arm of the Vivendi Universal Entertainment group.

“A diverse range of local speakers will discuss how they see their organisations evolving to deliver services to New Zealanders.

“This will be a working conference designed to give all those who want a say in the future shape of public broadcasting a chance to do so. It will encourage open, frank debate and, without relitigating the past, shape a robust, creative future for public service broadcasting in this country,” Steve Maharey said.

A complete conference programme is available on-line at www.newfuture.govt.nz.

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