Consultancies to help transform State Broadcasters into Public Service Broadcasters

Elizabeth Smith, Consultant transforming Broadcasting

The consultants are led by Elizabeth Smith, O.B.E., formerly Secretary-General, CBA (Commonwealth Broadcasting Association) and before that Controller English Programmes, BBC World Service. Her original background was as a News and Current Affairs Producer for BBC Radio and TV in London, then Head of Current Affairs of the BBC World Service. She has completed five recent consultancies for South Sudan, and also ones in Sierra Leone, Bhutan, Lesotho and Namibia. She is Chair of the Commonwealth Media Group and a Visiting Fellow with the University of Westminster, which has awarded her an Honorary Doctorate for her work in supporting Public Service Broadcasting.

In April 2013 she completed a report on the future for Public Service Broadcasting Reform in Libya for BBC Media Action

Progress in South Sudan Broadcasting

From June 18-24 2016, Elizabeth Smith of Transforming Broadcasting worked in Juba at SSTVR with the NHK International team on the Project for the Institutional Capacity Development for South Sudan Radio and TV. The focus now is on the preparations for the launch of the the new Public Service Broadcasting Corporation, planned for February 2017. The NHK team, funded by the Japanese Aid Agency JICA, has been helping with skills transfer, technical issues and on drawing up Programme and Operating Guidelines for the new Corporation. A Chairman of the Board for the new Corporation has been appointed, Professor Hai Zaza, and, along with a new Board of Directors and a new DG, James Magok Chilim, he is working on the plans for setting up the the new organisation.

However, the success of the proposed new Broadcasting Corporation is very dependent on whether the Peace Settlement agreed for the establishment of the Transitional Government holds, and on improvements to the very fragile economic situation.

A Road Map to Public Service Broadcasting

Together with its long standing partners, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA), UNESCO has produced A Road Map to Public Service Broadcasting. The book is authored by Elizabeth Smith, former Secretary-General of CBA and now running the consultancy Transforming Broadcasting.

A Road Map to Public Service Broadcasting

UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Janis Karklins, says in his foreword to the publication:

"UNESCO has been committed to promoting editorially independent Public Service Broadcasting as a cornerstone of democracy and inclusive knowledge society. PSB faces few challenges to its role and its resourcing, even in countries where it exists. In some countries it has degenerated into state broadcasting with limited editorial independence and pluralism of expressed views. In other countries, PSB has never been introduced. It is, therefore, important to describe existing strategies and regulations on PSB, and whenever the political opportunity arises suggest the introduction of PSB in a country."

Public Service Broadcasting has been under attack from commercial rivals and from non-broadcast media for many years. Some people, including in Asia and Africa, believe that it is now an outdated concept that belongs to yesterday. In Europe and in some other areas, public service broadcasting is doing well and is leading the digital revolution.

This book makes no effort to cover every country. It focuses on those who have either achieved PSB or are trying to do so. It is aimed at those who are thinking about going down this path, but do not know exactly how to do it.

The publication also tries to open minds to the new opportunities offered to broadcasters by the digital switch-over to lead the way into interactive Public Service Media. There is a window of opportunity to move broadcasting into completely new realms, linking it with the interactivity of the Internet, mobile phones and TV, electronic books and databases.

PSB can also make a major contribution to democratic development. Fair news coverage, in which both good and bad things are reported about the governing and opposition parties, helps the electorate to reach an informed view of the quality of the candidates, and to keep governments accountable. So moving towards Public Service Broadcasting is not just "nice to have". It is a major supporting pillar of a functioning democracy.

The publication is available for download: please click here.

Current Developments in Transforming Broadcasting

Progress in South Sudan Broadcasting - 10th July 2016

Prospects Brighter for the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation - 12th March 2016

Hopes dim for Public Service Broadcasting in South Sudan - 10th March 2015

South Sudan starts setting up its Public Broadcasting Corporation - 22nd November 2014

Moving towards Public Service Broadcasting - Progress in South Sudan - 6th October 2014

Useful Sources

Covering Elections in Small States

Covering Elections in Small States
By Mary Raine

Available in PDF format here via the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association website.

Editorial Guidelines

Editorial Guidelines
By Mary Raine

Available in PDF format here via the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association website.

Guidelines for Broadcasting Regulation

Guidelines for Broadcasting Regulation
By Eve Salomon

Available in PDF format here via the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association website.

Public Service Broadcasting: A Best Practices Source Book
Edited by Indrajit Banerjee and Kalinga Seneviratne Download

Public Service Broadcasting Model Law
By Dr W. Rumphorst Download

Rebuilding Egyptian Media for a Democratic Future
30-31 March, 2011 Download

Contact

Elizabeth Smith, O.B.E.
Elizabeth Smith, O.B.E.


Email: elizabeth.smith226@gmail.com

Tel: +44 20 7226 3519
Fax: +44 20 77354 0188