Few will deny that public service broadcastingbroadcasting that is controlled neither by the state nor by private media corporationsis an essential ingredient in modern democracy. But, as a number of initiatives in transition economies have shown, the inception and development of a strong public broadcasting system is a Herculean task that is easily sidetracked by politics or ideology, or stalled by lack of funding. Especially when state budgets are stretched, the expense is hard to justify.
This collection of documents, comments, and cases brings all the major issues in public service broadcasting policy into focus and sets the problems to be addressed in sharp relief. It draws on white papers from NGOs and broadcasters, legislation from a wide range of countries (and a model law), accounts of public broadcasting efforts in transition states, analyses of evolving policy in established systems, government regulatory guidelines, and a great deal more. Among the matters touched upon are the following: the principles of public service broadcasting and their cultural and economic justification; limiting state interference; the place of public broadcasting in a multi-channel, market-driven world; the appropriate mix of public and private revenues; objectivity and impartiality in broadcasting; how institutional structures can shape programming strategies; the use of competition law to adjust relations between public and private broadcasting; EU accession standards for public service broadcasting; and the impact of digital broadcasting.
Broadcast professionals, students and teachers in communications and related fields, government officials interested in strengthening public service broadcasting and keeping pace with rapid developmentsall will benefit enormously from this thoughtful and informative book. It will allow them to think well beyond the standard formulae about the function of public service broadcasting and its role in society.