A study into the feasibility of starting a national public television service is being carried out for the Solomon Islands Broadcasting
Corporation (SIBC) which could result in another step forward in the development of the media industry in Solomon Islands.
Television consultant, Glen Hughes of Pasifika Communications Limited, was hired by the Australian media assistance project PACMAS to consult with national, community and commercial leaders and private production groups.
Yesterday he met with Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare.
Mr Hughes told Prime Minister he had met with Directors and Executives of Solomon Telekom Ltd, Telekom TV, the National provident Fund and other prospective stakeholders in Honiara and heard of their interest to contribute to establishing the service.
Mr. Hughes was involved in establishing television in Darwin Australia and in Fiji in the 1980s and is from the commercial sector.
He owns a production company in Fiji with a branch in Port Moresby.
Mr. Hughes will submit his feasibility assessment to the SIBC Board which will in turn forward it to the Prime Minister for appropriate action and this is expected to be in three weeks time.
He says while he will consider other options, it would be practical and economical for SIBC, which already has in place the necessary broadcasting infrastructure to provide content for the proposed television service, while Telekom provides the infrastructure to distribute the service nationally.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sogavare expressed keen interest in the project and asked when it might be possible to see the project come to life.
SIBC Chief Executive Mr. Wickham said once the SIBC Board and the Minister for Broadcasting – who is also Prime Minister – grant approvals and a financing package, it may be possible to have the television service up and running by July 2016.
CEO Wickham says SIBC would need to bring expertise into the country to build capacity in management, production of advertisements and programs, as well as presentation and other skill sets needed for television.
When it is fully established the industry should provide jobs for many young people who will operate independently to make programs or simply be talent for the various productions that will be seen.