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Cultural Dilemmas in Public Service Broadcasting
In recent years public service broadcasting seems caught in a radicalized dilemma between two obligations. To serve and preserve national culture and identity has for decades been an essential mandated obligation. At the same time, being a ‘window to the world’ has also been central to the remit. How can PSB handle the challenges of being custodians of diluted national identities amid a variety of heterogeneous cultures on the one hand, and simultaneously acting as explorers of global orientation on the other? The ideal of serving an Enlightenment mission has always been central to the PSB role and function, to its legitimating remit. This mission is a defining strand in the DNA of public service broadcasting and it is still relevant today because many of the cultural issues it was originally instituted to partially address are recurrent and growing uncertainties in light of globalization. Integration and fragmentation is a fundamental contradiction of our day. Although the traditional Enlightenment mission is no longer operable, developing a newly enlightened cultural mission is essential for PSB legitimacy. Thus, cultural dilemmas in public service broadcasting framed the RIPE@2004 conference – Mission, Market and Management: Public Service Broadcasting and the Cultural Commons.
The authors in this volume discuss the contemporary relevance of PSB as a culturally obligated and culturally oriented enterprise. They do this from many perspectives and focussed on various dimensions that, taken together, clarify why public service broadcasting is about much more than transmitting content. The issues treated herein speak fundamentally to how broadcasting ought to be socially harnessed, at least in fair measure, to beneficially serve a variety of contemporary cultural demands.