Relevance and Impact: Universalism and PSM in the age of “Information Disorder”

Research

[Working Paper for the RIPE@2018 Conference]

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This paper seeks to contribute on debates about the universal relevance and impact of public service media, specifically in terms of (1) how disinformation and the broader information disorder adds a new dimension to the universalist mission,  (2) how it provides new opportunities to collaborate with audiences and co-creators, and (3) how it could impact media policy today.

The discussion is based on a policy brief for the Council of Europe and a related White Paper for the Central European University, Center for Media, Data and Society, on shared challenges of public service broadcasting around the world, and an overview of the role of PSB/PSM institutions in Europe in countering disinformation and distrust of audiences. It is obvious that “fake news” is not only a European phenomenon. It is also clear that public service media in different European countries differs greatly, as do manifestations and the scope of information disorder. At the same time, the issues  that emerge in the current media ecosystems in Europe illustrate broader dilemmas of universalism today for PSM organizations, as well as opportunities for new kind of universal relevance and impact.

Old is New Again: Public Service Media Rebuilding Trust

Good News, Research

Public service media, in its different reiterations, is needed more than ever to support and defend democracy.

While political and cultural contexts, organisational configurations, funding models and resources, even programmatic priorities and technological capacities may differ, the unifying characteristics remain: the basic, traditional mission and remit of quality services to all kinds of audiences. And while pressures on public service media mount all around the world, there are many strategies that exemplify and support that mission. This was the powerful message of  the PMA Conference Speak Out! Rebuilding Trust in Media and Democracy, in Kingston, Jamaica, 13 August 2018.

See my report on the conference, here.

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Public Service Media and Information Disorder

Research

Screen Shot 2018-05-26 at 8.07.47 AMPublic service media (PSM) institutions around the world exist in challenging conditions: not only do the commercial counterparts claim that PSM is distorting the market, governments are increasingly meddling with content and tightening financing for these institutions. This is an alarming trend in times of viral misinformation, filter bubbles, distrust of media, and global political and economic turbulence.

This White Paper for the Center for Media, Data and Society, Central European University, paper builds on the Center’s public media speakers series, focusing on a specific challenge for public service media: “#fakenews” and #disinformation, or more broadly, the current “information disorder”. The paper draws from the outlined problems and threats, as well as opportunities, strategies, and tactics of public service media institutions around Europe with regard to tackling this challenge.

Download the White Paper here: publicservicemediaandinformationdisorder

Public Media in a Time of Global Reordering: Old Challenges, New Hope

Research

What constitutes “public service media” (PSM) – its remit, its independence, its funding, its organizational configurations – is never set and self-evident. It constantly faces opposition from commercial competitors as well as political actors that seem to manifest in different reiterations year after year.  At the same time, its core values of universal service, public interest, and preservation of national culture can be found also outside of the Western PSM models.

This was the recurring theme in the IAMCR Post-conference Public Service Media in a Time of Global Reordering: Sustainability, Reinvention and Extension (25 June 2018), co-organized by Alessandro D’Arma from Westminster University, Yik Chan Chin from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, and Minna HorowitzThe event featured an array of cases that documented significant challenges but also interesting openings for unconventional and fresh thinking about public service media beyond the European iterations.

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