• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Construct a Defence of Public Service Broadcasting based on its role in reflecting national identity. What drawbacks does this approach to P.S.B have?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Construct a Defence of Public Service Broadcasting based on its role in reflecting national identity. What drawbacks does this approach to P.S.B have? The future of the Public Service Broadcast is currently much debated. The introduction of services such as Digital and Cable television, where viewers only pay for the channels they want to watch, and which are not bound to Public Service Broadcasting regulations gives rise to the call for changes to be made in the regulating of terrestrial television, and the license fee to be abolished. This essay will aim to illustrate how valuable Public Service Broadcasting is, particularly in creating a sense of national identity and consider the drawbacks this approach has. The underlying beliefs of Public Service Broadcasting have foundations in Reithian Values. Lord Reith, the Managing Director of the British Broadcasting Company from 1923 to 1926 produced a manifest in 1925 outlining his recommendations for a broadcasting service. The original concept of Public Service Broadcasting was a public utility that would regulate radio and television, and have a social responsibility to broadcast quality programmes that created and maintained an informed electorate. As Tracey suggests in his book "The Decline and Fall of Public Service Broadcasting" "through the diversity and quality of its programmes - we can be better than we are: better served, better amused, better informed, and thus, better citizens." (1998, p.19). Broadcasters would also have a responsibility to express the majority views of society, "the middle ground upon which all men of good sense could agree" (Curran, J P.296). At the same time, it would also allow minority voices to be heard. Reithian ideas still form the main purpose of the BBC today. As outlined on their website, the BBC aims "to enrich people's lives with great programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain." (2004) Public Service Broadcasting is hard to define, although it has often been interpreted as having four meanings; good television, worthy television, television that would not exist without some form of public intervention and the institutions that broadcast this type of television. ...read more.

Middle

(2004) This model supports the social responsibility theory, the media has an obligation to society, and the government regulates them to ensure that they are acting responsibly. Therefore the state intervenes to a certain extent to ensure that society's expectations are being fulfilled, and "broadcasters operate in the public interest and are responsive to public opinion". (Seaton, 1991, p301). Having considered the role of the state in public service broadcasting, it is necessary to reflect on the distinction between Nation and the State. One way of defining nationalism is the groups that people divide themselves into, for example, a cultural or ethnic group. Each nation should have its own state, i.e. although England is part of the United Kingdom, it has its own set of values such as a flag and football team for example, that creates an English state. Therefore it is apparent that Nation and State are not the same. National Identity is about defining groups by similarities such as accents or languages. In his book "National Identity", A. Smith proposes that national identity is defined by ethnicity, "an ethnic group is a type of cultural collectivity, one that emphasises the role of myths of descent and historical memories, and is recognised by cultural differences like religion, customs, language or institutions." (1991 p20) He goes further to list six attributes of ethnic community; a collective name, a myth of common ancestry, shared historical memories, one or more differentiating elements of common culture, an association with a specific homeland and a sense of solidarity for significant sectors of the population. Therefore the Public Service Broadcast's role of reflecting National identity consists of trying to create a national identity for Britain - a sense of what Britain stands for. In "Understanding Television" Scannell summarises how broadcasters achieve this through the variety of programmes they produce. "The idea of a national culture was given new expression in broadcasting through those kinds of programmes that had the effect of making the nation as one man." ...read more.

Conclusion

Finally, through the introduction of services such as digital and satellite television, "it becomes clear that the sets of principles through which the idea of public service broadcasting was articulated have a precarious social, political, economic and cultural anchorage." (Tracey, 1998, p.33) Digital broadcasting opens up an enormous variety of channels to viewers, including international channels which are subject to minimum regulation. These developments make the Public Service Broadcasts notion of national television less credible, because audiences have now become fragmented, "satellite will accelerate the decline in audiences for existing networks: more viewing opportunities will mean fewer viewing hours". (Seaton 1991, p.240) Consequently, a decline in viewing figures restricts programme commissioning, as outlined by the White Paper in the 1990's; one hour of commissioned programming could cost up to �20,000. In comparison, an hour of American television could be bought for �2,000. Inevitably, the mass public and government have been calling for a review of the television license. Digital Broadcasting enables viewers to pay for just the channels they wish to watch, including the BBC and ITV. Therefore why should an additional payment be made in the form of the licensing fee, particularly if people choose not to watch the BBC? In conclusion, it seems inevitable that public service broadcasting will eventually cease to exist. The license fee will be abolished and replaced with some other form of funding such as through advertising revenue. This will lead to a rise in competition for viewing figures and funding. Good quality programmes will cease to be commissioned as cheaper programmes are imported by digital channels. Whilst people may believe that a wider range of channels means a freedom of choice for the viewer, without doubt, with a lack of regulation to maintain programmes of an informative and educative nature, "the new stations will naturally turn, like their American counterparts, to the common denominator of pop, chat, soap and sport." (Seaton, 1991, p241). The lack of British programmes, defining what Britain stands for will eventually indicate the demise of a national identity. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Television & Radio Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Television & Radio Studies essays

  1. 'The age of Public Service Broadcasting is over'.

    This body of regulation was later succeeded by the Independent Television Commission in 1991. 4. In 1949 the first Committee on Broadcasting was set up, which included a Minority Report by Selwyn Lloyd. In this report Lloyd stated "I believe that the only effective safeguard (against the dangers of monopolistic powers)

  2. 'The Golden Age of British Television'Discuss and account for this view of television in ...

    (Christopher, D.: British Culture; An introduction', page: 113) ITV as a commercial television had an absolutely different goals than BBC, it wanted to catch the people's attention, and they wanted them to watch their advertising, so their main focus was on the entertaining programmes. Instead of creating their own film etc.

  1. What has been the social, cultural, political and technological impact the TV programme Big ...

    However, he embarrassed himself by camply dancing in a red leotard and imitating a cat drinking milk. This is perhaps what he is most famous for to the nation, not his liberal views or stance on the Iraq war. To the politically-inclined he is known for campaigning for the end

  2. This essay aims to address the role of the BBC in the past, at ...

    to allow for an opinion to be formed within the public sphere. Thornham et al. talk about the public sphere as being a "layer located within civil society that sits between government and the people" (1999) This public sphere is a space where information is disseminated, and issues and ideas

  1. This essay will discuss the representation of crime in the media in relation to ...

    Stereotyping African Americans is a major aspect that news reporters are very cautious of and try to avoid it as it causes racial controversy. In some newsrooms, producers have adopted proactive procedures to make as certain as possible that black people are not automatically seen as the villains in crime reporting.

  2. REALITY SHOWS AS A REFLECTION OF A CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY

    The viewers become grateful and don?t even pay the attention what is really happening in the show, because the ?IT? celebrity gave an opportunity and flattered the viewers by letting them into their world. The biggest problem with this type of show is that the young viewers get confused with what is normal and what is not.

  1. My essay is based on how Blacks and Arabs are represented in the media, ...

    The Johnson (Blacks) and Masoud (Asians) families play a passive role contributing to the decorative props in Eastenders. People of colour are not held to be capable of initiating activity or of controlling their own destiny and are allocated marginal identities by whites.

  2. The Portrayal of Women in The Walking Dead TV Show.

    One thing that she is passionate about, however, is her daughter, Sophia. Unfortunately, toward the beginning of Season 2, Sophia is lost in the woods after being chased by a rogue zombie. Carol initially blames herself for Sophie?s disappearance, but she soon turns her anger on Rick.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work