By Caroline Gluck
The first aboriginal television channel in Taiwan, which also claims to be the first indigenous television station in Asia, was officially launched today.
Aboriginal groups say the channel will let their voices be heard
The 24-hour channel, ITV, or the Indigenous Television Network, will broadcast a mix of news and features. The channel aims to focus on aboriginal communities.
Aboriginal groups, who account for less than 2% of Taiwan's population, have long complained the mainstream media either neglects or misrepresents them.
They see the new channel as a historic chance for their own voices to be heard, not just in Taiwan but around the world through collaboration with other indigenous television programmes.
The 12 aboriginal tribes in Taiwan, who trace their roots back 6,000 years, have their own traditions and languages, although the new station will mainly broadcast in Mandarin Chinese.
Because many aboriginal groups live in remote mountainous regions, the cabinet-level Council of Indigenous Peoples has installed thousands of homes with satellite television transmitters so that communities can access the station.
The aboriginal channel is not the first in Taiwan with ethnic content.
Two years ago the government launched a station dedicated to the island's larger Hakka community, who migrated to Taiwan from mainland China several centuries ago. The initiatives are part of efforts by the government to promote multi-culturalism in Taiwan.