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Howard pledges new ABC channel to appease worried parents of TV

 

By Peter Jean and John Ferguson

Herald Sun

November 10, 2007

 

A DEDICATED children's TV channel would be set up under a re-elected Howard Government.

Prime Minister John Howard will today announce a plan to establish the new ABC channel to appease worried parents.

Mr. Howard will give the ABC $82 million over four years for the new digital channel, which would operate 15 hours a day.

The commercially-free channel is aimed at parents concerned about the effect of junk food advertising on children.

The new channel would deliver age-appropriate material for preschool and school-age children and teenagers aged up to 17.

Half the funding would be used to commission new entertainment and educational content and the other half would be spent on buying existing programs.

Half the material would be Australian-made.

The ABC already has an extra digital channel, ABC2, which broadcasts several hours of children's programming every day as well as other programs.

Digital televisions, or set-top boxes, are required to receive digital stations.

The ABC is renowned for its quality Australian children's shows, including Play School and Bananas in Pyjamas and holds the rights to Sesame Street.

Its two digital channels aimed at children, ABC Kids and Fly, failed in 2003 because of funding problems.

It has been lobbying ever since for funding for a new children's channel.

The decision to target children's TV programs comes amid widespread concern about the quality of broadcasting in Australia.

Mr Howard has consistently argued that children should be protected from violent images.

In 1996, he vowed to install so-called V-chips, which were designed to limit violent content on Australian schemes. That strategy did not work.

However, the Government has backed a new plan to encourage parents to install computer software to limit access to pornography on the internet.


 

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