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Lawmaker keen on ethnic television

Lawmaker keen on- Dr Ashraf Choudhary.jpgThe growing ethnic communities in New Zealand deserve their own television channel, Labour MP Dr Ashraf Choudhary said.

He is due to introduce to Parliament the Ethnic Broadcasting Commission Bill, which will urge the Government to assess the need for commercial, semi-commercial and non-commercial options for funding the initiative.

The Private Member Bill, if picked by the lawmakers, will help constitute a Commission of Inquiry to consider the establishment of ethnic telecast facility.

“New Zealand has growing and vibrant ethnic communities whose principal languages and cultures derive from neither English nor Maori-speaking traditions.

“Members of the proposed Commission must have the requisite experience, expertise and knowledge of the needs and aspirations of different communities of interest and population groups in New Zealand society,” Dr Choudhary said.

He said print and radio media reports had proved that there was increasing demand from people seeking access to multi-cultural and foreign language broadcasts.

“A number of private ethnic radio stations broadcast in about 45 languages, and key ethnic groups listening are Korean, Indian, Middle Eastern, Filipinos, Africans, Europeans and Pacific Islanders. There is a growing potential audience, but such broadcasts are limited and are run on shoestring budgets,” he said.

According to Dr Choudhary, ethnic groups wanted more than just music or news.

“They seek more content, longer interviews, practical information about living in New Zealand and education resources in their own languages. Such tools provide good support, especially for new arrivals and refugees,” he said.

Dr Ashraf Choudhary can be contacted on 021-799573.

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