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Video clip synopsis – Imparja Television allows Indigenous communities to tell their stories and to communicate both with each other as well as the wider Australian community.
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 0min 40sec
Tags - audiences, broadcasting, identity, Indigenous Australia, indigenous cultures, media and society, media ownership, see all tags


Imparja: Indigenous Broadcasting

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About the Video Clip


The interview with Mac Gudgeon was recorded for the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

Mac Gudgeon is a screenwriter and a community television advocate. You can view his full biography at From Wireless to Web

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Curriculum Focus


Students have the opportunity to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ pursuit of citizenship rights.

Students discuss changes in Australian citizenship and examine why people become Australian citizens.

Students evaluate Australia’s effectiveness in balancing majority rule and respect for minorities in civic decision making.

Students evaluate ways in which individuals, groups and governments use the media and ICT to shape opinion and manage controversy.

Background Information


'Imparja is the anglicised spelling and pronunciation of the word Impatye, meaning tracks or footprints in the Arrernte language. Arrernte (pronounced AH-RUNTA) is the traditional tribe and language of the Alice Springs region.’ (Imparja Television)

In 1986, the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) formed Imparja as a company to bid for the proposed commercial television licence for Australia’s Central Zone. Imparja’s bid was supported by State governments in both the Northern Territory and South Australia.

Imparja’s first transmission – coverage of the Australia vs Sri Lanka cricket Test – was broadcast to Alice Springs on 2 January 1988. Broadcasting live via retransmission sites at Ceduna, Coober Pedy, Leigh Creek and Woomera in South Australia, and Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine and Bathurst Island in the Northern Territory, Imparja reached a total audience of 62,000 people.

Imparja has expanded at a steady rate since 1988. In 1990, the station launched Imparja Local News – a 15-minute insert of local news into the national network bulletin. Imparja also covered the Northern Territory elections live from its Alice Springs studio. By 1993 Imparja’s viewing audience had grown to 125,000 people.

In 1994 Imparja produced and launched Yamba’s Playtime, a daily half-hour program for children. 'As well as Indigenous and locally-produced programs, Imparja today buys programming from the Nine and Ten networks, with the most highest rating programs broadcast to an audience of over 430,000 people.’ (Imparja Television)

Classroom Activities


1. Using the video clip, the internet and other sources, students investigate the creation of the Imparja indigenous television station in Alice Springs in the late 1980s. What was Imparja’s first transmission coverage? What does this suggest about the mission and role of the broadcast station? To what extent could it be argued that the creation of the broadcast station assisted in shaping the way indigenous people see themselves?

2. Explore with students why it might be important in a democratic society for minority groups to be given the encouragement and opportunity to communicate with their communities in local languages and with local cultural practices. What might be the reasons behind the argument that says minority groups should assimilate within larger majority groups? What are the current policies and practices in Australia?

3. Using the video clip, the further resources below and other sources, what evidence is there that both the population coverage and range of broadcasts has rapidly increased since the first broadcasts in the late 1980s? What does this suggest about the importance of Indigenous Australians owning their own television station?

4. In small groups, encourage students to consider, on balance, the advantages and disadvantages of minority groups owning their own television station. Who owns the majority of television stations in Australia? Would it be more effective for these larger media owners to also own Imparja? What is the potential danger in a democracy of media ownership being in the hands in a small number of operators?

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.

Go to Imparja Television