Communities in Northern Territory expressed their outrage over Channel 9’s radical decision to chop the locally produced 6PM TV News, and centralize the operation from Queensland.
Weekend news from Darwin will be replaced with the 6PM newscast from Brisbane.
At the time when media diversity is the focus of this nation, Channel 9’s decision to axe Northern Territory’s local news can’t come at the worst time.
It’s understood that approximately 12 staffers from the station will lose their jobs, with reports saying that popular local news anchor Jonathan Upton’s career is up in the air.
The station will shutdown its studios in Darwin, but Station Manager Andrew Bruyn stressed the newsroom will still be fully staffed with 4 reporters, 3 cameraman and 1 chief of staff.
After the story went viral, there was out pour of sadness from viewers on NT News’ Facebook Page, with viewers urging Channel 9 to reverse its decision.
Northern Territory’s Chief Minister Michael Gunner says the move marks a say day for the state, and hopes the station will reconsider the decision.
Neither Channel Seven Or Ten produce television news for Darwin, making Channel 9 the only commercial network with a locally produced half-hour nightly news service.
ABC TV will be left alone as the only locally produced nightly news from Darwin at 7PM.
The decision will take effect on the 8th, September, 2017.
Cuts To Local News A Significant Loss For The Community.
Channel 9’s decision to cut local news ignited debate as to whether commercial broadcasters should be forced to produce a nightly news service as a licence condition.
Media expert says the demise of any news/media service is a significant loss for a community, as there is no substitution of reporting local issues.
MEAA WA President Martin Turner says viewers in NT has the right be angry. He also urged commercial broadcasters to rethink whether survival should overtakes its media purpose.
“NT and Darwin viewers have a right to be angry at the loss of a service. That might reflect a wider anger or bewilderment at the demise of local news and increased centralisation around the country,” Mr Turner said.
“The MEAA is in the process of finalising our submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Future of Public Interest Journalism, where we are grappling with these very issues.”
Mr Turner also says any measures from the government that encourages media diversity is worth supporting.
However, he admits that advertising revenue is central to any commercial television broadcaster and with restricted discretionary spending, advertising revenue will decline.