Sharing Discussing Understanding

Commonwealth Journalists' Association

Together with its long standing partners, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA),UNESCO has produced A Road Map to Public Service Broadcasting.

The book is authored by Elizabeth Smith, former Secretary-General of CBA and now running the consultancy Transforming Broadcasting.

UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Janis Karklins, says in his foreword to the publication:

“UNESCO has been committed to promoting editorially independent Public Service Broadcasting as a cornerstone of democracy and inclusive knowledge society. PSB faces few challenges to its role and its resourcing, even in countries where it exists. In some countries it has degenerated into state broadcasting with limited editorial independence and pluralism of expressed views.

“In other countries, PSB has never been introduced. It is, therefore, important to describe existing strategies and regulations on PSB, and whenever the political opportunity arises suggest the introduction of PSB in a country.”

Public Service Broadcasting has been under attack from commercial rivals and from non-broadcast media for many years. Some people, including in Asia and Africa, believe that it is now an outdated concept that belongs to yesterday. In Europe and in some other areas, public service broadcasting is doing well and is leading the digital revolution.

This book makes no effort to cover every country. It focuses on those who have either achieved PSB or are trying to do so. It is aimed at those who are thinking about going down this path, but do not know exactly how to do it.

The publication also tries to open minds to the new opportunities offered to broadcasters by the digital switch-over to lead the way into interactive Public Service Media. There is a window of opportunity to move broadcasting into completely new realms, linking it with the interactivity of the Internet, mobile phones and TV, electronic books and databases.

PSB can also make a major contribution to democratic development. Fair news coverage, in which both good and bad things are reported about the governing and opposition parties, helps the electorate to reach an informed view of the quality of the candidates, and to keep governments accountable. So moving towards Public Service Broadcasting is not just “nice to have”. It is a major supporting pillar of a functioning democracy.

The publication is available for download: please click here.