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Latest Satellite News Discussion, Vtv On The Way at General Satellite News forum; FIJI will soon have its own television station with broadcasting, programming and advertising entirely in the Fijian language. This groundbreaking ...

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Thumbs up Vtv On The Way - 31-March-2009, 05:55

FIJI will soon have its own television station with broadcasting, programming and advertising entirely in the Fijian language.

This groundbreaking new channel is the brainchild of Fiji-born businessman, Yogesh Gokal, and Sir James Ah Koy, and will be realised thanks to interim Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama .

Sir James spoke exclusively to the Fiji Daily Post this week about the formation of the channel, which is to be called ‘VTV’.

“I want to thank the Prime Minister for seeing the value of this initiative and for granting a license to Mr Gokal for the new television broadcaster,” Sir James enthused.

Sir James stressed that this new channel will be entirely in Fijian with no programming in any other language.

“This will be a first for the South Pacific,” Sir James declared.

“With 60 per cent of the current population being indigenous Fijian, the indigenous language is still the mother tongue of Fiji,” he stressed, “yet there is no broadcasting to match this.”

Sir James emphasised his “worry” that there is “no political discussion broadcasted on television in the native tongue”.

“The proposed channel will reach out to rural areas where Fijian is spoken en masse”.

Sir James believes that the news that is now presented to the nation daily in English, is “trans-mutilated” (as he puts it).

“This ‘transmutilation’ gives the public an unclear view of the politics of this country.”

“VTV will bring important news coverage to the people of Fiji, unadulterated and un-altered,” he asserts.

“This will aid in bringing transparency to the government and to other political organisations in Fiji,” he said.

Sir James refers to the proposed television project objective of uncensored broadcasting as “organic TV”.

“Its news will not go through the processes of politically censored television – like we now have where everything is biased against the Interim government,” he said.

“The new television broadcaster will let the Fijian-speaking public decide for themselves about who should run the country and what is the best way for it to be run.”

“How can the people of Fiji be expected to make informed decisions on the subject of politics when the information presented to them is in English, is minimal and worse, is twisted?” Sir James asks.

His affirms that the new indigenous language broadcaster is primarily about giving the people the tools their need to make their own decisions about public and political issues of the day.

“This is about genuine and substantive empowerment,” says project developer, Yogesh Gokal.

Gokal, who was schooled at Suva Grammar School before leaving for the United Kingdom and Taiwan, will privately fund and own the television station.

“The fact it is owned and controlled by one man ensures its independence from government or shareholder interest,” he says.

“This will free the station to broadcast all relevant information to the public without interference or censorship from another party,” Sir James adds.

Commenting on the “organic” nature of the project, Sir James said the station will initially broadcast for twelve hours of the day.

“But once a foothold is maintained, and the venture is succeeding, the intention is to broadcast twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,” he explained.

The new channel was originally to be called ‘Viti TV’, but new legislation prevents companies from using the words ‘Viti‘ or ‘Fiji’ in their title generically, “so it was decided name the station VTV.”

VTV will have 100 per cent coverage over Fiji enabling it to reach out to the entire public.

“It will be a terrestrial, free-to-air channel,” said Gokal, “This will give every Fijian speaker access to important programming and provide them with a clearer knowledge and understanding about current affairs overseas and what is happening here.”

“In Fiji, where international relationships are crucial to the running of the country, it is important to have the right information on what is happening overseas,” Gokal added.

Although there is a political and information sharing motive behind the establishment of the channel, “viewers can expect to see a wide spectrum of shows on the channel,” Gokal affirmed.

Sir James explained that this spectrum will include “entertainment and religious shows”, although “The crux of the channel will come from political and topical talk shows and news, all in the indigenous tongue.”

Sir James enthusiastically sums up his intentions for the channel by saying, “VTV will give local and international news to the listening and watching public, will give them news that has not been tampered with or misquoted, and will give it to them straight from the horse’s mouth.” “Let the public be the judges.”

Sir James stresses that the need for the new channel does not come from a media bias, but rather from the public’s “lack of access to important informative resources relating to politics in this country.”

“Without the resources provided by media such as the new VTV, an informed decision cannot be made,” Gokal notes.

“There seems to be a lack of investigative journalism that VTV will aim to provide. Without this investigative journalism the media often resorts to sensationalism as a way of presenting the news which, in fact, gives a distorted view to the public,” Gokal adds.

While Sir James could not provide an exact timetable between now and when the channel will be on our screens, both he and Gokal assert that it will be six months from when the final license is confirmed and granted.

“So we will not have long to wait before a fully Fijian-talking channel is accessible all across the country,” Sir James says, “and I have every confidence in the success of such an important new initiative.”
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