AIBD Initiatives on Public Service Broadcasting

Since the early 90s, AIBD with support from FES and UNESCO and other international institutions conducted a series of initiatives to promote public service broadcasting in Asia Pacific, and generated a set of recommendations as listed below:

1997
1st International Conference on Public Service Functions of Broadcasting: The Asia-Pacific Perspective,
December 1-3, 1997, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Partners: UNESCO & FES
Recommendations:

 
1999
2nd International Conference and Europe-Asia Pacific Dialogue on Public Service Broadcasting,
80
AIBD Initiatives on Public Service Broadcasting
November 29-December 1, 1999, Manila, Philippines Partners: UNESCO & FES
Recommendations:

Participants at the 2nd International Conference and Europe-Asia-Pacific Dialogue on Public Service Broadcasting were unanimous in agreeing paramount attention should be paid to persuading decision makers, policy makers, legislators and regulators that Public Service Broadcasting (radio, television, public service internet and community broadcasting) is indispensable and an essential service to society, similar to education, health and other public services. It is now recognised as one of the most critical resources in cultural development and the fostering of national identity (ies).

The following recommendations are submitted in the strong conviction that under-represented portions of society including women must have a fair share in public broadcasting.
It was agreed that AIBD plays a unique, important and essential role, and it is recommended that AIBD as an intern-governmental organisation, be charged with:

1. Creating an awareness of the fundamental values of Public Service Broadcasting by producing a short, clear manual, explaining Public Service Broadcasting; producing a documentary about Public Service Broadcasting; organising seminars with opinion leaders, governmental and non-governmental organisations, with a view to creating awareness of the benefits of using Public Service Broadcasting in helping them carry out their mission;

2. Developing options (models) pertaining to adequate financing of Public Service Broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region.These options could include issues relating to flexibility in human resource management; definition of public service added value; value of the broadcast spectrum; broadcast leverage;taxation of other distribution technologies such as cable; distinctions between radio and television; methods of license fee collections; advertising options; funding from consolidated revenue; and evaluations of legislation and financing of Public Service Broadcasting outside the region.

3. Undertaking broadcasting studies highlighting the public interest and specifically the role of public broadcasters as well as the necessity to provide support and call for the meeting of the ministers responsible for media and broadcasting .These options should include items of interest to the stakeholders as well as those of the broadcaster;

4. Undertaking an extensive study of job profiles of media professionals, with the aim of benchmarking, which should be made available to all AIBD members;

5. Investing in human resource development for broadcast professionals.A key feature of human resource development is a code of practice applicable to Public Service Broadcasting;

6. Becoming a broadcast resource/reference centre on public service broadcast development and the application of new technology.

As this Second International Conference coincides with the commencement of the Seattle Round of WTO/GATS negotiations, it is further recommended AIBD be charged with communicating to the appropriate authorities that broadcasting as part of the cultural industries is different from trade in manufactured goods, and that steps be taken to preserve and encourage local audio visual production as justified and necessary. AIBD could communicate possible ways and means of achieving this including cultural, economic and tax AIBD Initiatives on Public Service Broadcasting incentives; promotion of regional and international exchanges and co-productions; limitations on ownership; quotas on foreign investment ownership; local content requirements and a quota system for local content.

 

2000
3rd International Conference and Europe-Asia Pacific Dialogue on Public Service Broadcasting,
June 26-28, 2000, Singapore
Partners: UNESCO & FES

 

Preamble;

 

The Meeting on Legal, Financial and Administrative aspects of Public Service Broadcasting was held from 26-28 June 2000, in Singapore at Grand Plaza Park Royal Hotel. It was organised by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) of Germany and in collaboration with the Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA). The Conference was attended by 24 delegates speakers from Singapore, Germany, EBU, AMIC, Philippines, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Iran, Fiji, Indonesia, Canada and the AIBD Secretariat. The meeting endorsed the recommendations made at the 2nd International Conference and Europe-Asia-Pacific Dialogue in the Philippines and took note that magnificent progress has been made since the last meeting in the Philippines. The meeting also took note of the fact that a lot of work needs to be done in updating policy and decision makers and drawing their attention to the idea and concept of Public Service Broadcasting. The meeting then came up with the following recommendations;

Recommendations

1. AIBD is requested to continue its endeavor to publicize and popularize the idea and concept of PSB in the region.

2. AIBD is requested to conduct an in-country meeting/ seminar in each member country to popularize the idea and concept of PSB. In each country, the host will be requested to invite policy makers, opinion leaders, politicians, broadcasters, press and academicians.

3. The social, cultural and economical situation is different in each country. The meeting felt that possibly, it would be appropriate if Member Countries were provided with complete information and background. As for the drafted model on administrative, financial and legal aspects of PSB, it seems that, this has to be redrafted and the followings should be taken into account.

4. Philosophical Overview on Public Service Broadcasting,

5. Creation of Systems (Public & Private),

6. Regulatory mechanism (content & technology),

7. Public Broadcaster Objectives and Definition (Structure of Organisation),

Three potential and practicable models for the Ministers and policy makers to consider;
a. NHK

b. EU

c. Canada

Supported with diagrammatic Representations-Country system of broadcasting and broadcasting systems, the above-mentioned models do not contain information about transforming broadcasting organisations. Therefore, it was further recommended to look for possible examples in the region such as DDI &AIR in India.

8. The group also recommended that the PSB document might be prefaced using the EBU definition of Public Service Broadcasting in the EBU document 1 (97) of the EBU Legal Committee as preamble.

 

SAARC Sub-Regional Conference on Public Service Broadcasting,
August 21-23, 2000, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Partners: AIBD, SAARC

 

Preamble:

Participants at the Sub-regional seminar held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Legal, Administrative and Financial aspects of Public Service Broadcasting from 21" to 23rd August 2000 discussed the importance of Public Service Broadcasting (PSB). The dominant characteristics of public service broadcasting are that it is owned, paid for and controlled by the public and that it provides programming that serves the public interest. All the participants unanimously agreed on the need for persuasion of the decision makers, policy makers, legislators and regulators

Considering, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, as elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that recognition of the equal and inalienable rights of all human beings is an essential foundation of freedom, justice and peace;

Reaffirming the belief that freedom of expression and the free flow of information and ideas are of crucial importance in a democratic society, as well as for the progress and welfare of society, and the enjoyment of other human rights and fundamental freedoms;

Taking into account the fact that courts and international bodies around the world have made statements about the importance of the free flow of information and ideas, including the following statement by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka: " [W]ithout free political discussion, no public education, so essential for the proper functioning of the process of popular government is possible. The welfare of the community requires that those who decide shall understand them.The right to hear is within the meaning of speech?' [Athokorale and Ors. v. Attorney-General, 5 May 1997, Supreme Court, S.D. No. 1/97-15/97];

Mindful of the crucial role played by Public Service Broadcasting in promoting freedom of expression, ensuring a free flow of information and ideas to the public and maintaining diversity in the broadcasting sector;

Being of the view that any definition of Public Service Broadcasting must revolve around the idea of programming that serves the public interest, rather than simply commercial or government interests;

We, the participants at the Sub-Regional (SAARC) Seminar on Legal, Financial andAdministrativeAspects of Public Service Broadcasting request the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development to bring the following recommendations to the attention of their members, as well as policy makers in the region:

 

Recommendations

1. The authorities should be requested to create a legal climate conducive to freedom of expression and to create a favourable economic climate for broadcasting.

2. The independence of the governing bodies and/or management of public broadcasters should be guaranteed by law.

3. AIBD Initiatives on Public Service Broadcasting

4. A law should guarantee the principle of editorial independence.

5. Public Service Broadcasting should be adequately funded by a means that protects such broadcasters from arbitrary interference.

6. Independent mechanisms should be established to ensure that all political parties have equitable access to, and fair coverage in, the public broadcast media during elections.

Independent mechanisms should be established for responding to complaints about violations of broadcasting freedom.

7. Adequate measures should be taken to ensure that public service broadcasters could take full advantage of the options and opportunities offered by technological developments, in the interests of their audiences. In providing assistance to public service broadcasters, the international community should take into account in particular the importance of this Recommendation.

8. The international community should be requested to take into account whether the above conditions are met when considering providing assistance to public broadcasters.

9. The authorities should be requested to consider three forms of funding for Public Service Broadcasting, namely a general charge on users or license fee, commercial revenues and direct public grants.

10. Regarding license fees, the authorities should be requested to consider putting in place measures to ensure that they are paid directly to the PSB, that they provide the majority of funding for the PSB and that they are adjusted from time-to­time in accordance with inflation and other cost increases.

11. Regarding commercial revenues, any advertising and sponsorship carried by public service broadcasters should be subject to legal limitations - for example regarding time slots, frequency, duration and total limits - so that it does not undermine their public service mandate.

12. Regarding direct public grants, the authorities should be requested to ensure that any such grants take into close consideration the budget submitted by the PSB and that such grants are provided in a manner that protects the PSB from arbitrary interference.

13. The authorities should be requested to take adequate measures to create awareness among the general public of the importance and fundamental values of PSB.

14. The authorities should be requested to promote community broadcasting, including through ensuring that frequencies are provided to such broadcasters and through the fair and impartial provision of funding to them.

15. The authorities should be requested to promote the provision of a separate radio channel covering parliamentary proceedings.

16. The authorities should be requested to ensure that the managers of public service broadcasters have the authority and power to effectively manage their organisations and these managers should adopt new management techniques with lean structures.

17. PSB should form small production teams which are empowered to carry out PSB identified broadcast operations.

18. PSB should exploit value added services, but only to the extent that these are in accordance with the mandate and role of public service broadcasting.


