Public Service Broadcasting\Media; Cornerstone of Democracy

Public Service Broadcasting\Media; Cornerstone of Democracy

Rusul AS-Sabah

Recently a book has been published in Arabic and English by the International Center for Human Sciences- Byblos/UNESCO and Ministry of Culture (Lebanon) with the title "Public Service Broadcasting\Media; Cornerstone of Democracy" for the Iraqi researcher and journalist " Awsam Majid Ghanim".

The book described "Public Service Broadcasting" and tried to put information as much as possible, which explains the concept and what is going on around it, it also covered the common themes contained in the sources of Public Broadcasting. Mostly, relying on the literature of the United Nations in English and the international media associations. The Arabic library has a weak interest about this subject because of the use of power to media, and there is only a small amount of researches.

The book's conclusions can be summarized with the following:

The Concept Of Public Service Broadcasting:

The concept of Public Service Broadcasting refers to the responsibility of the state to provide democratic media that is independent of any political or commercial pressure, and works according to the public interest of the community in all its categories without any exclusion.

Recently, Public Service Broadcasting is referred to "Public Service Media" in order to deal with the public through digital media platforms.

The Concept Reference:

The term "Public Service Broadcasting" was shown with radio in 1920 in the United Kingdom for the interest of providing citizens with the participation means of public communication. Public Service has a depth derived from the idea of public interest and public administration in England at the end of the fifteenth century, and the subsequent of economic developments that created the emergence of public right principle, where citizens were given freedom of opinion and debate in the public domain.

The concept of the Public Service Broadcasting is linked to the term "Public Space" produced by the philosopher Immanuel Kant, who brought it to circulation when he gave a great importance to the Public Space in forming opinions and ideas.

The discussion or dialogue inside public Spaces within the framework of rationality, clarity, transparency, morality, non-exclusion and violence contributes to the treatment of social problems and establishes the ethics of the contemporary society. As Jürgen Habermas says.

The Broadcasting Classification:

There are many categories for broadcasting or media, most notably is the modern classification which divides broadcasting into: Public Service Broadcasting, Government Broadcasting, and Commercial / Private Broadcasting.

The Standard:

The contemporary normative model reached by societies is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which included in article 19 communication and media. Universal human rights standards are the philosophical form of the Public Service Broadcasting role in society, and the range it works in.

Setting up Public Service Broadcasting Standards:

In the course of its tasks, Public Broadcasting is expected to contribute to wider and longer benefits to the entire society, through accessible programs to all residents, taking into account all interests, and this is what the minority receives. And to keep away from special interests of the government.

Public Service Broadcasting Standards:

It has been shown that there are six standards for the Public Service Broadcasting, applying them leads to the supposed role of the service towards the community. They are: Universality, Diversity, Independence, Distinctiveness, Accountability and Innovation.

Application Of Standards:

The application of Public Services Broadcasting to its standards is based on a set of principles, including: being non-partisan and non-profit, only for the public interest, and provide national coverage, complemented by regional services, and comprehensive balanced news, it should be a forum for public discussion through talk shows, and has innovative, diverse, and authentic programs. It must be appropriately and safely funded to protect it from arbitrary interference.

The Duality Of Public Service Broadcasting And Democracy:

Public Service Broadcasting is the form of media that democratic countries must provide to their societies. It is a critical, cultural, and democratic factor, as it promotes social, political, cultural citizenship and social cohesion. Thus, the function of the Public Service Broadcasting in society is linked to a fundamental relationship with democracy.

Public Service Broadcasting In Elections:

Public Service Broadcasting is the institution that is able to provide a neutral media coverage of the elections through the balanced, in-depth and detailed preparation of electoral coverage at the highest level of integrity and objectivity.

Strengthening The Public Service Broadcasting Of Civil Society:

Public Service Broadcasting reinforces the civil society, through the non-discrimination of any party in any of its programs. It is an essential tool for ensuring pluralism and social harmony.

Funding The Public Service Broadcasting:

The production of high quality programs according to the standards of Public Service Broadcasting, requires a large and stable source of income. There are four forms of funding: funding through government grants, funding from license fees, hybrid funding, and funding from production houses.

Internet And Public Service Broadcasting:

The role of the Public Service Broadcasting in the digital age is to protect the society from the comprehensive unilateralism in the multimedia world by creating a social bond. It is a reliable source that can be depended on, at a time when there is not much reliable information.

The Environment Of Public Service Broadcasting:

The political environment of the community is an important foundation for the expected role of the Public Service Broadcasting. Sometimes the environment is not appropriate, such as social and political problems and divisions, or when there is no promotion to the idea of public service and a social medium that is ready and able to support the service. The Public Service Broadcasting may also be in front of great commercial competition. All of that puts the Public Service Broadcasting in a difficult challenge, and it has to work harder to protect the society.

Organization And Accountability:

The Public Service Broadcasting is supposed to be administratively organized independently of direct government control and any form of political pressure. This is achieved through a board of trustees acting as a barrier between the activity of General  Manager of the service and the political authority. On the other hand, this freedom must be accountable to specific authorities, in a particular, transparent, and explicit manner to ensure the independence of the service.

Arabic Public Service Broadcasting:

Media models in the Arab countries are generally not independent and subject to many pressures, and they do not achieve The Public Service with a comprehensive horizon. There is also a great mix between Public Service Broadcasting and Government Broadcasting. Some assume that they are synonymous concepts, while they are radically different.

The law of Arabic media institutions funded by public funds is not required to work under the Public Service Broadcasting explicitly, except Iraq, via Iraqi media network "IMN".