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.



Prologue: Quality, Accountability and Assessment

Arne Wessberg

Public Service Broadcasting for Social and Cultural Citizenship. Renewing the Enlightenment Mission

Gregory Ferrell Lowe
Per Jauert

PSB Quality, Performance Assessment and Accountability

Culture and Quality in Broadcast Media. Market Dynamics and Organizational Dependencies

Marko Ala-Fossi

Defining Distinctiveness. In Search of Public Broadcasting Performance and Quality Criteria

Allerd Peeters
Leen d’Haenens
Jo Bardoel

Fine-tuned or Out-of-key? Critical Reflections on Frameworks for Assessing PSB Performance

Tomas Coppens

Which Publics, What Services? British Public Service Broadcasting Beyond 2006

Brian McNair

Israeli Public Television and the Discourse of Program Quality. Broadcasting National History in a Multicultural Society

Eric Saranovitz

PSB Legitimacy in Content and Functions

The Meaning of Broadcasting in the Digital Era

Paddy Scannell

Public Service and Entertainment. A Case Study of Danish Television 1951-2003

Hanne Bruun

Domestically Produced TV-drama and Cultural Commons

Unni From

The Everyday Construction of Mediated Citizenship. People’s Use and Experience of News Media in Denmark

Louise Phillips
Kim Christian Schrøder

Public Service Broadcasting and Cultural Context. Comparing the United States and European Experience

Robert K. Avery

Emerging Strategic Issues for PSB

Building the Digital Commons. Public Broadcasting in the Age of the Internet

Graham Murdock

Balancing Culture and Commerce on the Global Stage. BBC Worldwide

Jeanette Steemers

The Trial by Fire of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Lessons for Public Broadcasting

David Taras
Marc Raboy

Audience Relations in the Changing Culture of Media Use. Why Should I Pay the Licence Fee?

Robert G. Picard

Language, Economics, and Policy. Challenges to PSB in North America and the European Union

Kenton T. Wilkinson

Epilogue: The Public Service Nun. A Subjective Tale of Fiction and Facts

Christian S. Nissen

About the Authors

Printed, PDF
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