Gov may pay $11 mil for public/private service

SYDNEY — Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs is considering investing up to A$20 million ($11 million) to re-establish an Oz-based Asia-Pacific TV service in conjunction with the private sector.

The proposal is said to have attracted the interest of several parties, including Bloomberg and former Australian Broadcasting Corp. managing director David Hill, who founded the ABC’s Asian satcaster Australia TV.

Three years ago, conservative federal government cutbacks forced ABC to sell Australia TV to Kerry Stokes’ Seven Network, which now says it is “considering the ongoing viability” of the service.

The conservatives now admit they may have been wrong to force ABC to scale back its international broadcasting operations given the mounting political unrest in the Asia-Pacific region.

Recognizing that the ABC’s Australia TV and Radio Australia were once important voices for Oz’s interests in the region, the conservatives pledged extra funds to restore Radio Australia’s regional transmission capabilities and said they would investigate establishing an Asian TV service.

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