Roundtable Discussion on Broadcasting Regulations in Asia & Europe,
September 2000, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Partners: FES

 

Recommendations:

 

A publication entitled Public Service Broadcasting: A Comparative Legal Survey, Toby Mendel, Head of Law Programme, ARTICLE 19, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Publishers: UNESCO, AIBD

Content: The book illustrates the ways in which selected national, publicly funded broadcasters operating in terms of their broadcasting obligations, governance structure and funding arrangements. It puts special emphasis on the strategies, which have evolved over the years to ensure that publicly funded broadcasters are not undermined by external control (political or other), particularly over editorial independence, and inadequate public funding. It also speaks about alternative strategies, which have been employed to try and bring the audience back to their own domain.


A publication entitled Public Service Broadcasting in South Asia: Legal, Financial and Administrative Issues, 2002 Publisher: AIBD

Content:The publication summarises the discussions of the SAARC sub-regional meeting on public service broadcasting organised by AIBD and UNESCO on 21st to 23rd of August 2000. It includes recommendations generated to promote PSB in the region, among them, provisions for a legal climate conducive to free expression, editorial independence and sustainable funding.

2001
In-Country Seminar on Legal, Financial and Administrative Aspects of Public Service Broadcasting April 12-13, 2001, New Delhi, India
Partners: AIBD, UNESCO, Prasar Bharati

 

Recommendations:

1. AIBD is requested to continue its endeavours to publicise and popularise the idea and concept of Public Service Broadcasting in this region, as recommended at the Singapore Meeting on the subject held in June 2000.

2. A law should guarantee the independence of Public Service Broadcasting.

 

3. The law should provide for the appointment of an independent governing board for public service broadcasters and this law should be implemented as soon as possible.

4. Editorial independence should be protected in law and respected in practice, in accordance with the following principles:

(a) political input in relation to Public Service Broadcasting should be provided through the governing board and, only where necessary, through the chief executive officer, not directly to editors and staff; and

(b) political figures, and senior public officials not directly responsible for Public Service Broadcasting, should not directly pressure public service broadcasters to carry certain programmes or certain types of programmes.

5. Governing boards of public service broadcasters should be required put in place the following accountability mechanisms:

(a) publishing an annual report providing a complete overview of both the audited accounts and of activities during the past year; the financial information in the annual report should be sufficient to enable citizens to assess the expenditure and efficiency of the public service broadcaster and the annual report should be widely disseminated, including through the Internet;

(b) undertaking regular public consultations to receive public input into the activities of the public service broadcaster; and

(c) setting annual objectives for the coming year, as well as providing an assessment of the extent to which the objectives for the previous year have been met; this information should be included in the annual report.

6. The law should provide for a mechanism for considering the level of direct public grants to Public Service Broadcasting which prevents political interference; consideration should be given to establishing an independent commission to make a recommendation about the appropriate level of this direct public grant.

7. The authorities should consider establishing a system of direct funding for Public Service Broadcasting, for example by a levy on the electricity bill.

8. A law establishing an individual complaints system for broadcasters should be passed as soon as possible in accordance with the following principles:
(a) the complaints system should apply to both public and commercial broadcasters;

(b) the body which deals with complaints should be independent of government and appointed in a manner which ensures that independence;

(c) a Code of Practice should be developed through a broad
consultative process that involves both broadcasters and civil society and any complaints should be assessed in relation to that Code;

(d) the process for dealing with complaints should be in accordance with established process guarantees, including by providing both the complainant and the relevant broadcaster an opportunity to be heard; and
the sanction for breach of the Code should be either a warning or a requirement to broadcast a message acknowledging the legitimacy of the complaint.

9. The authorities should take measures to create awareness among the general public about the role and importance of Public Service Broadcasting.

10. Public service broadcasters should take appropriate measures to ensure decentralisation, in terms of the organisation, content and local control over programmes.

11. All broadcasters should pay special emphasis in training activities to ensure they have the human resources to promote public service broadcasting.

 

2nd In-Country Seminar on Legal, Financial and Administrative Aspects of Public Service Broadcasting June 28-29, 2001, Bangkok, Thailand
Partners: AIBD, UNESCO, Public Relations Department, Government of Thailand, NBT

 

AIBD/FES/NBT In-country Seminar on Legal, Financial and Administrative Aspects of Public Service Broadcasting was held from June 28-29,2001 at Public Relations Department, Bangkok, Thailand. It was organised by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) in collaboration with the Public Relations Department of the esteemed Government of Thailand. AIBD Initiatives on Public Service Broadcasting 59 broadcasters, regulators, policy makers, journalists, legal experts and eminent educationists and guests representing Thailand, Australia, India and Germany attended the Meeting. Various other International Organisations such as Friedrich- Ebert - Stiftung (FES), Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Sukhothaithammathirat University,Thailand also participated in the two- day deliberations. This was a part of ongoing process of the dialogue between Europe andAsia on the issues of Public Service Broadcasting.The Bangkok meeting is the sixth in the series of meetings held earlier in Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Colombo and New Delhi.

This seminar focused on the current issues, concerns, challenges and potentials in relation to legal, administrative and financial aspects of Public Service Broadcasting .The meeting underlined once again the importance of Public Service Broadcasting in the scenario of technological proliferation and high-commercialization. The objectives of the meeting was to discuss in depth the various experiences and challenges faced by the Public Service Broadcasting organisations in the sub-region and come out with new ideas and recommendations for the future actions. His Excellency Mr. Somsak Thepsutin, Minister to the Prime Minister's Office of Thailand, graced the meeting.The participants put the following recommendations forward after two-days of deliberations.

Recommendations:

The participants reaffirmed the principles enunciated in Articles 39, 40 and 41 of the Constitution of Thailand, which uphold the right of communication, freedom of expression, and the concept of frequency spectrum as a public resource to be used for pubic benefit and to be managed by an independent agency.

1. The authorities should be requested to take adequate measures to create awareness among the general public of the importance and fundamental values of PSB. The word "public" refers to the entire population of the country or region, which the public broadcaster is responsible for serving.

2. A clear distinction between state broadcasting and public broadcasting should be articulated by the legislation and regulation.

3. Responsibility for the content or programming should be held not only by the operators or owners of broadcast stations or networks,but also by the producers.Productions by independent producers and communities should be encouraged through special quotas.

4. Different sections of society and interest groups should be duly represented in the governing bodies of PSB organisations.

5. Employees of the state broadcasting organisations must be enabled to make a smooth transition to public broadcasting through legal measures and facilitated by reorientation and retraining.

6. The independence of the governing bodies and/or management of public broadcasters should be guaranteed by law. Law should also guarantee the principle of editorial independence and professional leadership.

7. A Master plan for the equitable distribution of frequencies should be drawn up.

8. The authorities should be requested to promote community broadcasting, and ensure that frequencies and resources are provided in a fair and impartial manner.

9. A. The proposed legislation should provide a sound financial foundation to ensure the establishment,

AIBD Initiatives on Public Service Broadcasting
functioning and future development of Public Service Broadcasting. A separate sub-committee under the Broadcasting Council chaired by a member of the Council should be responsible for financial planning and budgeting and overseeing all activities of PSB in the country.

B. Public Service Broadcasting should be adequately funded by a means that protects such broadcasters from arbitrary interference. The authorities should be requested to consider three forms of funding for public service broadcasting, namely a general charge on users or license fee, commercial revenues and direct public grants.

C. Regarding commercial revenues, any advertising and sponsorship carried by public service broadcasters should be subject to legal limitations—for example regarding time slots, frequency, duration and total limits—so that it does not undermine their public service mandate.

D. Regarding direct public grants, the authorities should be requested to ensure that any such grants take into consideration the budget submitted by the PSB and that such grants are provided in a manner that protects the PSB from arbitrary interference.

10. Public service broadcasters are encouraged to;

a) Be impartial & independent;

b) Provide a forum for public dialogue, knowledge sharing & deeper understanding;

c) Develop pluralistic program structures of interest to all groups of society;

d) Reflect different cultures, traditional customs and religions to promote understanding and tolerance;

e) Cater for the programs normally not provided by commercial stations and create a good relation with the public;

f) Maintain credibility of information and diversity of views, protect social and national values and draw the attention of policy makers to broadcasting facts and increase their awareness;

g) Provide a forum for an on - going national & international dialogue among different groups of society and among civilizations with the intention of forging closer linkages among nations.

11. A Charter should be drawn up which serves as a final raison d' etre for any PSB station.

12. Adequate measures should be taken to ensure that public service broadcasters take full advantage of the options and opportunities offered by technological developments.

13. Media professionals should be urged to adhere to the highest standards of professional ethics and practice life—long learning. They should uphold the principle of impartiality. Media professionals should become more versatile (management skills, computer and internet literacy, market consciousness), and seek opportunities for enhancing their professional skills. Media professionals should also explore regional and global cooperation and form professional associations.

14. Private networks should be required to allocate adequate and appropriate time for public service programs in their daily transmissions.

15. AIBD should provide Consultancy Service for Thailand in the area of PSB (Implementation, Legal, Financial, Administrative aspects)

16. AIBD is requested to organise a high level meeting for Ministers/policy makers to discuss challenging issues in broadcasting industry.

 

2002
3rd In-Country Conference on Public Service Broadcasting,
January 21-22, 2002, Jakarta, Indonesia
Partners: AIBD, UNESCO, Radio Republik Indonesia

 

AIBD/UNESCO/RRI Seminar on Legal, Financial and Administrative Aspects of Public Service Broadcasting was held from January 21- 22, 2002 at Hotel Crowne Plaza, akarta, Indonesia. It was organised by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) in collaboration with Radio Republik Indonesia and with the active support from the UNESCO.

40 delegates and guests representing Indonesia, India, Germany, Switzerland and Thailand attended the Meeting. Indonesian representatives were drawn from the broadcasting organization and academics from Indonesia. Other international organizations such as Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), IPDC, French Ministry, UNESCO, World Radio and Television Council and Public Relations Department, Thailand also participated in the two- day deliberations. This was a part of ongoing process of the dialogue between Europe and Asia on the issues of Public Service Broadcasting. The Jakarta meeting is the seventh in the series of meetings held earlier in Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Colombo, New Delhi and Bangkok.

