Outlook grim for pubcasting in New Zealand

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“2012 will be a make or break year for public broadcasting in New Zealand,” according to the Spy Report, an Australian media news site. “New Zealand governments have never shown a strong commitment to public broadcasting, but 2011 has witnessed a remarkable dismantling of what little there was of public broadcasting on television.”

On Dec. 23, it says, Stratos Television, the country’s only national independent noncom channel, went dark; its c.e.o., Jim Blackman, cited “transmission costs coupled with the economic environment and general lack of support at all levels” as the cause. The noncom children’s and family channel, TVNZ 6, ended broadcast on Feb. 28. And on April 6, broadcasting minister Jonathan Coleman announced that the government would end funding for TVNZ 7 and it would close in June 2012. “This decision leaves New Zealand as the only developed country without a broadly-targeted, state-funded broadcaster,” Spy Report says.

Radio New Zealand also continues to struggle after the government froze funding several years ago.