David Hua and Sandya Veduri.
SBS Audio has launched two of five digital language services slated for 2023 – SBS Telugu and SBS Bislama – to help the public broadcaster better serve the evolving multicultural make-up of contemporary Australia, including unprecedented rates of migration from South Asia.
Telugu is used in India and Bislama is used in Vanuatu; new services in Malay, Oromo and Tetum will go live in September.
With India being the second-highest migrant community in Australia and Nepal being the fastest-growing, SBS is also increasing investment in its Punjabi and Nepali programs with plans to launch an English-language podcast and social media offering for younger audiences across the broader South Asian community in 2024.
Director of SBS Audio and language content, David Hua, said SBS Audio is continuously evolving to meet the needs of contemporary Australia.
“We have a proud history of responding to key waves of migration across large, small and high needs language groups to help build connection and belonging in more than 60 diverse languages,” he said.
“We are excited to welcome new services for Telugu, which is amongst the top 30 languages spoken in Australia, and Bislama – an emerging community. Both communities represent just some of the 5.6 million Australians who speak a language other than English, ranging from those who require great support to navigate everyday life in Australia to those who are well established.”
SBS determines which languages to serve through its five-yearly Language Services Review, a process that considers a community’s size, recentness of arrival in Australia, English proficiency and/or high needs including those seeking asylum. Based on these same factors, SBS provides audiences with multiplatform content tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.
SBS Telugu executive producer, Sandya Veduri, is herself a new migrant, having moved to Australia from India five years ago and said that SBS Telugu looks forward to being a trusted voice for the Australian-Telugu diaspora and helping build the vital connections and understanding needed for social cohesion.
“Already we’ve published podcasts and articles on topics that range from practical everyday information for living well in Australia to heart-warming human interest stories about our local community,” she said.
“Most recently we ran an in-depth podcast series on how to navigate the Australian taxation system, and one of my favourite stories so far is about a young Telugu boy in Sydney smashing world records for his magnificent memory of the periodic table, capital cities of the world, and 560 digits of the mathematical Pi.”
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