Isumatv, Ibc And Nitv Partner And Begin Negotiations To Air 24/7 Inuktut Television Channel For All Nunavut Communities On Acl Digital Cable Immediately

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2020
In a joint letter sent September 10 to Arctic Coops Ltd., Igloolik’s Dr. Zacharias Kunuk O.C. O.N., IBC CEO Manitok Thompson and NITV Executive Director Lucy Tulugarjuk have offered to add IsumaTV Nunavut to ACL’s Basic TV package on digital cable in all 26 Nunavut communities “as soon as possible.”

“ACL’s Basic TV package of 28 channels in Nunavut broadcasts less than 1% in Inuktut,” Kunuk, Thompson and Tulugarjuk’s letter points out. “IsumaTV Nunavut immediately adds 168 hours a week of Inuktut television made by and for Inuit, increasing Basic TV Inuktut from 1% to 5%. Children’s programming includes IBC’s award-winning Takuginai series and shows by Kingulliit, Isuma, Arnait Video, Artcirq and Taqqut Productions; award-winning Inuktut movies like Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, Maliglutit (Searchers) and Tia & Piujuq; historic TV series like Nunavut (Our Land), Sivulita Angunasukpatangit (Hunting With My Ancestors) and IBC’s renowned Amitturmiut and Super Shamou.”

The three leaders of Nunavut’s oldest broadcasting organizations are challenging ACL and NTI to move faster to get 24/7 Inuktut back on the air right away, after ACL’s switch to Digital Cable in Nunavut and NTI’s recent decision to invest $2.4 million over three years to improve Inuit television. IsumaTV cable channels in Igloolik, Arviat and other Nunavut communities were disconnected when ACL upgraded to its new digital network. Now IBC, NITV and Isuma want ACL to migrate IsumaTV Nunavut onto the new Basic TV cable package in all communities, starting “anytime ACL agrees to show it.”

“IsumaTV Nunavut already is a 24/7 Inuktut television channel,” says Kunuk. “ACL Digital just cut it off local cable channels we’ve been broadcasting on for years. Let ACL put IsumaTV back on Digital Basic now so everyone in Nunavut can watch it.”

IBC’s CEO Manitok Thompson agrees. “Inuit have been waiting twenty years to see our own Inuktut television channel. Isn’t it time to stop talking about it and start doing it? IBC has more than fifteen hundred programs on IsumaTV,” Thompson says. “Since APTN cut us back in 2015, the only way Inuit children can watch Takuginai in Inuktut today is on IsumaTV.

IsumaTV Nunavut doesn’t need a CRTC license. New CRTC license regulations since 2015 exempt television services with fewer than 200,000 subscribers like GN’s Legislature Channel and IsumaTV Nunavut. “TV technology is changing fast,” IBC’s Thompson says. “IsumaTV’s channel is on the Amazon Cloud. It can be sent to ACL digital cable as soon as they want to show all the IBC, Isuma and other Inuktut content already uploaded to IsumaTV. ACL Basic TV shows nine American TV channels. Do Nunavummiut really need to see Detroit TV more than our own Inuktut channel?”

Lucy Tulugarjuk, NITV Chair and Executive Director, says Nunavut Independent Television Network already is an eligible broadcaster licensing Inuktut productions for Canada Media Fund financing. NITV live broadcasts of Silakut Live From the Floe Edge in summer 2019 and NIRB Hearings last November helped inform and consult Inuit on Baffinland Iron Mine’s proposed Phase 2 expansion. Since COVID-19 NITV has broadcast live interviews with Dr. Patterson, other leaders dealing with the crisis, and live concerts of Inuit performers on TV, radio and IsumaTV Facebook. “An Inuktut television channel is already there if they want it,” Tulugarjuk says. “If ACL and NTI really want Inuktut TV on the air now, all they have to do is say yes.”

Media contacts: Cecilia Greyson Isuma-NITV (T) 902.406.0025 (C) 902.401.0158; Karen Prentice, IBC, 226-222-8742 NITV 514.486.0707 IBC 613.235.1892 ISUMA 867.934.8725


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