The leader of Welsh-language channel S4C will be a featured guest speaker at the inaugural World Indigenous Television Broadcasting Conference to be hosted by Maori Television in Auckland early next year.
John Walter Jones OBE is chairman of the Welsh Fourth Channel Authority which was established to provide a wide-ranging, varied and high-quality programme service with a substantial proportion of programmes in Welsh. Recognised for his services to the Welsh language, Mr Jones will speak from his own experiences about the development and future of indigenous broadcasting.
The conference – WITBC ‘08 – will be the first ever gathering of indigenous television leaders from throughout the world and will feature internationally renowned speakers who are industry experts in the fields of broadcasting, media and indigenous languages. A World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network will also be launched as part of the event which will be held in March 2008.
Maori Television chief executive Jim Mather says the limited number of Welsh programmes produced before S4C’s establishment were scattered throughout BBC1 and ITV schedules. Since 1982, all Welsh language television programmes, from whatever source, have been transmitted on S4C to create one comprehensive Welsh medium service.
“Over the years, S4C channel has developed a distinctive role in the provision of public service broadcasting to a bilingual community,” Mr Mather says. “More recently, new technology – such as the advent of digital television in 1998 – has enabled S4C to extend that role by establishing a diversity of services.
“As chairman of the Welsh Fourth Channel Authority, Mr Jones will provide the conference with a superb insight into the S4C model and how it is addressing the challenges of a fast-changing digital environment.”
Leaders, producers and planners involved in indigenous and public television can register their interest to attend the World Indigenous Television Broadcasting Conference at www.witbc.org.