The first Head of Service of BBC Scotland’s new Gaelic Digital Service joins an international line-up of featured guest speakers at the inaugural World Indigenous Television Service – WITBC ’08 – to be hosted by Maori Television in Auckland, New Zealand, next month (March).
Margaret Mary Murray became the Head of Gaelic, BBC Scotland, in January 2005. She successfully expanded and re-launched the Radio nan Gaidheal schedule, introducing regular sports programming for the first time, and worked closely with other Heads of Department within BBC Scotland to deliver creative collaborations such as BBC Scotland’s contribution and coverage of Highland 2007, bilingual simulcasts with Radio Scotland and the BBC SSO, election and events coverage.
The past two years have been dominated by negotiations around the delivery of the new Gaelic Digital Service and Margaret Mary led this work on behalf of BBC Scotland, working with partners, The Gaelic Media Service, to design a new digital service for Scotland. In January 2008, the BBC Trust gave their approval for the launch of this service as a BBC licensed service and Margaret Mary was appointed as its first Head of Service.
Media accreditation has now opened for WITBC ‘08 which will be the first ever gathering of indigenous television leaders from throughout the world. Industry experts in the fields of broadcasting, media and indigenous languages are among the featured guest speakers and include John Walter Jones (S4C, Wales); Jean LaRose (APTN, Canada); Pól Ó Gallchóir (TG4, Ireland); Patricia Turner (NITV, Australia); Shaun Brown (SBS, Australia); and Sylvia Feng (PTS, Taiwan). A World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network will also be launched as part of the three-day event from March 26-28.
Maori Television chief executive Jim Mather says the inclusion of Margaret Mary on the programme of WITBC ’08 is a major coup given her exceptional media career. She joined BBC Scotland’s Gaelic department in 1988 and has worked as a television researcher, presenter, producer and director of award-winning and groundbreaking programmes.
“The BBC serves global audiences as the most trusted provider of news and information,” Mr Mather says. “In an ever developing technological world this information stems from and is available to indigenous societies. Margaret Mary will address the BBC’s commitment to the revitalisation of indigenous cultures and languages. How does the BBC ensure that the viewpoints and voices of indigenous societies are reflected in the information it broadcasts?”
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.