No debate about VBTC’s China TV plan, meanwhile Radio Vanuatu coverage disappears during cyclone season

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This news service yesterday brought up the issue of negligible public awareness of Radio Vanuatu (VBTC) planned developments with a Chinese company concerning extending television to all islands. Such an extra dimension to media services of the state within Vanuatu should only be carried out with the approval of the population as a whole. Yet there has been no public debate on television availability at all hours – no forum of any kind.

And meanwhile the public complaint concerning Radio Vanuatu reception continued during Cyclone Pam and last week with the passage of Cyclone Winston when warnings could only be heard on South Pentecost through FM107 or seen on tiny mobile telephone screens. People should not have to climb hills and trees to have reception of such warnings when they have been available on the household radio for over 40 years, managed by ni-Vanuatu transmission engineers, sometimes supported by foreign aid, but without the need to bring Chinese companies into the formula. Your writer learned of the Pentecost island cyclone Winston warning problem only last night. Radio reception of the national service remains a difficulty on West Coast Santo and in the Banks and Torres where they hear their warnings from the Solomons.

The problems in VBTC are further highlighted by a post of long serving broadcaster Antoine Malsungai on Facebook yesterday. The VBTC claims to be taking action against certain staff for various offences and yet the staff union is bringing a case against VBTC Board and management – a case which still has to be heard. Malsungai also raised the matter of the Chinese company involvement in the Corporation. The whole matter surely needs the interest of the newly formed government.


4 Comments on “No debate about VBTC’s China TV plan, meanwhile Radio Vanuatu coverage disappears during cyclone season”

  1. John Henry Wotlemaro says:

    Was it China gave Vanuatu independence? We could have China to help us in an international trade, to have Chinese television means you will have all the Chinese programs and channels, and in other wards, China will be looking for air space etc. This is an act of colonizing smaller nation of Vanuatu.
    I would be partner with China, but not to let him be over my head. Television will be a bad influence to our young generation.

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  2. Charles Kick says:

    I suspect, given that China has been working on making more and more openings for its dictatorship’s businesses for quite some time, that the VBTC’s “run-down” over the past decade is a result of those efforts. And the non-democratic/non-participatory response that you report is a predictable follow-on.
    Which is a ‘shame on China’ kind of moment–China operates as a colonial power might have done 5O and more years ago. It does not behave as if it is the 21st Century …

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  3. Sue Farran says:

    Another step in the Chinese colonisation of the Pacific? The country is already awash with stores selling identical Chinese products many of which present environmental hazards now it appears that the potential for developing an indigenous or even regional television industry is to be swamped by Chinese programmes without any discussion about whether these are culturally appropriate, the effect they may have on young minds or anything else. Presumably the overtures to invite this invasion were made under the last government?

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    • Kalowie Robert says:

      I gather there is a strong anti-chinese sentiments by many people, particularly those who are pro-western. Businesses selling imported top quality commodities to Vanuatu’s majority population (low socio-economic) status are less or never sustainable, because the prices are beyond the majority’s pockets. Invasions by cultures and commodities alien to Vanuatu happened a long time ago and were elevated by the introduction of internet. So what’s the big deal about Chinese television invitation to invade?

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