This seminar focused on the current issues, concerns, challenges and potentials in relation to legal, administrative and financial aspects of Public Service Broadcasting.The meeting underlined once again the importance of Public Service Broadcasting in the scenario of technological proliferation and high-commercialization. The objectives of the meeting was to discuss in depth the various experiences and challenges faced by the public service broadcasting organizations in Indonesia and come out with recommendations which will help Indonesia to fine tune their broadcasting bill. This meeting may also act as a piece of information and guidelines for Indonesian government to create their own model of PSB.

 

Preamble

Taking into account that the dominant characteristics of Public Service Broadcasting are that is owned, paid for and controlled by the public and that it provides programming that serves the public interest;

Reaffirming the belief that freedom of expression and free flow of information and ideas are of crucial importance in a democratic society, as well as for the progress and welfare of society, and the enjoyment of other human rights and fundamental freedoms;


Being of the view
that any definition of Public Service Broadcasting must revolve around the idea of programming that serves the public interests;

 

Recommendations:

1. An Independent board or body for PSB should be created by the parliament, which represents all relevant groups of society including a minority representation from the government and the parliament.

2. The status of the PSB body should be autonomous. Members of this body should be appointed by the parliament. The said body will appoint executive directors.

3. Public Service Broadcasting should be only accountable to parliament in terms of planning and budgeting.

4. Policy formulations of the Public Service Broadcasting all over Indonesia should be discussed and decided by the board of governors and executed by board of directors.

5. TVRI and 11111 should become independent Public Service Broadcasting organisations. They should be independent from government, industries and political parties and other controls. The day- to- day functions of these organisations should not be interfered by the government. Law should protect the existence of PSB and its independence.

6. Public Service Broadcasting should be adequately funded by a means that protects such broadcasters  from arbitrary interference and control.

7. Direct public grant from the state budget for PSB should be adequate.

8. In addition, the authorities are requested to consider other forms of funding for Public Service Broadcasting among them:
a. A general charge on users (license fee) and tax on sale of TV and Radio sets.

b. Commercial revenues (advertising, joint operation, marketing and merchandising, leasing facilities and infra-structure, sponsorship)

c. Additional sources, for example e-commerce services through regional e-shops, fees for up-linking and transponder facilities, training services and facilities.

d.Grants and donations from regional bodies, communities and foundations etc.

9. Encourage human resource development in all areas including broadcast management, marketing, business development, digital and new technologies etc., in cooperation with international institutions such as UNESCO,AIBD,ABU and other appropriate entities

10. Employees of the state broadcasting organisation must be enabled to make a smooth transition to public broadcasting through legal measures and facilitated by reorientation and retraining.

11. Setting up a decentralized process for gathering and disseminating news through an organized network.

12. The implementation of networking the cultural and education channels be speeded up.

13. The authorities should be requested to take adequate measures to create awareness among the general public as well as policy makers, of the importance and fundamental values of Public Service Broadcasting. The word "public" refers to entire population of the country or region, which the public broadcaster is responsible for serving.

14. Integration of new information and communication technologies in the PSB may be encouraged. PSB may explore new opportunities such as becoming service provider and distributor for multimedia products.

15. Open learning /education may be encouraged through PSB.

16. With the introduction of digital technologies, the available bandwidth may be used for creation of new channels catering different target groups of society.

17. Government may be requested to reserve sufficient frequencies for Public Service Broadcasting and these should be used for public free of charge.

 

4th In-Country Conference on Public Service Broadcasting, January 28, 2002, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Partners: UNESCO

 

Recommendations:

Seminar on Public Service Broadcasting in the Central Asian Republics, February 3-4,2002, Almaty, Kazakhstan Partners: AIBD, Khabar Agency, UNESCO, FES, ITU

 

Recommendations:

Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) could render an important contribution to the development of democracy in Central Asia. PSB is defined as being for the benefit of society, financed by society and controlled by society.

PSB is a means to build an informed civil society. It represents pluralism, uniting various groups in society in a dialogue that forms public opinion. PSB recognizes the importance of national identity and culture. It creates impartial programmes It represents the interests of all groups and levels of society including national minorities.

Control of PSB is exercised through a council for broadcasting, whose members represent interests in civil society. Legislation in the field of PSB provides long-term guarantee of access to broadcasting media for civil society These guarantees are independent of changes in government. Modern technologies such as the Internet can provide strong assistance for PSB, particularly by providing channels for audience feedback.

The Seminar participants consider PSB a necessary, powerful and effective means to support educational and cultural potential of the people and to provide objective information for the population of the Central Asian region.

Basic estimates show that PSB is the most effective and cheapest means of providing information and entertainment. Financing is a major psychological barrier to the acceptance of the overall concept of PSB.

In connection with the above, we the participants of the seminar propose:

1. The idea and concept of Public Service Broadcasting should be encouraged, publicized and popularized among the people and authorities.

2. Broadcasting organizations, authorities and civil societies are requested to pay adequate attention to creation and development of Public Service Broadcasting.

3. Public service broadcasters are encouraged to:
Provide a forum for public dialogue, knowledge sharing and deeper understanding.
Develop pluralistic programme structure of interest to all groups of society.
Reflect different cultures, traditional customs and religions to promote understanding, tolerance and peace.
Maintain credibility of information, programs, news and protect social and national values.
Broadcast impartial and independent news and current affairs programmes

Provide a forum for on-going national and international dialogue among civilizations with the intention of creating a closer linkage among nations.Develop a system of performance indicators and quality standards for better and optimal performance.

4. Public service broadcasters are supposed to maintain accountability, achieve transparency in the overall activities, to maintain on-going feedback from the public through researches, monitoring and interactive dialogue with the public.

5. The authorities may be requested to create a favorable legal, economic, administrative and financial climate for different systems of broadcasting

6. It is recommended to establish a broadcasting council. The law pertaining to the council should guarantee its independence of the broadcasting council. The law should also guarantee the principle of editorial independence.

7. In order to avoid undue politicization, the parties and government authorities should have minority representation in the broadcasting council.

8. The appointment of members of the council should be made on the basis of their professional skills and representing different groups of civil societies, not on the basis of their political positions/affiliations.

9. The management of Public Service Broadcasting should move towards international standards.

10. An independent organization/body should be established to respond to complaints of violating broadcasting issues.

11. The Parliament is requested to establish the working group for PSB in order to create the required legal framework to introduce PSB in the media law.

12. " Khabar"Agency forms its own working group for the PBS in order to collect the necessary information and to come up with appropriate recommendations for the changes in media law in order to assist the parliament The group should consist of media professionals, independent journalists, financial experts, legal experts, and representatives of public media organizations. In order to have specialists with international experience, the intergovernmental organisations in the mass-media field (AIBD, UNESCO)
should be invited to participate in the working groups.

13. The two simultaneous working groups of parliament and Khabar Agency could define the appropriate time frame for the preparation of the working plan, proposals to the government in terms of structure,legal framework, financial and legal structure of Public Service Broadcasting.

14. Both working groups could work out the required plan in relation to all aspects of PBS.

15. The authorities are requested to study and consider the following funding mechanisms for Public Service Broadcasting

a) One time fee while buying a radio/television/electronic appliances/mobile phones

b) Introducing the license fee

c) Government grants for infrastructure

d) Advertisements/commercial revenue. But it should not undermine the mandate of Public Service Broadcasting

e) Sponsorship

f) Authorities and potential partners may contribute to the production of programmes for developmental needs.

g) Any other mechanisms suitable for the countries

16. Media professionals should be urged to adhere to the highest standards of their profession. Media professionals should become more versatile in management skills, computer, Internet literacy and market consciousness. Media professionals should explore the regional and global cooperation among them and apply life long learning.

17. AIBD is requested to support broadcasters in Central Asia and provide them all possible training courses, consultancy services and any international forum,which could enhance their ability to perform their jobs.

18. Adequate measures should be taken to ensure that the PSB organisations can drive the maximum advantage of the options and opportunities offered by technological developments


AIBD-UNESCO-FES SEMINAR ON PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING IN THE CENTRAL ASIAN REPUBLICS July 1-3,2002, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Partners: UNESCO

 

Recommendations

Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) could render an important contribution to the development of democracy in the Central Asia. PSB is defined as being for the benefit of society, financed by society and controlled by society.

PSB is a means to build an informed civil society. It represents pluralism, uniting various groups in society in a dialogue that forms Public opinion. PSB recognizes the importance of national identity and culture. It creates impartial programmes. It represents the interests of all groups and layers in society including national minorities.

Control of PSB is exercised through a council for broadcasting, whose members represent the interests of civil society. Legislation in the field of PSB provides long-term guarantees of access to broadcasting media for civil society. These guarantees are independent of changes in government. Modern technologies such as the Internet can provide strong assistance for PSB, particularly by providing channels for audience feedback.

The seminar participants considered PSB as a necessary, powerful and effective means to support the educational and cultural potential of the people and to provide objective information for the population of the Central Asian region.

In addition, the seminar showed that lack of information about possible PSB models can result in caution by politicians in the region and become an obstacle to the successful introduction of PSB. However, basic estimates show that PSB is the most effective and cheapest means to provide information, education and entertainment. Financing is a major psychological barrier to the acceptance of the overall concept of PSB.

In connection with the above, the participants of the seminar proposed:

1.  The idea and concept of public service broadcasting should be encouraged, publicized and popularized among the people and authorities.

2. The authorities and civil societies are requested to pay adequate attention to the creation of Public Service Broadcasting

3. Public service broadcasters are encouraged to

  • Provide a forum for public dialogue, knowledge sharing and deeper understanding
  • Develop pluralistic programme structure of interest to all groups of society
  • Reflect different cultures, traditional customs and religions to promote understanding, tolerance and peace
  • Maintain credibility of information, programs, news, protect social and national values
  • Broadcast impartial and independent news and current affairs programmes

 

  • Provide a forum for on-going national and international dialogue among civilizations with the intention of creating a closer linkage among nations.
  • Develop a system of performance indicators and quality standards for better and optimal performance

4. Public service broadcasters are supposed to maintain accountability, achieve transparency in the overall activities, to maintain on-going feedback from the public through research, monitoring and interactive dialogue with the public

5. The authorities may be requested to create a favorable legal, economic, administrative and financial climate for
broadcasting.

