Public Service Broadcasting - Essay Example

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PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING by [Author’s Name] 14 March 2012 Public Service Broadcasting Introduction Public service broadcasting remains one of the most popular and, simultaneously, controversial elements in public service and media discussions. The body of literature discussing the effects and implications of digital television for public service broadcasting constantly increases…
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Download file to see previous pages Public service broadcasting is, probably, the only truly public service left which is truly accessible and comprehensible by viewers, but it is clear that even the most effective PSB structure is not secured from the influences of the postmodern age. Given the bright promise of digital television and the profound alterations it brings to the culture and ecology of mass media, public service broadcasting should undergo a series of changes, to make sure it fits in and meets the needs of new audiences. Public service broadcasting: Defining the term Understanding the pros and cons of public service broadcasting in Britain is impossible without trying to delineate what stands behind the very term “public service broadcasting” (further PSB). The controversy and vagueness surrounding the PSB term cannot be easily dismissed. That there is no single definition of public and public service broadcasting has been abundantly established (Syvertsen 1999). During the past 60 years in the study of PSB no single definition of public service and its nature was developed and crystallized (Syvertsen 1999). Some definitions had considerable variations, whereas many others are obviously contradictory (Syvertsen 1999). For a long time, the term “public service broadcasting” was associated with BBC; but today, none of the existing definitions satisfies the changing demands of the media reality. The fact is in that the term “public service” is no longer limited to the community and those who are interested in this type of services. The terms “public service” and “public service broadcasting” have several distinct definitions, and all these definitions may help to explain the changing nature of PSB in the digital world. First, public service broadcasting can be treated as a unique and important type of public utility, namely, one of the many types of services provided by governments (Syvertsen 1999). In this sense, public service broadcasting is similar to postal services, railroads and roads, and other public utilities used by citizens on a daily basis and for no fee. Treating public service broadcasting as a public service utility is the same as underlining its socioeconomic and technical ingredients: from the viewpoint of public utility, PSB must meet the basic criteria of efficiency and quality, which include the quality of signal, the breadth and sophistication of the distribution network, operations efficiency, etc. (Syvertsen 1999). This definition of public service broadcasting emphasizes the “utility” aspect of the service provision. Second, public service broadcasting can be viewed as something provided in the public sphere (Syvertsen 1999). This definition shifts the emphasis away from “utility” towards the “public” character of broadcasting. Here, the meaning and boundaries of the “public sphere” should also be delineated. Syvertsen (1999) writes that “the public sphere represents institutions in which members of the public take part as citizens and collectively make decisions for the common good” (p.7). The public character of PSB implies that everyone, irrespective of their status or position, have the right and can access the services provided by public broadcasters. Here, PSB is also depicted as an invisible eye monitoring the progress of society and providing citizens ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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