Neighbors, Master Chef and 60 minutes will be broadcast across the Pacific islands to try to counter Chinese influence
- Pacific Island countries are getting more free Australian television and sports
- Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji are getting more Aussie programs
- Part of PacificAus TV initiative and will span more countries in the coming months
A new initiative from Free TV Australia will deliver a range of Australian television content to Pacific Island countries to counteract Chinese influence in the region.
Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji will have access to shows such as Neighbors, Masterchef and Totally Wild as part of the PacificAus TV initiative.
Secretary of State, Senator Hon Marise Payne, said Monday’s announcement builds on the series of initiatives under the Australian Pacific Step-Up.
A range of Australian television content, including Masterchef (pictured), will be broadcast on television for free in a number of Pacific Island countries as part of a new audience-building initiative
“The ability to view the same stories on our screens will only deepen the bond with our Pacific family,” said Minister Payne.
“For many decades, many Pacific countries have had access to Australian television programs and sports competitions, and this initiative will expand those opportunities.”
Other shows already set to screen are The Voice, 60 Minutes and House Rules.
Reportedly, the new deal is a move by the Morrison government to counter an increase in Chinese influence and media in the region, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Minister Pyne said the final details were also ironed out for sporting broadcast deals that would broadcast cricket, NRL and AFL in the countries of the Pacific.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said it was an opportunity for local productions to attract a wider audience.
“Our closest neighbors across the Pacific can now enjoy more Australian television content,” he said.
Iconic and long-running Australian soap opera Neighbors (pictured) is also part of the Australian entertainment offering that airs for free in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea
After Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Fiji transitioned, the next phase of the PacificAus TV initiative will include Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru.
The initiative will provide 1,000 hours of Australian television content to those Pacific countries for three years for $ 17.1 million.
Free TV Australia was selected to partner with Australian commercial free-to-air television networks and Pacific partner broadcasters to provide free premium Australian content to Pacific broadcasters
Content availability is based on consultation between Free TV Australia and Pacific broadcasters.
The Pacific Step-Up’s foreign policy is designed to engage “a new level of engagement” with the Pacific Island countries.
“Australia has long been the largest development partner, security partner and friend of the Pacific in times of need,” said Minister Payne.
“This is a solid foundation, but our talks in the Pacific in recent years have made it clear that together we can and should do more to meet the challenges and opportunities of our new Blue Pacific Continent.”