6. It is recommended to establish a broadcasting council. The law pertaining to the council should guarantee its independence from government interference. The law should also guarantee the principle of editorial independence.

7. In order to avoid an undue politicization of PSB, the parties and government authorities should have minority representation in the Broadcasting council.

8. The appointment of members of the council should be made on basis of their professional skills and representing different groups of civil societies, not on the basis of their political positions/affiliations.

9. The management of Public Service Broadcasting should be based on international standards. (For example. ISO 9002)

10. An independent mechanism should be established to deal with complaints of violating broadcasting freedom.

11. The authorities are requested to study and consider the following funding mechanisms for Public Service Broadcasting

a. One time fee while buying a radio/television/electronic appliances/mobile phones

b. Introducing a listeners' and viewers' license fee

c. Government grants for infrastructure and equipment

d. Advertisements/commercial revenue to a degree which could not undermine mandate of Public Service Broadcasting

e. Sponsorship

f. Authorities and potential partners may contribute to production of programmes for developmental and educational needs.

g. Any other mechanisms suitable for the countries of the region.

12. Media professionals should be urged to adhere to the highest standards of their profession. Media professional should become more versatile in management skills, computer, Internet literacy and market consciousness. Media professionals should explore the regional and global cooperation among them and apply life long learning.

13.AIBD is requested to support broadcasters in Central Asia and provide them with all possible training courses, consultancy services and any international forum, which could enhance their ability to improve the professional performance.

14. Adequate measures should be taken to ensure that the PSB organizations can take full advantage of the options and opportunities offered by technological developments

15. To request UNESCO and AIBD to provide information about PSB on a regular basis

16. To request UNESCO and AIBD to arrange a seminar on PSB issues for interested members of parliament and representatives of the executive branch in each country, with the participation of existing PSB organisations.

17. To request the UNESCO office inAlmaty to provide national commissions in the region and broadcasting organisations with the text of reference guidelines for drafting laws on PSB.

18. To recommend comparative legal research to create educational materials for journalism faculties in the region.

19. To request the UNESCO office to provide journalism faculties with other relevant educational materials.

20. To request the UNESCO office and AIBD to prepare an analysis of the current broadcasting environment in the region and information about broadcasting organisations in Asia.

 

10th In-Country Seminar on Public Service Broadcasting December 9-10,2002, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Partners: AIBD/FES/NIMC

 

Preamble

1. AIBD/FES/NIMC Seminar on Public Service Broadcasting was held from December 9-10, 2002 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) organised the seminar in collaboration with NIMC and the support provided by the FES.

2. 24 delegates and guests representing Bangladesh, India, Thailand and the AlBD attendedthe Meeting Representatives from the government, broadcasting organisations, press; judiciary and academics from Bangladesh also participated in the two-day deliberations. This was a part of ongoing process of the dialogue on the issues of Public Service Broadcasting. The Dhaka seminar was the tenth in the series of meetings held earlier in Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Colombo, New Delhi, Bangkok, Jakarta, Phnom Penh and Bishkek.

3. This seminar focused on the current issues, concerns, challenges and potentials in relation to legal, administrative and financial aspects of public service broadcasting .The meeting underlined once again the importance of Public Service Broadcasting in the scenario of technological proliferation and hyper-commercialisation. The objective of the meeting was to discuss in depth the various experiences and challenges faced by the public service broadcasting organisations in Bangladesh and come out with recommendations. These recommendations may act as a piece of information and general guidelines for the authorities to create their own model of PSB based on their own local situation.

 

Participants reviewed the existing situation and referred to the following problems that have to be addressed:

  1. Issuing broadcasting licenses
  2. Autonomy of radio and TV
  3. Laws governing radio and TV both in public and private sectors
  4. Quality control
  5. Access to information

 

The group felt that it is important to set up necessary provisionfor promoting Public Service Broadcasting in Bangladesh which should be distinct from state-run and state controlled radio and television broadcasting systems. Therefore, the group decided to recommend the following:

 

Legal

1. Legislation may be enacted at the earliest to create and enable public service broadcasting, private commercial broadcasting and community broadcasting systems with clear definitions and distinction between each type of broadcaster

2. Provisions may be made for community radio, a cost effective medium to achieve the developmental goals of Bangladesh and establishing the fundamental right to communication for all people.

3. Legislation may be provided for an autonomous body to guide and manage the PSB radio and TV networks in Bangladesh.

4. Broad-based information guidelines may be formed.

5. Independent regulatory body may be set up with media laws enacted for this purpose.

6. There may be statute governing the operations of radio and Television.

7. Package programme may be encouraged in order to ensure quality as well as talents

8. Participation of common people may be ensured in various nation building programmes

9. There may be free access to information except the classifies ones

 

Administrative

10. The board of directors of autonomous body may be formed to regulate Radio and TV. Such a Board might be appointed by Parliament and could be accountable to the parliamentary standing committee on Information and broadcasting.

11. A parliamentary study group may be set-up to come back with the administrative and financial provisions necessary to operationalise the PSB body. This body may also be responsible for creating Code of Ethics, with guidelines for all broadcasters regarding culturally appropriate content, promotion of pluralistic and multi-cultural values sensitive to Bangladesh ethos and culture avoiding obscene, violent depictions or material which is insensitive to different groups such as women and children.

 

Programming

12. Broadcasters are encouraged to adapt to the changing broadcasting environment by becoming more responsive to their audiences needs, dialogue with various groups of people and involving them in the creation of programmes which are interesting and relevant.

13. Ongoing training and orientation must be availed by broadcasters to gear them to respond creatively to the changing broadcasting scenario and new technologies.

14. In the context of globalisation and increasing presence of a monoculture, broadcasters have a special responsibility to actively promote and foster through their programmes —a multicultural pluralistic society with free flow of information, public discussion and debate of issues.

15. Authorities are requested to come up with appropriate strategic plans to introduce new technologies

16. Broadcasters may be requested to give special attention to giving space and visibility to groups who have been traditionally under-represented and depicted insensitively in the media e.g. women, children, ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities.

 

Financial

17. The PSB authorities would have autonomy over decision-making and control over the generation of different sources of revenue and deployment of the same. The board of directors would be accountable to the standing committee of Parliament through an annual report.

18. Appropriate monitoring and control systems should be introduced to ensure transparency efficiency in the use of financial and human resources of PSB.This would include the formulation of appropriate performance indicators to serve as guideposts and periodic performance audit.

 

General

19. AIBD may be requested to provide consultancy services in the areas of aiding drafting of legislative and regulatory framework, dialogue with the government and training in new technologies and management.

20. The necessity of forming an independent and impartial international news network providing access to information and free flow of information, particularly from South to North was felt.

21. AIBD is requested to organise follow-up interactive seminars in consultation with the authorities in Bangladesh.

A publication entitled Public Service Broadcasting in Thailand, Sucharita Eashwar (editor), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Publisher: AIBD


Content: Presentations made at the In-country Seminar on Legal, PSBs and commercial broadcasting Thailand in June 2001, and
the recommendations made by the participants at the conclusion of the seminar.

 

2003
1" Conference of the Ministers on Information &
Broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific Region, 27-28 May 2003


BANGKOK DECLARATION


Introduction

The 1st Conference of the Ministers on Information and Broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific region was held in Bangkok from 27-28 May 2003 and was hosted by the Government of the Royal Kingdom of Thailand.

This was in the form of a Thematic Debate and a regional preparatory meeting for the World Summit on Information Society to be held in Geneva in 2003.

The Ministers of Information and Broadcasting from various countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as heads of radio and television organisations, policy makers, decision makers, scholars, and representatives of international organisations attended this unique Conference in Bangkok to discuss pressing matters related to the Information and Broadcasting sectors. The Deputy Prime AIBD Initiatives on Public Service Broadcasting Minister of the Royal Kingdom of Thailand hosted the Conference, which was organized by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) and actively support e d by the International Telecommunication Union,UNESCO, United Nations, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and the French Government.

The objective of the meeting was to discuss in depth the experiences and challenges being faced by public service broadcasters in the region and to arrive at a better understanding a n d closer cooperation in responding to the challenges. The Conference adopted constructive recommendations for further consideration by all stakeholders in information and broadcasting as the first regional attempt of its kind.

 

Preamble

Considering that globalization should be a two-way road and that there is a growing concern about the possible expansion of one single global culture, the media are encouraged to contribute to the preservation of cultural identities and to the promotion of cultural dive rsity, without destroying the positive factors of internationalism. Media professionals can play an important role in informing, educating and entertaining the public, fostering peace and mutual respect.

Believing that diversity lends itself to enrichment of human community broadcasters, should perceive and project that diversity to promote peace, and communal harmony amongst nations of the world.

Mindful of the crucial role played by Public Service Broadcasting in increasing the awareness of people, promoting freedom of expression, ensuring free flow of information and ideas, maintaining diversity in the broadcasting sector and empowering communities, Public Service Broadcasting should provide programming that serves the public interest and facilitate people's participation in development programs for societies.

Taking into account that the technology revolution and Internet development has opened up a new digital era, the perceived information divide needs to be bridged.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Recommendation 1
Media and Globalisation Media, in public and private domains, are encouraged and need to be facilitated to:
1.1  Be impartial and sensitive in reporting while being independent.

