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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, April 19) – A new television station is being planned by national broadcaster National Broadcasting Corporation.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, who wants a nationally owned television station, has directed new National Broadcasting Corporation managing director Joseph Ealedona to immediately make a submission to be presented to the National Executive Council.

It is understood PGK50 million [US$17.2 million] has been allocated for the project and it is currently with the Department of National Planning and Rural Development.

The draft plan on television broadcasting is being finalized by National Broadcasting Corporation’s technical and engineering division.

[PIR editor’s note: Papua New Guinea's only television station, EM-TV, was sold by Australian media company Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) to Fiji broadcaster Fiji Television in 2004.]

Sir Michael recently said having a nationally owned television station would be good for the promotion of Papua New Guinea’s own sporting stars as well as concentrating more on locally produced programs. He had suggested that the TV station would be called National Broadcasting Corporation TV, hinting that it would be owned and operated by the state-owned radio broadcaster National Broadcasting Corporation.

Ealedona said yesterday the draft document would be finalized this week before it was presented to the Prime Minister in two weeks time.

"It is important Papua New Guinea should have a national television service that will portray Papua New Guinea positively to the region (Pacific) and to the rest of the world," said Ealedona.

He pointed out that some years back Cabinet had approved plans for National Broadcasting Corporation television following many feasibility studies but unfortunately on the part of National Broadcasting Corporation, it did not finalize all plans to go before the government.

"One of our priority tasks now is to put all TV feasibility studies together; update reports to current standards and technology changes and present it to the government this year," Ealedona said.

"National Broadcasting Corporation has held many discussions, consultations and meetings and the onus is on National Broadcasting Corporation to bring all these together and make a serious and committed approach to improve on its broadcasting infrastructure and standards so that the people of Papua New Guinea will know that National Broadcasting Corporation is truly the premier broadcasting network owned by the people. Currently, (the) National Broadcasting Corporation has donor support from the Japanese and Australian governments, and fully appreciate their support which will go a long way in achieving what we want to achieve."

April 20, 2006

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