Brisbane’s 31 Digital is fighting for the right to remain on air, following a decision to strip community channels of their licences at the end of 2015.

Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the channels can be seen on the web instead.

Bella Treston reports.


They may be small but they’re far from out, 31 Digital launching an on air campaign for viewers to speak out.

31 Digital advertisement: “The federal government has not yet committed to extending the broadcast licence required to keep our community TV stations on the air.”

The decision has sparked outrage among viewers and contributors claiming the community will lose out.

Malcolm Turnbull went on talk back radio this morning to face the music.

Evelyn, Radio caller: “There’s thousands of elderly people that do not have computers so you’re discriminating against us. We will not be able to get Briz31.”

Malcolm Turnbull, Communications Minister: “It’s always been understood that they weren’t going to be there forever by the way, no-one’s ever suggested this was going to be permanent.”

Scott Black, head of Brisbane’s community channel 31 Digital, says that’s not the case.

He says the station was in fact allocated a permanent licence.

But the Communications Minister believes audience numbers aren’t large enough to constitute a permanent TV licence.

Malcolm Turnbull, Communications Minister: “Aggregating them all around Australian prime time average of about six thousand, so it’s very, very small.”

Scott Black says those figures are grossly misinformed.

Scott Black, 31 Digital GM: “The actual figures are more around the lines of the six to 12,000 on average for our prime time.”

This is the fully equipped studio where students produce a nightly news bulletin which airs on the community TV channel.

The future of that valuable leaning tool is now in doubt.

The campaign to stay on air has already received more than 10,000 signatures.

Bella Treston, QUT News.