1.2 Become fora for public dialogue,knowledge sharing,promotion of diversity mutual, understanding and tolerance.

1.3 Create rich and high quality local content to meet social expectations.

 

Recommendation 2: Cultural Diversity

2.1 The participants considered that, unlike ordinary goods, cultural and audiovisual works do not lend themselves to governance by general rules of free exchange for goods and services.They subscribe to the concept of cultural diversityincluding multicultural, and multi­ethnic societies, in order to prevent the global risk of standardization. All concerned parties, governments, civil societies, public and private broadcasters are encouraged to preserve and promote cultural diversity in their respective countries and to develop dialogue among various cultures internationally.

2.2 Authorities are encouraged to:

1. Develop specific regulatory mechanisms to support and encourage public and private radio and television programs aimed to promote cultural diversity;

2. Create a fund to encourage broadcasters, artists and producers to produce and broadcast programs with local content;

3. Ensure that the right holders / artists can get their proper dues and the copyright of the products is rightfully protected.

2.3 The participants consider UNESCO to be the appropriate international institution to develop an international normative instrument to protect and promote cultural diversity.

 

Recommendation 3: Public Service Broadcasting

3.1 Public service broadcasters are encouraged to:

1. Promote and develop education,including community education, spread of information, empowerment and people's participation in society and development addressing all groups of society;

2. Create programs which carry credibility with pluralistic groups and which promote cultural diversity and bring positive effects of globalisation to all communities;

3. Create rich and quality content for all, and in particular by and for women, youth and children that counters the influence of violence, communal hatred and carry such content on prime time;

4. Initiate public debate and common ground talks between policy-makers, academics and media professionals to counter negative effects of violence in media. Broadcasters can promote the culture of dialogue among civilizations with the view to promote understanding and peace;

5. Exploit new technologies to expand coverage and accessibility to information and healthy entertainment;

6. Promote protection of copyrights of content by coming out strongly against piracy and unauthorised use of content.

3.2 Authorities are encouraged to:

1. Allow autonomy in content creation, management, finance and administration of public service broadcasters;

2. Study and consider the following funding mechanisms for Public Service Broadcasting:
One-time fee while buying a radio/television/ electronic appliances/mobile phones
Introduction of a license fee either as a stand­alone or as an addition to the electricity bill
Government grants for infrastructure
Advertising/commercial revenue, but it should not undermine the mandate of Public Service Broadcasting
Sponsorship
Contribute to production of programs for clearly defined developmental needs;

3. Regularly review the mandate of Public Service Broadcasting in view of national, regional and global events in order to foster mutual understanding, tolerance and trust.;

4. Allocate preferential frequencies to public service broadcasters;

5. Create legal structures to allow independence of decision making to public broadcasters;

6. Ensure allocation of adequate time by private networks for public service programs and for pluralistic content for all groups of society;

7. Ensure complete editorial independence.

 

Recommendation 4: Information Divide

4.1 Authorities are requested to make efforts to:

1. Promote the spread of information / education by expanding the reach and coverage of television and radio;

2 Reduce the gap between the potential haves and have nots in the digital age by promoting the use of ICTs,particularly through setting up community multimedia centers;

3. Provide universal and affordable access to information and infrastructure;

4. Protect the interests of the economically weaker and disadvantaged sections of society in the era of convergence;

5. Create a knowledge rich society.

 

Recommendation 5: Human Resource Development (HRD)

5.1 All broadcasters are encouraged, in cooperation with international institutions to:

1. Regularly upgrade the skills, independence of reporting for different age groups of viewers,diversity of cultures and religions and impact of reports on current efforts to create one global society;

2. Train personnel in all aspects of broadcasting;

3. Develop an independent and voluntary code of ethics which reflects high professional standards and commitment to peace and fair and impartial reportage.

 

The Conference took note of the emerging concerns on the impact of content on national, regional and international happenings and mandated AIBD to work for:

1. An independent and neutral world broadcasting network to promote public service; peace, harmony and goodwill through credible coverage of world happenings; and promotion of plurality;

2. Providing a forum for interaction between broadcasters and policy makers to regularly debate issues of topical concern;

3. Providing training in emerging areas of interest and how to take advantage of new technologies;

4. Providing a forum to debate the changing mandate and objectives of Public Service Broadcasting in light of the emerging global environment.

 

2004
1st Asia Media Summit, Session 6 on Public Service Media, May 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

Content: The session examines the special responsibilities of PSB, the technical framework of PSBs, the challenges of public service broadcasters today, critical role of PSBs and commercial broadcasting.

Recommendations

Regional Workshop on Legal, Administrative and Financial aspects of Public Service Broadcasting,
29- 30th November 2004, Bangkok, Thailand
Partners: AIBD, FES, UNESCO

Preamble:

Participants at the regional seminar held in Bangkok on Legal, Administrative and Financial aspects of Public Service Broadcasting from 29- 30th November 2004 discussed the importance of Public Service Broadcasting (PSB).The dominant characteristics of Public Service Broadcasting are that it is owned, paid for and controlled by the public and that it provides programming that serves the public interest. All the participants unanimously agreed on the need for persuasion of the decision makers, policy makers, legislators, regulators and operators.

Considering, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, as elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that recognition of the equal and inalienable rights of all human beings is an essential foundation of freedom, justice and peace;

Reaffirming the belief that freedom of expression and the free flow of information and ideas are of crucial importance in a democratic society, as well as for the progress and welfare of society, and the enjoyment of other human rights and fundamental freedoms;

Mindful of the crucial role played by Public Service Broadcasting in promoting freedom of expression, ensuring a free flow of information and ideas to the public and maintaining diversity in the broadcasting sector;

Being of the view that any definition of Public Service Broadcasting must revolve around the idea of programming that serves public interest and benefit the people of the region, rather than only commercial interests;

We, the participants at the Regional workshop on Legal, Financial and Administrative Aspects of Public Service Broadcasting urge the governments to implement the "Bangkok Declarations", and the AIBD 5-Year Action Plan, particularly in the international negotiations such as GATTS,WSIS, UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity etc. and request the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), together with UNESCO and other partners to bring the following recommendations to the attention of their members, as well as policy makers in the region:

Recommendation 1: The authorities and legislators should be requested to create a legal climate conducive to freedom of expression and to create a favorable economic climate for broadcasting and for production of local content.

Recommendation 2: The independence of the governing bodies and management of public broadcasters should be guaranteed by law.

Recommendation 3: The principle of editorial independence should be guaranteed by law and executed through regulation.

Recommendation 4: Independent mechanisms should be
established to ensure balanced coverage of political opinion, equitable access to all legally recognized political parties and fair coverage in the public broadcast media during elections.

Recommendation 5: Independent mechanisms should be established for enabling feedback and complaints about broadcasting content and for responding to violations of broadcasting freedom.

Recommendation 6: The authorities should be requested to take adequate measures to create awareness among the general public of the importance and fundamental values of PSB.

Recommendation 7: The international community should be requested to take into account whether the above conditions are met when considering providing assistance to public broadcasters.

Recommendation 8: Public Service Broadcasting should be adequately funded by a means that protects such broadcasters from arbitrary interference.

Recommendation 9: Adequate measures including tax concessions should be taken to ensure that public service broadcasters and public service programme producers could take full advantage of the options and opportunities offered by technological developments, in the interests of their audiences. In providing assistance to public service broadcasters, the international community should take into account in particular the importance of this recommendation.

Recommendation 10: The authorities should be requested to ensure by law or otherwise to consider various forms of funding for Public Service Broadcasting, including donations, license fee, commercial revenues and direct public grants from Governments and the International community, while simultaneously ensuring complete editorial independence for the public service broadcaster in relation to the source of funding. Voluntary contributions to support PSB should be exempt from tax.

Recommendation 11: The authorities should be requested to consider putting in place measures to ensure that license fees are paid directly to the PSB, and that the license fees are adjusted from time-to-time in accordance with inflation and other cost increases.

Recommendation 12: Any advertising and sponsorship carried by public service broadcasters should be subject to legal/regulatory limitations—time slots, frequency, duration, total limits and advertising content restrictions—so that it does not undermine their public service mandate.

Recommendation 13: The authorities should be requested to ensure that any direct public grant takes into consideration, the budget submitted by the PSB and that such grants are provided in a manner that protects the PSB from arbitrary interference.

Recommendation 14: The authorities should be requested to take adequate measures to create awareness among the general public of the importance and fundamental values of PSB.

Recommendation 15: Authorities/Regulators/private broadcasters should be requested to encourage public service programming, and in particular, production of local content.

Recommendation 16: The authorities should be requested to promote non-commercial community broadcasting, to ensure that frequencies are provided to such broadcasters and to provide fair and impartial funding to them.

Recommendation 17: The authorities should be requested to promote the coverage of parliamentary proceedings.

Recommendation 18: The authorities should be requested to ensure that the managers of public service broadcasters have the authority and power to bring about structural changes in their organisations to enhance their effectiveness, for instance through lean management structures, and channel their resources to improve local content and quality of programming

Recommendation 19: The managers should adopt new management techniques and standards in the best interest of PSB. They should examine the possibility of introducing a "Quality Certification Process".


Recommendation 20:
The public service broadcaster should be guaranteed the right to adopt new and emerging communication technologies like on-line services. PSB should utilise new information and communication technologies as value added services in accordance with the mandate and role of Public Service Broadcasting.

The Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) places on record its sincere thanks and appreciation to UNESCO and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) for the invaluable support they have rendered to the Institute enabling AIBD to promote the idea and concept of Public Service Broadcasting in the region. AIBD would also like to express its heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Rongpol Charoenphandhu, -Permanent Secretary of Prime Minister's Office, Mr. Dussadee Sinchirmsiri, -Director-General, National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT) and their hard working colleagues for their excellent arrangements and graceful hosting of the PSB workshop in the beautiful city of Bangkok.

 

2005
2' Asia Media Summit, Session 6 on Public Service Media, May 7-8 2005, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Partners: UNESCO/WRTVC/FES/ AIBD

 

Close to a 100 participants from 30 countries discussed PSB best practices during the two days preceding the Asia Media Summit 2005. At the end of their exchanges and debates, they agreed on the following declaration and recommendations:

Given the existence of state broadcasters, public service broadcasters, community broadcasters and commercial broadcasters,participants endorse the value of service to the public and assert that each category has public service obligations.

