Contributed by: Troy Thompson
The Australia Network provides Australian TV content into Asia (on satellite/cable TV) much the same as Radio Australia does with radio content. It is a government program that has been provided by the ABC but with programs from across the Australian TV networks. On weekends this extends to coverage (often live) of AFL matches. This provides a strong link and easy access to the game for homesick expats but also a window into the Australian game for many Asian locals who have an interest in the game.
With a number of junior programs being conducted by footy clubs across Asia, other than playing the game there is no better way to give these kids an appreciation of the game than by being able to show them footy beamed live from a packed MCG, Footy Park or Subiaco. Developing links with the local community can also be based on gatherings around the TV particularly on Anzac Day and for the AFL Grand Final when many are introduced to the AFL for the first time.
This is however all under threat with the current 10 year deal set to expire at the end of August and the winner of the next 10 year tender, is yet to be announced by the Departmentof Foreign Affairs & Trade. According to AusNet's CEO, Bruce Dover, "DFAT has indicated in the associated tender documents that in any case in thefuture, sports programming on the channel should be limited, as 'much of the Sports [football] historically shown appeal more to the expatriate community rather than the target audience.' Consequently, sports programming - be it NRL, rugby or AFL - will be significantly restricted on the channel after August 2011."
A campaign of objection against this attitude is being conducted across the region but every voice will assist in making the feelings of all to be affected by this clearly known. Email objections should be directed to:
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard at; http://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm2.
The Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, at; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Australian Embassy Jakarta at; email@example.com
For more thoughts on this you can read the heartfelt article "Trouble at the Cave" by Eric Ellis on the website of our friends at The Footy Almanac.
World Footy News