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IBC Shows on APTN Fall 2006

September 21, 2006: - Viewers will notice less IBC programming on APTN this fall. IBC’s popular live phone in show, Qanuq Isumavit, will not be seen when APTN begins it’s fall schedule during the first week of October. Qanuq Isumavit has featured lively discussions on topics such as the sealing issue, affordable housing and health matters.

On August 31st, IBC received notice of APTN’s intention to relocate its master control facility from IBC to a new location in Iqaluit. Since the inception of Television Northern Canada and subsequent transformation to Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, IBC has housed and operated the facility. A direct link to master control has afforded IBC the ability to broadcast Qanuq Isumavit live from its studio.

APTN has informed IBC that the new facility will be operational in November some time and in about a month’s time will confirm whether Qanuq Isumavit will in fact be on the winter schedule starting in January 2007. IBC staff had been working on the show all summer, researching topics and lining up guests.

“It is very unfortunate that APTN could not have scheduled their move during the summer season and that they could not have informed us sooner” said Pitseolak Kilabuk, IBC’s Director of Network Operations. “Further, I am not sure why there is such a long period of downtime. I am aware that other networks are able to move their facilities and be down for a period of hours or days, not months. Most of all, though, I am disappointed that our loyal audience will be missing Qanuq Isumavit. This show has attracted viewers/callers consistently from not just Nunavut, but also Nunavik and Nunatsiaviut (Labrador). I sincerely hope that we will be able to resume production of this show for the winter season. According to the Department of Canadian Heritage website, APTN is provided $2.1 million from the Northern Distribution Program to lease, operate and maintain the satellite channel by which Aboriginal television productions are broadcast in 96 northern and remote communities.”

There are changes as well in the scheduling of other IBC programs. On APTN North, the schedule is as follows:

Kippinguijautiit: Mondays at 10:00 a.m. EST and 3:00 p.m. EST
Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. EST
Niqitsiat: Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. EST and 3:00 pm EST
Fridays at 7:30 p.m. EST
Takuginai: New series, Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m. EST
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. EST
Previous series, Thursday at 8:30 a.m. EST
Qaujisaut: Thursday at 10:30 a.m. EST, Friday at 3:30 p.m. EST
Saturday at 10:30 a.m. EST and 8:00 p.m. EST

On the southern/national feed, IBC programs that are in prime time are replaced with French or English language programming. Over the last couple of years, APTN has steadily moved away from scheduling Aboriginal language programs in prime time.

Okalik Eegeesiak, President of IBC said, “There has been a steady decline in Inuktitut programming on APTN, including the loss of the coverage of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly proceeding. It has been made clear to us that as programming in southern aboriginal languages becomes more available, APTN will not require the same volume of northern aboriginal language shows in order to meet their condition of licence as prescribed by the CRTC.

It is unfortunate, that since 1999, the programming produced by the founding members of APTN, has decreased and faded into the background of Hollywood movies. There may be several contributing factors; federal funding has remained unchanged, a long awaited equipment upgrade fund has not materialized, additional broadcaster requirements such as versioning of programs and changing criteria resulting in diminishing access to other production funding sources such as Telefilm/Canadian Television Fund. Only one Nunavut/Inuktitut production was funded in the 2006 intake of the Aboriginal Language Envelope. Historically, between two and four productions received funding.”

Ajjiit, the Nunavut Film, Television and New Media Association also expressed concern regarding the apparent decline in the number of Nunavut productions being funded and broadcast. Charlotte DeWolff, Ajjiit’s Executive Director said, “In addition to IBC, which has been the foundation of Nunavut television production, we have a vibrant and growing industry in Nunavut. In a few short years we have seen an increase at least tenfold, in the number of Nunavummiut involved in the television field. In the interest of all of our members, we will be working with all concerned parties to ensure that Nunavut stories continue to appear on the screen.”

Ms. Eegeesiak continued, “As President of IBC, I am extremely concerned. IBC is committed to its mandate, to provide television programming in Inuktitut. Promoting the use of Inuktitut on television, in the home, is an essential part of preserving our language and culture. IBC shows serve to reinforce the efforts of other institutions such as the education system, government, etc. We are moving forward on many fronts to expand our role, for example, in partnership with the National Film Board, we will train Inuit to produce animation as another format to present our stories. I have initiated discussions with all those concerned in order to overcome the obstacles that we face. Inuit have played a major role in the development of aboriginal communications since the early 1980’s and I believe it is important to ensure that our stories, in our voices, will continue to be available. It is important that as our capacity grows that our programming does not diminish. I will continue to work with APTN and their Inuit membership in the coming months and years and find ways to ensure that Inuktitut and cultural and community programming develops and prospers.”


For more info:
Debbie Brisebois:
IBC Ottawa: (613) 235-1892, ext 232 or debbie@inuitbroadcasting.ca

Okalik Eegeesiak:
(613) 321-1650 or okalik@inuitbroadcasting.ca


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