This discussion is not limited to news, other aspects of public life are affected. On the one hand the libertarian model – the USA, everything is privatisedOn the other the sovietHealth care, news, natural resources, transport, housing, industry, etc – all possibly nationalised or privatisedNot linked necessarily to democratisationOverall, the west is moving more libertarianPublic sphere vs
Two kinds of non-commercial ownership
Owned and funded by the corpus of users (people)License or taxation (subsidy)Sponsorship or charitableNo shareholdersNo group or individual receives profit Serves the public goodPublic Service implies it’s for the benefit of the public – but isn’t that what all media aims to do?? i.e. serve the public?Means that the broadcaster/media organisation should be publicly owned or regulated to serve the public good rather than for private gain.The first PSB (public service broadcaster) was the BBC in 1927blic – who’s it for? What does that mean? How do you think it’s different to other broadcasters?BBC – First true public service broadcasterGiven Royal Charter to allow broadcasting Funded by annual licence fee – amount set by Government = £145.50 per year Receives money to make programmes FOR ALLhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/licencefee/Subsidies and assistance to provide balance and competitionScandinaviaOther countriesRare
Distinct from public ownership in that there is no transparency or public oversightDirectly funded from taxes and state incomeGreater or lesser control of contentBroadcastersNewspapersTransparency is important, serving the state or serving the publicControl and influence over content is also importantHow to measureMost dominant form of ownership worldwideOwnership does not dictate revenue stream
Commercial ownership comes in two main forms – indvidual/family, and public listedToo much detail in specific arrangementsMost companies now are publicly listed, but individuals may still control the companies through majority shares or voting rightsMost newspapers are commercial ventures
New modelBut Guardian trustAlso Propublica, other charitably funded organisations in the developing worldAmerican PBS and NPRTribune – possible co-op?
So, why do we careAside from the issues regarding the control of resources and the right to make money, news is differentIt is an important resource for the public goodIt is needed for democracy to functionAt certain times, the media infrastructure, especially broadcast, is needed for emergency servicesTRUTH MATTERS!
This is not just a simplistic argument – Murdoch doesn’t have time to control the contentBUT – he (and others) have been known to suppress specific stories (Chris Patten’s book) because of their personal or business interests. Murdoch has an interest in British politics, and the content of his paper will support the side that he wants it toBut they would argue, the free market allows for alternative points of view, so what’s the problem?
Public service broadcasting is supposed to be impartial – doesn’t favour political parties, but also raises issues State-owned institutions support the state, but people tend to support the institutions that give rise to them – would the BBC ever give a voice to people deeply opposed to the principle of the BBCBUT – public oversight makes a differenceMcTaggart lecture 6:55