Participants took note of major challenges that State and Public Service Broadcasters are facing today from commercial and new media, economic constraints, and political pressures.

The general environment governing state and public service broadcasters contributes to an erosion of their credibility. However, this situation offers major opportunities for PSBs to transform themselves and emerge as trendsetters in the new environment.

PSBs can play a unique role by promoting good governance and quality benchmarks in the broadcasting industry. Participants agreed that editorial independence, management transparency, innovation and creativity, responsiveness to all segments of their audience are key factors in performing their role as PSBs.

It was felt that, through adopting a quality standard and certification process integrating these factors, they would gain the recognition they need to enhance their sustainability and ensure their audience loyalty.

It was also felt that to ensure the quality of its performance, a PSB should publish and adopt a charter or guidelines expressing the standards it will observe and the procedures by which it will monitor and evaluate them, in order to be accountable to the public.

 

Recommendations:

1. State broadcasters be transformed into editorially independent public service broadcasters.

2. Public service broadcasters should ensure that they effectively perform their public mandate.

3. All possible initiatives be taken to form citizens' media fora to foster a constructive dialogue between media and citizens.

4. Broadcasting research in the Asia-Pacific region be increased and improved.

5. The Asia Media Summit 2005 support efforts by media professionals to define and implement a voluntary quality management system and thus enhance professional standards in the broadcasting industry.

6. Authorities encourage public service broadcasters to implement Quality Management Standards.

7. Inpursuit of Quality Management, Public Service Broadcasters be staffed by trained and professional personnel.

The participants further defined the principles governing the evaluation and monitoring of PSBs performance:

A) Monitoring and evaluation should cover the way PSB is actually implementing its mission as defined in the legal texts.

B) Evaluation should be done by the broadcasters themselves and/or by external bodies.

C)There should be explicit rules and institutions both for internal and external evaluation.

D)A code of conduct should exist both for internal and external evaluations

E) The membership of the external bodies should be made up of independent persons serving the public interest, including experts and representatives of civil society.

F)External evaluation may also be used to determine the financial needs of PSB.

G)Financial control should not reduce the editorial independence of broadcasters.

H)The instruments of monitoring and evaluation should be manifold, professional and valid. They may include the voices of the viewers and listeners, staff, public hearings, expert judgments, and benchmark tests.


Recommendations of AMS 2005 to the World Summit on the Information Society at Tunis, presented during AMS 2005, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Broadcasting is crucial to development. For many, it remains the major source of information and knowledge, and therefore, it requires strengthening and support. The Ministers of Information and Broadcasting of countries in the Asia-Pacific region met in Bangkok, Thailand on 23 May 2003 to consult with academics, scholars and representatives of agencies of the United Nations on the steps to be taken to revitalise broadcasting as a tool for access to information and knowledge, and as means of eliciting social participation necessary for sustainable development.The Bangkok Declaration, which emerged from the 1st Ministerial Conference, led to an annual Asia Media Summit This year's Summit was especially important as it was registered as a" regional thematic meeting with the view to contributing to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis in November 2005.

The United Nations agencies and the international community has been instrumental in promoting best practices broadcasting, notably in public service broadcasting, community multimedia and other citizen's media initiatives, though contributing to sustainable development through access to information and knowledge.

However, many of the needs of broadcasters, and of society at large, are not yet fulfilled. Further action is essential. We believe more attention should be given to these issues at the forthcoming second phase of theWSIS inTunis in 2005.Towards this end theAsia Media Summit 2005 puts forward the following recommendations, (among them):

 


Public Service Broadcasting


We

mindful of the crucial role played by public service broadcasting (PSB) in ensuring a free flow of information and in maintaining diversity in the broadcasting industry;

agree on the importance of affirming to decision makers, policy makers, legislators, regulators and operators of the need and value of PSB.

Recommends that:

a. Governments be requested to

  • promote Public Service Broadcasting, and ensure its independence from political and commercial pressures and to provide all possible means to upgrade its performance
  • provide Public Service Broadcasting organisations with adequate funding to enable them to provide high quality services while remaining viable in maintaining their independence.

b. The appropriate authorities be requested to

  • promote non profit community broadcasting and to ensure

          that suitable frequencies are allocated for such services

  • encourage diversity in broadcasting, thereby offering opportunities for a diversity of views.
  • safeguard editorial independence and management's transparency and support the upgrading of performance of the PSB where it has been established

c. Broadcasters be encouraged to

  • define and adopt quality standards that include guidelines governing their programmes standards and editorial practices.
  • Establish systems for the internal and external monitoring of these standards and practices in relation to the guidelines and the legislation under which the broadcasting organizations are established.

 

 

Regional Seminar on Broadcasting Regulation: Protecting Public Interest, Promoting Broadcast Development, 19-21 September. 2005, Jakarta
Partners: AIBD/FES/UNESCO

 

Introduction

Radio and Television broadcasting have come a long way: from the hesitant beginnings in the last century, broadcasting has claimed its rightful and a dominant place amongst service industries of the world. And it is but only natural that after food, clothing and shelter human beings looks forward to information, education and entertainment.

Broadcasting as a tool for propaganda and for manufacturing consensus has indeed taken a set back with the advent of digital communication technologies. Internet and mobile phones preclude the possibility that information can be kept under wraps for too long. Besides, globalisation and privatisation have taken firm roots in the international society, and the costs of production and transmission have decreased enough to allow private participation in broadcasting even in the least developed countries.

The last one-decade has seen an explosive growth of broadcast media in the Asia- Pacific region. This growth, measurable by the number of channels available to the public, has to be accompanied by a corresponding development—a qualitative change in the manner that the broadcast media serve the viewers and listeners. And indeed this is quite apparent in many of the countries in the region: the private and commercial broadcasting has increased.

But then, a reasonably sound mechanism has to be put in place to regulate broadcasting lest it should use its powers to undesirable ends—a regulation that will bind the broadcasters to public interests, while not impinging on freedom of expression. And it should ensure that broadcasters take their educational and developmental roles seriously.Today we have enough examples of well-regulated broadcasters along with quite a few others who are on their way to becoming genuine Public Service Broadcasters, while some others are yet to formulate a sound regulatory mechanism.

The development of broadcasting depends, to a large extent, on the regulatory regime. Broadcasting regulations in Asia-Pacific vary from country to country. There is therefore a need to learn about the advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses of broadcasting and its regulation in this region. So AIBD, with support from its partners, FES and UNESCO and its member country, Indonesia organised a three-day seminar on. Broadcasting Regulation titled "Protecting Public Interest, Promoting Broadcasting Development". Broadcasters and regulators met in Jakarta from 19th to 21St of September 2005.

In the development of broadcasting, there is a metamorphosis from control to regulation to co-regulation by the industry to self-regulation by the channels themselves. The seminar in Jakarta aimed to catalyze a self-conscious evolution of the broadcasters in this direction. The seminar examined the prevailing broadcast regulations to make recommendations for the development of a more responsible and responsive media landscape that has public interest and public value at its core.

 

Participants

64 persons came to attend the seminar. Besides broadcasters and regulators from the Asia Pacific region, legal experts and resource people from other parts of the world contributed to the seminar proceedings to give a holistic perspective to discussions. 15 countries were represented in the seminar, besides representatives of UNESCO, FES and AIBD.

 

Seminar Proceedings

Dr. Javad Mottaghi, AIBD Director, welcomed the delegates and gave a brief background and intent of the seminar. H E Sofyan A Djalil, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Indonesia, could not come to the seminar to deliver the keynote address. His printed message was distributed to the participants.

The first day of the seminar was devoted to looking at the principles of Public Service Broadcasting and regulatory mechanisms that can actively promote PSB. The seminar also provided a platform to present case studies of the different models adopted by different countries in the region and elsewhere, to share experiences and expertise in the area of broadcasting regulation.

The highlight of the seminar was that three out of nine sessions were open sessions with no speakers. This allowed for a lot of discussions amongst the participants.Their observations and recommendations are given below.

Media Law

1. Parliaments should be encouraged to constitute a committee/ commission to draft the media law where it is not yet put in place. In countries where drafts have already been created, the authorities should be encouraged to present the bill and enact the media law. And where there are media laws, governments could be requested to update them to take into account the changing media environment.


Establishing an independent regulatory body

2. Appointment processes could consist of nominations by civil society, religious groups, sports and cultural organisations, representatives of authorities and opposition parties, members of professional bodies, specialized organisations, etc. Representatives of political parties should be minimum, well balanced, yet a minority in the membership of the regulatory body. There has to be human resource professionals and finance professionals who are not broadcasters amongst the members of the regulatory body.

3. Nominating of individuals should be based on their competence, expertise, taking into account any possible conflicts of interests. The candidates should be scrutinized to demonstrate that they are fit and proper, and have no history of dishonesty or criminal records.

4. The number of members in the regulatory body can vary from country to country, but it is necessary to ensure that it is inclusive of all interests - political, religious, economic, social, cultural...

5. An open and transparent process should be adopted in the selection of the members of the regulatory body where the society as a whole can watch and scrutinize the process, if found faulty. It should be open to the media.

 

Role of regulator

6. The regulator has many roles besides issuing licenses.

7. Frequency allocation (spectrum management) in the context of digital convergence of telecommunication and broadcasting is becoming a complex issue. Licensing issue is directly related to spectrum management. So some countries are opting to have one regulatory body for both telecommunication and broadcasting. But regulation of telecommunication is quite different from that of broadcasting. In broadcasting, the licensing system should ensure that all sections of the society are served—languages, cultural and ethnic diversity—besides regions.

