While Channel Seven's capital city viewers watch another rerun of Border Security on Tuesday night, regional broadcaster Prime7 will interrupt its regular Seven programming to screen a different show about protecting a fragile Australian ecosystem.
The half-hour program, The Local Angle: Saving Your Voices, screens on Prime7 from 7pm on December 22.
Presented by Ray Martin, the special looks at the important work of local newspapers, TV and radio across regional Australia and the threats posed to local news by unregulated digital media giants and government inaction.
"This is a program about the increasing loss of community voices in regional Australia, which has left many regional towns and cities without a local TV news service, breakfast radio program or a newspaper," Martin said.
"Without local media to represent them, they will never be heard in Canberra or Macquarie Street or Spring Street."
The Local Angle is part of the Save Our Voices campaign, which was launched in October to lobby for reform of ownership laws that regional media companies say are hopelessly outdated in the Netflix era and jeopardising the future of local news for 9 million Australians.
Prime7 joined free-to-air TV rivals WIN Network and Southern Cross Austereo, as well as ACM (the publisher of this masthead), under the Save Our Voices banner to call on the federal government and regional MPs to urgently overhaul broadcasting regulations that prevent traditional media outlets in regional Australia from competing fairly with the metropolitan media and global digital giants like Disney+ and YouTube using the NBN to reach regional audiences.
Martin, the veteran journalist and star of 60 Minutes and A Current Affair, has fronted the TV, radio and print advertising blitz for Save Our Voices.
Now, the five-time Gold Logie winner digs deeper into the issue for The Local Angle, travelling around regional Australia to interview local government leaders, business owners, charities and community organisations, who speak about the vital role that local news plays in keeping their towns and regions informed and connected.
Local journalists and editors working in regional areas, as well as the bosses of the media companies behind the Save Our Voices campaign are also featured.
"We must save these trusted local media voices that connect communities and inform them of local events and issues," Martin said.
"If we fail, our communities, our society and our democracy, will be the poorer for it."
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