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Public service broadcasting’s continued rude health

Wednesday 25 April 2012, 6.00 - 8.00pm Venue: The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

For the past thirty years, the state’s role in funding broadcasting has been under attack. The rise of free market ideas and considerable scepticism regarding the role of the state and state-owned enterprises signalled a period of decreasing political support for public service broadcasting. The introduction of cable and satellite television and, subsequently, the advent of digital terrestrial television, have also contributed to claims that it is now experiencing a terminal decline.

The British Academy Policy Centre is publishing a comparative overview of public service broadcasting in different parts of the world. The report gives an overview of the various ways in which public service broadcasting is structured and funded, and of the extent to which its output is distinctive, of high quality and capable of making a difference. This comparative perspective should help answer the question of whether public service broadcasting is in decline and assist policymakers in determining whether the objectives that they set for public service broadcasters are commonly shared, and provide some evidence of their feasibility.

The report, authored by Dr Chris Hanretty, Lecturer in Politics at the University of East Anglia, was launched on 25 April at a public event at the British Academy. There was a presentation of the report's findings followed by a panel discussion.

Chair: Baroness Onora O’Neill FBA, Honorary Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy, University of Cambridge; and past President of the British Academy


Dr Chris Hanretty, Lecturer in Politics, University of East Anglia

Professor Ian Christie FBA, Anniversary Professor of Film and Media History, Birkbeck, University of London

Mr David Elstein, Chairman of and the Broadcasting Policy Group and former Chief Executive of Channel 5

Professor Jean Seaton, Professor of Media History, University of Westminster and the Official Historian of the BBC