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This book is the result of three conferences held in Uruguay, Paraguay, and El Salvador, to discuss the role of public television in Latin America. The role of public media is making a major readjustment. Worldwide, there is reflection on what should take place in the pluralistic media system that a democratic society must build and nurture. The objective of this book is to identify those formulas that, beyond their theoretical conception, serve in practice – because they are already operating in countries of the region – as an example to make public television comply with the basic mission it shares with the rest of public media to inform, educate and entertain, and to do so because of the autonomy, economic sustainability and quality of its content. The book begins with a historical survey of public television beginning in London. Chapter 2 defines what public television is. Chapter 3 details the various types of programs found on public television. Chapters 4 and 5 explain who controls public TV, and how it is financed. Chapter 6 predicts what the future of public TV will hold, and Chapter 7 concludes with a global proposal for Latin American public media.

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So the long-standing debate about the independence of Italy’s public broadcaster, RAI – addressed in Mapping Digital Media: Italy, and by the Open Media Coalition, Italy’s media reform movement – has now received the Grillo treatment.

Italian comedian Beppe Grillo last week accelerated debate in Italy about the independence of broadcast media and journalism from political interests, releasing poll results showing that, out of 95,000 responses, 99% of respondents wanted a public broadcast channel free from political meddling, and 52% wanted to see more investigative journalism about domestic issues.

Under the hashtag #raisenzapartite (“RAI (the public broadcaster) without the parties”), Grillo wrote a blog post asserting that:

“a part of the Italian population is living in a gigantic “Truman show”, and responsibility for this is entirely due to Italian journalists, with the usual few exceptions and in a country like ours, these exceptions deserve every possible praise. […] RAI has to be reorganised and transformed into a public service following the model of the BBC without any connection to the parties, without advertising, producing quality content that has mainly been produced in-house and not like now, when it’s entrusted to external companies with the building up of one set of costs on top of another. In Parliament, the M5S, in accordance with its programme, will propose the establishment of a single RAI channel, without any connection to the parties and without advertising. It proposes the sale of the other channels.”

It’s sure to be a topic of conversation at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia in two weeks, as Italian journalism already is over at the LSE’s POLIS project. In the meantime, take another look at the MDM Report, which proposed a wider range of media reform measures that could restore independence to Italy’s media:

 

In Zagreb, researchers, journalists and policy-makers from Croatia and beyond have been meeting on October 4th and 5th to discuss Digital Freedom of Expression, and the challenges faced by public media services and non-profit media. (Here’s the conference agenda in Word and as a PDF.) OSF’s own recent Mapping Digital Media report for Croatia covers many of these issues, and you can read it here.

 

Since she couldn’t be in Zagreb in person, Rebecca Mackinnon – co-founder of Global Voices Online, former CNN correspondent, scholar and author – recorded a video message to conference participants, but we think it deserves a wider airing. In it, she urges the news media and journalists to place internet freedom on a par with press freedom – without a free and open internet, she argues, press freedom will face ever more severe threats.

 

 

The existing public broadcasting system is built on the proposition that a certain portion of the broadcast spectrum should be set aside for media with a public mission. However, the emerging craft that is defining full-spectrum public media recognizes that the field of play has expanded tremendously. We are working in accordance with the fact that citizens are not only consuming radio and television over the air, they are downloading, creating, remixing, and sharing all kinds of media on small and large screens, and increasingly, in the street via mobile devices. Multimedia installations once confined to museums are now sprawling out into public spaces exclaiming “this is public media!” Text, image, audio, video and dynamic user-generated submissions are all converging, spawning dynamic new media life forms. Our policies have yet to catch up with this lived practice.