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Find a beautiful old Street... Not rushing through this time… In a bar where a fat lady reigns supreme…Come in and drink with a false name… In circus clothes forget their pain…They are the zombie bodies… Caught in the glow of the TV screen… Just forget it?”

Çağıl GÜNALP – cakilgunalp@gmail.com

‘Public Broadcasting’ in its most basic form can be interpreted as a category of non-profit and civic media that is pluralistic, which encourages participation, fosters democracy and public good and impartiality… But the role and significance of public media goes beyond that…

French political philosopher Montesquieu in his book, The Spirit of Laws; published three centuries ago, separated government into three branches… the executive, legislature, and judiciary and assigned them their own authority, realm and responsibility… If we consider today’s role of media in shaping public opinion, its impact on state policies, it could be evidently asserted that media tools can be used as domestic and global political “players.” So, can we assign media as a fourth division of separation of powers?

Today in the 21st century, a large number of media channels are being used as a means or tools of manipulation in order to serve various ideological and perceptive objectives due to its links with political and economic authorities… Rather than reflecting reality in an impartial and independent manner, many of those serve interest groups and power elites… By controlling the flow of information; they manage public perception and create their own realities…

As it was highlighted by the French Marxist Philosopher Louis Althusser in his book ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’ published in 1970, media can be regarded as means of states’ ideological tools… According to Althusser; beside media; churches, political parties, schools and trade unions are categorised as a states` ideological tool and are managed by the top members of state authorities to create hegemonic and asymmetric relationships… When we consider detection of Althusser and liberal press theory; Public Service Broadcasting’s significance is crucial to create impartial and people oriented publications…

Since private media channel’s links to political and economic sources are subject to questioning, public media is obligated to pursue depth and educational broadcasting principles and should embrace a policy of equality and pluralism including all ethnic, cultural, gender groups as well as social classes… Moreover, public service broadcasting should be concerned with creating a nurturing learning environment that enables community to engage in qualitative educational, social and art programmes…

Additionally, it might be beneficial to indicate that among the main objectives of public service broadcasting has always been to create new horizons to its audience… Furthermore, even more remarkable, since media has been considered as an informal education medium, public broadcasting corporations endeavour to explore contemporary media approaches, fertile communication mediums and productivity… In that respect, public service broadcasting corporations should fulfil contemporary requirements of its audience and grasp potential of cultural and ethnical heterogeneity…

It is clear to underline that, in the long run, awareness of potential of cultural and ethnical heterogeneity could promote mutual respect, dialogue, multiculturalism, trust, tolerance, empathy and unity among community members…

So, what is the situation of public broadcasting in the Northern Cyprus? Unfortunately, commercial concerns and shallowness dominate public broadcasting principles in the Northern Cyprus… Of course, rarely we come across exceptional cases… Unprecedented forms of mediated social relations are leading people to engage with easily consumed, quickly digested, instantly achieved phenomenon… At the end of the day this situation is shaping public broadcasting approaches… Additionally, it might be argued that, intellectual publishing which its key purpose is to spread principles of humanistic civilization is rarely seen in North Cyprus’s media channels. Thereby, this gap must be filled by public service broadcasting corporations… Enhancing the ability of thinking of the audience, undeniably will contribute to respect of human rights, progressive ideals and peaceful environment…

As it was stated before, principles and mission of public broadcasting can be compiled as; ‘speaking to and engaging as a citizen, universal appeal, attention to minorities, contribution to national identity and sense of community, distance from vested interests, competition in good programming rather than numbers, guidelines that liberate rather than restrict…’ If we consider saturation of commercial broadcasting companies in shaping public opinion; existence of public service broadcasting corporations is more than a requirement… It is a must… Beside their role as a long life learning environment; they can shed important light on clarifying social needs… Therefore, public broadcasting requires endeavour on pluralistic way of publishing, determining and satisfying needs of the whole society…

Not to mention, in order to achieve quality and efficient public service broadcasting, public service corporations should be committed to respecting democratic principles and reflecting the diversity of the community… On further reflection, even more philosophically, triggering community to be able to go beyond imposed ‘cultural codes’ and explore imaginative dynamics; can be accepted one of the ways to cross “imported realities”… Due to saturation of technology; identities are trapped in the unidimensionality… Dystopian, dogmatic, hysterical situation of today’s people are getting more distinctive day by day… In this epoch named Anthropecene, people are desperately using their ‘relatively higher developed’ intelligence in order to destroy collective lifestyle and  ecology. This is undeniable outcome of saturation of technology and easily consumed, shallow and manipulative broadcasting and publications… Significance of public broadcasting precisely lies here… Since, most of the private media channels are tightening boundaries within real life and fictional life; public service broadcasting corporations should clarify blurriness and be impartial and objective…

Additionally, apart from dissemination information and educating masses, public broadcasting might create a fresh angle and should acts ‘as the conscience of society and helps the public to establish public sphere and to providing society with a mirror of itself’. Not to mention, fostering cultural, educational, economic and social development, reinforcing democratic participation while striving for maximum public acceptance is duty for Public Broadcasting.

Due to media channels bond with economic sources, some ethical dilemmas emerge within this relationship… Media channels can be used as an interest tools by some sources or even owner of the channel could be in this position because of the reason mentioned above… As I have pointed on a previous essay of mine named ‘Media, perception and reality’, media can barely be defined as a real experience of social life due to their bond with political and capital sources. Media has been endeavouring to manage perception of audiences rather than reflecting reality… In a nutshell, it promotes consumption and draws an illusion picture of the world in its audiences’ and potential customers’ eyes… Due to that reason, the gap between the imaginary world, which is drawn by media and social experiences of audience, is getting wider. Thereby, subjectivity, reliability of knowledge and legitimacy of media channel’s judgments are still on the agenda of some media theorists. In that respect, significance of the role of public service broadcasting is getting much more crucial… It is being claimed that “Within public broadcasting there are two different views regarding commercial activity. One is that public broadcasting is incompatible with commercial objectives. The other is that public broadcasting can and should compete in the marketplace with commercial broadcasters. This dichotomy is highlighted by the public service aspects of traditional commercial broadcasters. Public broadcasters in each jurisdiction may or may not be synonymous with government controlled broadcasters. In some countries like the UK public broadcasters are not sanctioned by government departments and have independent means of funding, and thus enjoy editorial independence.”… The last example could be role model for Northern Cyprus to set up independent Public Broadcasting centers…

To rephrase all mentioned above; “Public Service Broadcasting should offer content that has integrity, characterised by verifiable and authentic sources, fairness, objectivity, and credibility. It should present creative content, using original materials, fresher and newer content and from a different and diverse perspective. Public Service Broadcasting media must be recognised as autonomous players in the development of the society”. Another vital issue should be concentrated on is editorial impartiality at public service broadcasting corporations… In that sense, public broadcasting corporations should be isolated from direct or indirect pressure of puissance and “Should practice editorial independence in order to protect and enhance free expression and the journalistic and creative functions”. More importantly; they have always be ‘authority of voice, not the voice of authority’…

 

References:

“Public Broadcasting – Why, How?” . UNESCO & World Radio and Television Council

Raboy, Marc (1995). Public broadcasting for the 21st century. Indiana University Press.

Banerjee, Indrajit (2006). Public service broadcasting in the age of globalization. Asian Media Information and Communication Centre

Goran Bregovic – TV Screen

www.aibd.org.my/node/96

 

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