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Public Service Broadcasting: Law and Policy

Damian Tambini


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Public service broadcasting (PSB) is funded by the public, and regulated to ensure that it serves the → public interest . Public service broadcasters (PSBs) should be distinguished from state broadcasters, which function mainly to serve the interests of the government, and purely commercial broadcasters, which respond primarily to individual consumer choices rather than to any notion of the broader public interest. PSBs are also distinct from nonprofit local “community broadcasters,” which are public-oriented and partly grant-funded, in that PSBs are generally national in scope (→ Community Media ). Almost all countries have some form of national public service as part of their broadcasting ecology, but the size, type, and form of public service broadcasting intervention varies. In Japan and Britain, for example, PSB is funded by a universal license fee and accounts for a significant proportion of all media viewing and listening. In other countries, for example the USA, PSBs rely on less secure forms of funding, such as donations, and only a small fraction of all media use is of PSB content.   The legal basis of the well-established public broadcasting system in Germany can serve as an example for the variety of functions that are expected from the broadcasters. According to German constitutional law scholar Bernd Holznagel, the functional remit of public broadcasters covers eight ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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