First television channel in Esperanto launches online

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Sunday, November 6, 2005 A new online television channel, Internacia Televido, has been launched following just over two years of fundraising and preparation. It is the first channel ever to be broadcast entirely through the international auxiliary language Esperanto, and was launched at midnight Brazilian time on Saturday night. The name means ‘International Television’. The channel aims to create an international television network combining professional content with the collaboration of ordinary users from around the world. Programmes will range from news shows and documentaries to culture, educational programming and children’s entertainment.

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The project, supported by the World Esperanto Association amongst others, was announced in October 2003 in São Paulo by Brazilian entrepreneur Flavio Rebelo, whose media business CIDCON also runs the Esperanto language web portal Ĝangalo (www.ghangalo.com, ‘Jungle’) and publishes music. The original intention was to establish a 24-hour streamed online channel, with four hours of original programming per day (repeated six times daily) and a daily news bulletin. A subsequent international fundraising campaign to raise the required sum of €35,000 to establish the channel involved Rebelo speaking at several Esperanto events throughout Europe during the early months of 2004 through the support of an anonymous Asian donor.

The project failed to garner sufficient funds to meet its original deadline, but in August this year Rebelo confirmed that a scaled-down version of the project would go ahead upon the sum of €23,000 being reached. The channel currently features 90 minutes of programming daily, with one weekly news bulletin, and three waged employees instead of the intended ten. It is intended that the channel will be funded past its initial six-month period through on-air advertising revenue and further private donations, and expanded as revenue permits.

Experimental television broadcasts in Esperanto were not first made until the advent of Internet technology. A previous online Esperanto TV project (www.esperanto.tv), under the auspices of the Italian Transnational Radical Party, failed to realise a finished product. Since the 1920s, radio broadcasts have been made regularly in Esperanto by broadcasters such as RAI, China Radio International and Radio Polonia.

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