Achieving Viability for Public Service Media in Challenging Settings, the fifth in the CAMRI Policy Brief series was published recently. Authors James Deane, Pierre François Docquir, Winston Mano, Tarik Sabry and Naomi Sakr outline the paths and flexibility of thinking required to promote the cause of public service broadcasting in challenging settings that is arguably needed now more than ever before. As with all titles in the CAMRI series the booklet outlines key messages, the issue, surveys the research evidence and policy options. Each concludes with policy recommendations as how to take this vital media policy areas forward.
The series so far has recommended policy options for an online advertising tax (short and extended versions); AI and the Internet of Things in the UK; the gig economy and mental health; and portraying disfigurement fairly in the media.
In the face of challenges posed by a shifting digital media landscape, an array of international bodies continue to endorse public service media (PSM) as an essential component of democratisation. Yet how can PSM achieve viability in settings where models of media independence and credibility are unfamiliar or rejected by political leaders? The answer lies in a holistic approach that is neither media-centric nor defeatist about PSM’s place in a landscape marked by younger generations’ widespread preference for social media platforms. There are more ways of working towards PSM than are often recognised. Wide-ranging research from media NGOs and academics demonstrates the potential of diverse, incremental approaches to embedding the values and mechanisms of PSM. These are as likely to involve regulatory and licensing institutions, unions of media practitioners, audiences, advocacy groups or social media platforms as content producers themselves. This Policy Brief considers the issues, research and policy options around achieving viability for PSM. It concludes with six recommendations that are relevant to policymakers, practitioners and media studies specialists.