Consultancies to help transform State Broadcasters into Public Service Broadcasters
A Workshop for Director-level staff of SSBC took place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 31 January 2018 to 4 February, followed by a week's training for engineering staff and then another week for programme staff.
Yoshinori Sawa, Head of the JICA Expert Team, on the left, then Koji Nakai, JICA Project Expert, beside him, at the Workshop in Kigali It was run by NHK International, under the leadership of Yoshinori Sawa, and funded by the Japanese International Aid Agency, JICA.
The Workshop and training is part of a 5 year programme, which has been assisting SSBC since 2013, and ends by September this year. Much-needed modern broadcasting equipment has also been provided by JICA to keep the organisation broadcasting, despite electricity outages and damaged and defective transmitters. A lack of studios, and functioning modern equipment, makes each day of successful broadcasting something of a miracle. Staff have also suffered greatly from irregular payment of salaries over recent years.
With help from International Broadcasting Consultant, Elizabeth Smith, of Transforming Broadcasting, and NHK International staff, a Medium/Long Term Road Map was drawn up at the Workshop. Progress has already been made in introducing a new PSB constitution for SSBC, but much still needs to be done to complete the transformation. Bringing about change is difficult at a time when the top priority for the Government is the security 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.
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
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Elizabeth Smith, O.B.E.
Tel: +44 20 7226 3519
Fax: +44 20 77354 0188