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Role Of Public Service Broadcasting In Democracy

2936 words - 12 pages

“The concept of needing a license to watch television is probably pretty damn bizarre to anyone outside the UK but it is, unfortunately, a cold hard fact here. The sole purpose of said license is to fund the BBC,… So what do you get for £121.00 a year? Rubbish, that's what. Countless gardening, cooking and DIY programs, and enough God-awful nature shows to turn a die-hard vegan into a ferocious carnivore. Oh sure there are a few decent documentaries, an occasional film that's worth watching and there are some pretty good history programs now and then, but hey, I can see that stuff on the other channels too!".
(Bannister, 2005, pp. 1-2)
This statement of a man named Andy Banister is just one and the simplest of all the critiques on the existence of the Britain Broadcasting Corporation [BBC]. As a lay man, he complained BBC for its high-cultured and unoriginal programs which he thought did not worth the license fee all Britain houses should pay. In fact, the appearance of this sloping statement pragmatically proves that the experts debate on the question “Do public still need Public Service Broadcasting?” deserves more attention.
Public Service Broadcasting [PSB] all over the world tends to appear as government’s responsibility to facilitate the application of public’s freedom of assembly and information. As an appreciation to public’s freedom to assembly, PSB exists as the extension of Habermas’s concept of public sphere as an impartial open arena in which public gather and conduct a dialogue to form a collective understanding among them which then is used as a fundamental principle of internal problem solving as well as the foundation of government’s democratic decision (Hauser, 1998). Here, it can be seen that PSB respects the public as a group of citizens bound by a democratic relationship with the government. Furthermore, related to the information it airs, PSB operates as government’s effort to foster the sense of unity amongst the public via the media. As its operation has a strong relationship with the government, the content aired here tends to match the elite’s interest of high culture and justifies this culture as what public needs (Syvertsen, 2003).
Then, along with the social and economic development marked by public plurality and materialism, the idea of ‘public’ which tends to generalize the society is shifted to a post-modern perspective respecting every member of the society as a unique and autonomous ‘private’ creature. This paradigm then supports the existence of commercial broadcasters which respect the public as consumers by providing them with a wide-range choice of programs and let them choose independently. On the other hand, the supporters of this paradigm see that the operation of PSB which tends to monopolize the media landscape and dictate the culture is no longer appropriate. One of them is Elizabeth Jacka. In 2003, she wrote an article claiming that the operation of PSB clashes the principle of democracy...

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