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Current as of 30/09/16 07:39PM NZST
Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Concern over cancellation of Asian news services on Sky

The new line-up will not include Chinese current affairs, Japanese or Korean television, which will broadcast for the last time on February 29. Photo / Dean Purcell
The new line-up will not include Chinese current affairs, Japanese or Korean television, which will broadcast for the last time on February 29. Photo / Dean Purcell

Chinese news and programmes in Japanese and Korean languages will not be broadcast on Sky TV from March.

Sky will tomorrow announce the start in February of five new Chinese, Indian and Filipino entertainment channels.

The new line-up will not include Chinese current affairs, Japanese or Korean television, which will broadcast for the last time on February 29.

World Television (WTV), which has operated 10 Asian channels on the network's bandwidth for the past 15 years, is terminating its lease and taking its business to an internet streaming platform.

Massey University associate professor in marketing and Chinese affairs specialist Henry Chung said WTV was an important source of news for non-English speaking migrant communities in New Zealand.

"A lot of Chinese residents rely on this media for obtaining both domestic and international news and information," Dr Chung said.

"WTV is very important to most Chinese and perhaps Korean-speaking residents ... it is classified as the most important media among Chinese here."

Although an increasing number were using the internet, many older migrants still consumed news in their native language on television.

Dr Chung said the Government needed to step in and provide funding to maintain WTV, similar to Maori TV.

WTV chief executive Henry Ho said the new internet streaming format would not carry a Korean channel because the company would not be able to compete in the Korean market.

"In the last few years, we are facing unfair competition from illegal downloads and illegal boxes," said Mr Ho.

Tony Keam, a former WTV director, said the closure of Korean language programming on TV would leave "a hole" in meeting the community's needs.

Mr Keam said WTV had an agreement with Sky TV not to disclose subscriber numbers, and to keep the information confidential.

Sky's five new Asian channels will include Star Chinese, Star Chinese Movies in Mandarin and Hindi channels Colours and Star Gold.

- NZ Herald

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