8. Moreover, in some countries there is a possibility of a content regulator being formed that can look into the issue of content of both the broadcast sector and the Internet on the premise that the issue of content is different from that of either spectrum management and licensing.This essentially means that the role of the regulators is going to be diverse or that many kinds of regulators may arise.

9. The regulators are requested to formulate a strategy for developing the media landscape before licenses are given.An assessment of how many broadcasters are needed to serve the diversity of audiences and programming should determine how many licenses have to given for radio and for television. It should not be a free-for-all licensing but should depend on audience interest and diversity If the broadcast environment would allow only a few channels and if more licenses are given, then unhealthy competition will ensue.

10. Whatever the individual countries may decide, it must be stressed that in licensing for broadcast must consider inclusion of every language, ethnic minorities and niche markets to ensure diversity of content. Hence, the need for a clear strategy about how many licenses to be given.

11. All licenses should not be given at the same time and should be staggered through time. This is important when digital technologies allow for more channels in the same bandwidth.

12. Cross ownership of press, radio, and TV is quite advantageous in terms of the synergy they provide to each other. But this can also be dangerous in terms of monopolistic tendencies arising. Percentages of share as limiting factors pose the effective monitoring.The regulator should provide a clear-cut competition policy with legal clauses to check monopolistic tendencies in media.

13. Similarly, limiting media ownership in terms of citizenship is also inadequate since changing country of residence and citizenship is not impossible.

14, License renewal should be done only after review of the broadcasting content and social responsibility identified in the submission. There are different models for this:

a) Annual review as a feedback to improve, warning if not compliant;

b) Self proclamation of meeting conditions followed by random checks. If found to be not compliant then warning;

c) Broadcasting stations are very expensive to establish and revoking of license must be a last step.Regulation has to look at the economics as well as the social aspects of broadcasting.

15. Regulators should be requested to assist the broadcaster with a set of guidelines on local production, national production targets.The regulator should also specify the sanctions in cases where the targets are not achieved.

16. Though the law of natural selection—survival of the fittest —is applicable to commercial broadcasters, it is not applicable to public service broadcasters. In smaller countries with smaller markets, some form of regulation would be needed to encourage the development of Public Service Broadcasting.Audiences by themselves in some cases may not be able to make the discretion. In some countries the political forces can play a major role and if there are only economic considerations, then we cannot expect some PSB channels to survive. The regulators are requested to protect certain parts of the spectrum for different kinds of broadcasters - PSB, commercial, community, etc.

17. When licenses are being given, the broadcaster aspiring to be a public service broadcaster must present a plan The aspiring broadcaster must specify percentage of educational/cultural programmes—content regulatory conditions—to get the license.The regulator, or any other body, can then monitor the content to see if the conditions have been met.

18. Private, commercial broadcasting organisations may also need such preconditions. The regulators are, requested to stipulate conditions related to a minimum of local programming, educational/cultural programming that a channel should carry for commercial broadcasters. The regulators are requested to make it mandatory for the commercial broadcaster to take public interest issues. Conditions may be put at the time of licensing of private commercial broadcasters in terms of percentage of educational, current affairs and other public interest programmes that they must carry.

19. The regulators are requested to make it mandatory for the private commercial broadcasters to carry public service announcements for a percentage of time.

20. The regulators are requested to give incentives for broadcasting Public Interest programmes in terms of reduction in license fees or by allowing the broadcaster to retain all of the sponsorship and advertising revenue accrued from such programmes

21Such obligations/incentives on private broadcasters will assure that good quality public interest programmes are accessible to the citizens. Yet this cannot assure that the interests of all sections of target audiences are taken into account since private broadcasters depend on rating and popularity for survival and therefore they will take only the dominant sections of the society into consideration while making programming decisions.

22. There has to be a balance in stipulations.The public broadcaster comes with an ethic and a charter and the regulator puts down the conditions that hold for all license holders. For example, the issue of good taste and decency - refraining from violence and pornography in media, considerations on advertising and children's programming etc. should be a part of the regulation as well as public service broadcasters' own code of ethics. (Best practices: Australian regulation—broadcasters are invited to formulate their own norms to formulate the content code and then submit to the regulator—approve and register the code for all to follow).

23. Self regulation should be encouraged by the regulator.

24. In cases of complaints about non-compliance, there are different possibilities:

1. A review committee constituted by the broadcaster (but consisting of members outside the corporation/company)

2. Independent regulator appointing a review committee who are authorized to look into complaints
Both possibilities have pros and cons. A combination should therefore be adopted.

25. Guidelines on elections coverage should be clearly formulated so that broadcasters provide impartial coverage.

26. The guidelines on responses of the broadcaster to disaster, crises, and national emergencies including war should be formulated.

 

Funding the regulator

27. Tax on advertising income of licensed broadcasters could be channeled into funding the regulator so that regulator has independence from undue pressures. But this has a potential danger of the regulator issuing too many licenses in search of funds.


Democracy, Freedom of Expression and Development of Broadcasting

28. Many countries in Asia became truly democratic only when commercial television started producing free, independent news service. The policy makers could take an active policy to strengthen the environment of the media debate as a part of creating democratic environment. (Case study: One of the radio channels of KBS was changed into a news channel -news, interviews and debates. That news channel has helped to create an awareness, acceptance and appreciation of the independence of the broadcaster.)

29. In some countries, freedom of expression is guaranteed and there is a free press, multiple channels with news and current affairs. Why should there be a PSB in such countries? Why not allow the state broadcasters to continue as they are? To answer this question we need to ask others. Are the commercial channels serving all communities? Do they touch all issues? How can we ensure that the commercial broadcasters besides their own economic interests serve the interest of the public? Moreover, will the state broadcasters be able to retain any audience since they are losing credibility? How will the expenses on the state broadcasters through public funding be defended if they do not serve any purpose for the public?

Going to Public Service Broadcasting

30. If there is an independent regulatory body, which issues guidelines to be followed, the employees may have some amount of protection in taking independent editorial judgments.

31. The quality of people working in the news department is crucial.They have to be highly professional for the organisation to be credible. Credibility comes in having adequate balance in debates and giving voice to all sections of society This is a mandate of PSB and its demonstration of responsibility to society.
Civil service mentality is very difficult to change.The transition from a bureaucrat to a professional broadcaster is difficult. There are government regulations about govt. employees and ultimately there will be loyalty to where the salary comes from. Mindset of the people operating the broadcast sector would also play a part in determining the editorial independence. Who nominates the CEO also determines the tendency to succumb to the pressures.

32. It is to be also noted in this context that there are private commercialTV stations,which are friendlier to the government than PSB, for their private gains.
When broadcasting organisations move towards PSBs, policy makers should be requested to create as many rules and regulations as necessary to create checks and balances. Trust in the relationship between the state and the broadcaster is the most crucial in this step.

33. When the transition in going to PSB is made, audience must get the impression that the times have changed and that the broadcaster has become independent.The style of production, interviews etc should change. It should not appear that the reporter is know-towing to the political forces, or are servile to the political or economic powers.

 

Media ethics

Besides political pressures, commercial bodies in the society also may put pressures on broadcasters. Corruption in media is not unknown. Media plays the role of a watchdog in the society. The question is who will watch the watchdog? How would complaints against the newsroom be tackled?

Broadcasters and regulators should be requested to encourage creation of citizens media groups as an important step in ensuring that the newly formed Pubs are performing as per their mandate. Such groups will also play a role in reigning in errant commercial broadcasters.

If journalists are not paid well, there might be built-in corruption. Better-trained and better-paid staff is necessary components of PSB. If necessary, when a public broadcasting is turned into a PSB, the quantity of staff may be reduced to improve the salary of professionals Contract employees and freelancers may be used to overcome the problem of recruitment and also to bring in independent thinking.

Possibilities of corruption go down to the journalist Changing the mindset is difficult. It is necessary to admit that an innocent gift can lead to "envelope culture" and take proactive steps to reduce the chances of corruption.

Broadcasting is a job, which is different from other jobs. Responsibility to society is a hallmark of the profession. Staff members who are not satisfied should be encouraged to leave if not satisfied economically.

Civil service employees are bound by challenging and tight works rule s .If a journalist is found taking money for biased reporting, he or she should be immediately fired. But a civil servant cannot be easily fired. Rewarding the employees is also difficult. Even if a journalist does good work in the state broadcasting organisations, he/she cannot be rewarded. So creativity and initiative has no incentive in state broadcasting. So motivation level is usually very low.

Besides independent funding, management of any new PSB plays a role in deciding how independent it is. A lot depends on the CEO and the top management.A lot depends on the creativity and research of the people working in the organization.

Funding of Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting requires a significant amount of public funding. Multiple sources of income are the only way to ensure that the broadcaster does not succumb to, pressures.This can be:

  • Funding from Government with a mechanism to keep

          editorial independence.

  • Advertising and sponsorship tightly controlled by a policy.
  • License fee
  • Voluntary donations from members of the public Special taxes etc.

There is a perception that PSB is not viable enough and this is taken as the argument for augmenting the PSB finances with public funding.This need not necessarily be true.

There are a number of ways in which funding can be managed. One of the approaches would be to get the staff more involved and committed to the new management, is to get them to invest in the channel.The staff can be paid a basic salary plus commission.This would increase independence and commitment, while bringing in more funds.

If funding through license is chosen, then there will be additional income. If broadcasting is supported by government funding, independence should then be ensured by an act of Parliament through acts that ensure the editorial independence of Public Service Broadcasting.

Public accountability

Through audience research, focus group discussions and audience forums, the PSB should be in constant touch with the public to cater to public interests. Besides the public service broadcaster should have a mechanism to consult the public about its policies.

The public should also have access to complaints and redressal mechanism.

Publicly approved auditor is should be appointed to keep the financial transactions of PSB transparent.

Mandate and role of both the broadcaster and the regulator should be clearly formulated so that recourse to courts can be taken whoever the one or the other oversteps the boundaries.

