Sun, Aug 03, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Aboriginal TV still just a proposal

PRESERVING CULTURE Aborigines are concerned that the Cabinet council representing them isn't doing enough to set up a television channel for them


Aboriginal children from the Siraya tribe in Tainan perform their traditional dance yesterday at Peitou Chinshui Park, starting a series of celebrations in the Taipei Indigenous Peoples Cultural Festival.


While a new Hakka television station has gone on air, Aborigines are still struggling to get their own TV channel, and some prominent Aboriginal figures are blaming the Council of Indigenous Peoples for not trying hard enough.

Yesterday, the Public Television Service (PTS) held a public seminar on the issue of an exclusively Aboriginal channel. Many important Aboriginal representatives attended the seminar, including Legislator Walis-Pelin (瓦歷斯貝林), the council's education and culture section chief Wang Chiou-i (汪邱一), Taipei City Indigenous Peoples Commission Director Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉) and chief editor of the renowned Aboriginal newspaper South Island Times Lin Ming-te (林明德).

Article 26 of the Aborigine Education Law (原住民族教育法), passed in 2000, requires the government to assign time slots on public channels or an entire channel devoted to the continuation of Aboriginal culture and education. The council has been working to create a channel for indigenous people since the law was passed.

In 2001, the PTS, at the request of the council, came up with a proposal to set up an exclusive channel for indigenous people, but the plan then stalled.

"However, the Hakka council made a proposal for their own channel after the Aboriginal council did, and they got their channel sooner than we did," Lin said.

PTS chief of indigenous news Djanav Zengror (丹耐夫正若) said that when Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) took over as chairwoman of the Council for Hakka Affairs, she was eager to push for a Hakka channel. She borrowed the plan for an Aboriginal channel from PTS and adjusted it for the Hakka channel, Djanav said. Six months later, Hakka TV was up and running, but the Aboriginal channel remained a proposal.

"The Hakka council's boss handled things smoothly, and she always treats others with great courtesy. This should be a good lesson for the indigenous peoples council," said Chung Yu-yuang (鍾裕淵), the former manger of PTS's news department who was involved in the preparatory stages of Hakka TV.

Kung agreed that Council of Indigenous People Chairman Chen Chien-nien (陳建年) could learn from the Council for Hakka Affairs.

"Chen could do with communicating more with the Legislative Yuan," Kung said.

Earlier this year, legislators blocked the allocation of NT$330 million toward setting up the channel because they said only 60 percent of the Aboriginal population could receive terrestrial channels. They wanted the council to solve the problem of low reception first and then work on the channel later.

Wang said that actually it was a misunderstanding on the part of the legislature because only about 20,000 families out of 140,000 had poor reception of terrestrial channels.

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