Additional but nominal tax may be used for funding monitoring of media. But perhaps more effective is encouraging the formation of citizens media groups as watchdogs on media. Such groups have a role to play in reminding the PSB and other broadcast organisations about their social accountability

Violence on screen in children's programmes can be reduced if the monitoring committee's reports are widely disseminated to increase the awareness of parents, educators and concerned citizens.

Strengthening Public Service Broadcasting

PSB organisations are encouraged to produce quality programmes useful for all linguistic sections of the society. Quality of programmes is quite difficult to measure. PSB programmes are not designed for everybody at the same time. There is a target group for every programme. The measure is how the target audience receives the programme. So commercial broadcasters may appear to get more viewer ship than PSB even if quality is attended to.

To compete with the commercial sector, shorter and superficial but attractive formats are sometimes resorted to, instead of longer, in-depth programming. PSB should focus on public interest rather than compete with commercial broadcasters for audience share.

Interviewing techniques of reporting have to be used in a mature manner, not allowing anybody to get away without counter questions and challenges.Asking difficult questions in interviews may be inhibited because of fear or tradition. Preparation in advance is very necessary. It has to be taken in the spirit of a game: The reporter has to win the game by asking the questions which may sometimes be disliked by the interviewee.

Good research is an important component of investigative journalism—which of course, has ethical issues connected with it—and the basis for conducting a good interview.

There are a lot of instances when the editor is in a difficult position where strained relationships with other countries are concerned. Professional opinion or personal conviction is sometimes disregarded because of verbal directives or blocking out of news items.

Newsroom is crucial to foreign relations. But a PSB gives more freedom and independence to the broadcaster. To be free is also to be responsible. So it is the responsibility of the broadcaster to apply conflict reduction or conflict resolution techniques as a part of professional ethics. It is not as a part of the interest of the government, but in the interest of the public.

PSB journalist reads, understands, checks and if need be, takes a different approach from the handout. The PSB journalist takes a proactive and not reactive attitude, not waiting for the story, but looking for it. He or she asks: why are things happening the way it is?

Multinational character of the broadcasting media influences not only the content but also the style.

Training

Very few broadcasting organisations are prepared to fund training. Budget for training often is looked at as a cost or expense and not as an investment. The first to be hit by budget reduction is training and then the technical spare parts.

In-house training schools, where they are established, are found teaching bad habits because usually journalists who are not good in their jobs become trainers. Training is at the bottom of priority. So basic training is not available. There are of course, a few exceptions to this general rule. In 1999, for example, BBC had allocated 30 million pounds for training. In Malaysia, license fee can be used for funding training.This is to encouraging the service providers to invest in training. Quality management standards like ISO also stresses training.

Broadcasters are requested to allocate 1% of their budget for training.

Broadcasters should be encouraged to get access to most advanced digital technologies to take advantage of the new technologies.This also leads to the need for training.Young people must be told what they are doing wrong. Only with relevant feedback will any improvement take place.

Training in Information Technologies is very important for PSBs. Multi-skilled people helps to cut down the staff. LMS helps to create a lean and efficient management system.

Broadcast journalists especially those from Public Service Broadcasting organisations must be trained in media laws.

Creation and use of self-training materials will reduce the training costs in the long run. It can also become a source of revenue.

In organisations, which are distributed in different parts of a country, distance education would provide a viable solution. Training in new media will assume more importance in meeting the training needs.

Broadcast journalists must be trained in reporting on different cultures and religions, without bias or prejudice

 

Management and Administration

Too much staff may disguise unemployment but leads to a situation where no funds for anything else but salary.The job of broadcasters is to make programmes and adequate funds need to be allocated for making quality programmes.

Organisational charts of some broadcasting organisation show too many management positions. Management has to have the wit and courage to face the transition to a lean, professional staff. It takes years to change. Decide now and start correcting the system at the earliest.

Managers are there to manage the production of good quality programmes. Even the Director General is there to support the programme makers. Management must focus on this. Broadcasting organisations must realize that their raison d'etre is not to run canteens etc. and that these functions can be easily out-sourced.

The process of employing people for life is a matter of the past. Permanence is inconceivable in broadcast industry. So only short-term contracts be given.Not recruiting people who are not good for the organisation is an important criterion for successful organisations.

The managers are encouraged to practice results based management and provide training in performance appraisal etc. These are necessary to provide better workplace with lesser people and yet have more productivity

Some organisations in some countries used the golden handshake to build their future.This has to be used carefully, since people who are good in their jobs may the first to leave since they are sure of opportunities elsewhere, leaving behind less efficient and effective workforce. The management must make sure that they retain the best people through regulated voluntary retirement and if necessary, use leadership skills and persuasion to retain good personnel. Many people leaving the organisation means loss of organisational memory.This should be guarded against.

Putting an age limit for voluntary retirement can easily retain young people.

Redeploying people in other areas is another solution though it may mean retraining for redeployment.Training for creating a staff of multi-skilled people capable of multi-tasking is an important step. This may pose difficulties in some cases because all are not equally comfortable with adapting to new digital technologies, new work environment or new job descriptions.

There is an onus on creativity in any broadcasting organisation. But people should not be recruited as if they are equals. Presenters are not the same as producers—each has his/her own talents, skills and ego. For drama, a dialogue writer is needed—different from prose writers. Managers have to learn the trick of getting teams together. Sometimes it is administrative, sometimes creative—except newsroom, which is supposed to be accurate.The concept of multi-skilling is applicable to only certain extent. There are
different expectations for different jobs and there is a need for special skills, attitudes and talents.

Multi-skilled people—producers who can script, edit etc. reduces the expenses. But in some cases specialisation improves the quality of the product.

In multiskilling the personnel, there should be some clarity on what kind of skills can be combined. One technical person to handle camera, sound and light is quite possible with today's technology.

The other is to have the reporters covering stories for both radio and television news.

Reporters going out on their own, do camera work, come back and edit their stories by themselves are not unknown in news. People working on documentaries can also take a little bit of multiskilling. But there are limitations in some other formats. For example, drama requires more human resources, so do sports events.

Reporters can edit. But sometimes in documentaries and current affairs programmes the concentration on the making of the programme can take away the focus on interpreting the events for the target audience. Ultimately the decision on how many people are used should be based on the nature of the assignment. There are no formulae.

Studio lighting, design and erection of the set, etc. can be shared responsibility. The interactive and participatory nature of such assignments can also lead to stimulation of more creativity among the personnel.

Multiskilling of management and administration is easy and quite necessary.

Many of the support functions should be shared between departments.

The managers are encouraged to re-analyse the work, rationalise job descriptions and to train the workforce in broadcasting sector.

Management must control finances but must also recognise the implications of too much control. A rate card—particularly in TV—which spells out the cost of cameraman, studio etc. - is important to really estimate costs. The outflow of finances in an established broadcast set up is only the marginal costs for travel etc. No idea should be accepted without looking at the real costs involved. A good manager will look at the cost of the people including himself/herself.

Process management is equally important.A re-examination of the process of programme production should be undertaken to reduce redundancy and un-necessary/unproductive steps.

Setting down the values—what is it that we are working for—is usually very complex but extremely important in a broadcasting organisation.

There has to be a strategic plan with a vision and a mission. Planning long term is absolutely necessary—as much as the willingness to change and adapt to the ever-changing technological environment.

Leadership within the institution also plays a major role. The leader can provide the inspiration to do proper research and to produce balanced and fair reporting. He or she can create a culture of true professionalism. Management within broadcasting institutions is not very different from any other management- ISO and ISAS certification can improve the quality of management and the credibility of the organisation. It may not matter much where the funding comes from if the top management determined on freedom and independence.

 

2007
Open Space Technology Workshop on Asia-Pacific Approach on Public Service Broadcasting, May 2007, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Partners: FES

 

About 36 delegates came prepared to be surprised in The World Cafe (TWC) and Open Space Technology (OST) session on 28 May 2007 to explore the theme "Open Space:AnAsia -PacificApproach To Public Service Broadcasting" After a day of passionate discussion, seven (7) topics were generated, 82 ideas were created of which 15 were voted and short-listed. Out of the 15 short listed ideas, 9 had implementation champions. We are seeking champions for the remaining 6.
The 7 topics were:

1. How do we mainstream PSB? Do we really need the shift to PSB?

2. What is your vision on the administrative structure of a PSB Organisation?

3. What is your definition of Public Service Broadcasting?

4. Mechanisms to engage the public (i.e. citizens) in PSB (eg. Listeners' & Viewers' Forums)

5. How to improve & strengthen PSB through capacity building & training? Training & Formation. What kind of persons could qualify for PSB?

6. How do we protect PSB against censorships (external / internal)? How can we structure an independent media community/ombudsman and implement it?

7. How de we finance PSB? How de we make PSB programmes more attractive?

9 out of the 15 short listed ideas with implementation champions are:

Idea

1. PSB can become an effective sustainable endeavor if mainstreamed.

2. Champions on PSB to organise and lobby for the mainstreaming of programmes.

3. Provide a forum where listeners can be content providers.

4. Regular orientations, consultations on development issues & concerns.

5. Develop a code of conduct based on based on values in line with established ethics

6. The forming of an independent pressure group - a global organisation with local chapters (eg.TI)

7. 2% tax to be imposed on advertising budgets, which should be given to PSBT, to be distributed for PSB programming on a competitive basis.

8. Use soaps, reality TV, quiz, comedies popular entertaining genres) to promote educational messages like population, health, literacy....

9. Conduct an audience survey to determine what the audience wants to see or hear.


6 out of the 15 short listed ideas without implementation champions are:

1. The state media structure be converted to PSB.

2. The composition of the board should be multi-cultural, multi-sectoral.

3. Need to go beyond consumers, they should address all citizens.

4. Retrain top management of PSB to change 'mind sets'

5. Make PSB commercially viable by producing entertaining,
educational programmes which can be sponsored/funded/
exported
6. PSB could secure alternate revenue means from event management, commercial productions, etc