On air: Does every country need a public service broadcaster?

This BBC row over two of its biggest presenters and a prank phone call shows no signs of abating, and it’s rapidly shifting from a discussion about the merits of what was done on that one show, onto a discussion of the merits of the BBC and public service broadcasting.

How does it work in your country? If you have one, are you satisfied with the role of the public service broadcaster? Does it justify its existence? What, if anything, does it do that commercial broadcasters can’t?

Is the BBC an example of the pros or the cons of a well-funded public service broadcaster? What about in the States where, PBS has a far lower profile on the TV than does the BBC in the UK?

What’s the relationship between your government and the public service broadcaster? Does the PSB provide necessary checks on those in power, or simply help them?

We’d like to hear abut your country and your situation.

128 Responses to “On air: Does every country need a public service broadcaster?”

  1. 1 parth guragain,Nepal
    October 30, 2008 at 14:07

    Here in Nepal we have two kind of broadcasting.one owned by government and one private.government media is a type of media for sopperting every step of government and giving very small space for other parties .

  2. 2 parth guragain,Nepal
    October 30, 2008 at 14:14

    Here in Nepal we have two kind or media.one controlled by government and one private.government media is media only talking about government and excluding other parties.

  3. 3 Tony From Singapura
    October 30, 2008 at 14:19

    Here in Singapore the public content is broadcast by the local “commercial” stations and this is funded by a television/ radio license fee which is approximately SGD 100 / year.

    No this public content is there to support the existance of programs that support the cultural values of the four distinct races that live here – Chinese, Malay, India and Eurasian. All but the Chinese group are in the minority and without the public funding initiative some of these programs or even the stations themselves would just not be commercially viable.

    The other side to the public content of television and radio broadcasting is that the content is highly controlled and monitored by the authorities. This is particularly so with news items.

  4. 4 1430a
    October 30, 2008 at 14:29

    Hello Everyone,
    Well,I think the BBC is the best ever public broadcaster.I would certainly like to have a similar radio broadcaster,but i don’t think its compulsory to have one in everyone country.Its the efficiency that matters,not the fact that every country has a public service broadcaster.The reason for BBC’s success is that it is efficient and extremely informative.

    Thank you

  5. 5 parth guragain,Nepal
    October 30, 2008 at 14:31

    here in Nepal we have private and government broadcaster.government broadcaster generally don’t give space to others and only talk about government issues.

  6. 6 Jackthehat
    October 30, 2008 at 14:32


    The world needs public service broadcasting.
    The public must have unhindered access to the truth – the best way is via psb.
    And in the UK, we’re not too badly done by…though attempts are constantly made, by the government, to deceive us.
    The Ross/Brand fiasco points up BBC independence – and stupidity…but freedom, nonetheless, in the name of public service…though quite whose public was being served by these two glaiks is a moot point!


  7. 7 Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel
    October 30, 2008 at 14:33

    Hi Ros,
    It is good that every country should have PSB as it is in all countries that I know…but what counts here is how these PSB are run…you know like here in Africa these PSB work for governments’ interests…many Africans do prefer foreign media for expression and reliable information

    Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel
    in Cameroon

  8. 8 Roy, Washington DC
    October 30, 2008 at 14:36

    There are news outlets here in the USA that make a point of saying they are fair and balanced, yet they have a reputation for a strong political tilt. Public outlets like the BBC don’t have to worry about pandering to viewers so they can gain those much-needed advertising dollars; they can focus on their main goal instead, which is journalism.

  9. 9 Dan
    October 30, 2008 at 14:36

    There was a time in history wherein the BBC was the hope of the world during the darkness of Nazi oppression and WWII. People clinging by their fingernails to the hope of freedom listened to the BBC.
    During the battle between East & West the BBC was the rock upon which the truth of the conflict was broadcast.
    What is the BBC today? How does the BBC act as an honest broker between civilization and the Islamic world?
    While WHYS is inspired, what is the BBC’s role anymore?

  10. October 30, 2008 at 14:42

    Yes, every country need a public service broadcaster. In Nepal we have also government controlled Television and Radio. Unfortunately till now they are always seen as a speaker of the government. Really not more than this especially in political issues. But nowdays this issue is becoming the major debate issue among stakeholders. And lets hope the situation will be changed soon.

  11. 11 Sylvester Rochea
    October 30, 2008 at 14:51

    Hello Ros, excellent show!!
    Yes indeed Public Broadcasting is critical to the dissimination of objective reporting. In essence, PBS offers an honest, lucid, transparent prospective on news events. I currenly live in NYC and painfully the news is re-cycled to create chaos in the mindset of many Americans. This is tragically demonstrated in their limited view of the world. It is also important to note that some Americans certainly have an objective prospective in their vision of the world, and their surroundings. Respectuflly, Fox-News has shown contempt for professional journalism. They are known for distorting the news, not telling the truth, and also known for currupted journalism. Alternatively, the BBC in the US is viewed with tremendous respect, and integrity. Not perfect in anyway, but quite objective. Without PBS a culture fuels absolute ignorance in their thinking, and prospective on issues that matters most. There is a cultural afinity with Fox-News and Corpoate America, and Politics. The US Presidential contest is aired each day, and Fox has made it a personal, and confrontational mandate to destroy the Democratic contenders -Senator Obama, and Joe Biden. The issues are not discussed openly with a fair balance. Fox-5 presents a platform of personal attacks to win at any cost.

  12. 12 Pangolin-California
    October 30, 2008 at 14:52

    I think every county needs public service broadcast. In my city we have both a National Public Radio station with BBC and a local, volunteer run, community radio station to keep them honest. Lately there has been a new commercial radio station that uses live DJ’s playing that keeps the volunteer stations music a bit more fresh and honest.

    I can’t say how much the importance of competing local voices has done to improve our community. All I know is that all of the different local people on the radio means civic participation of all sorts gets it’s little time slot on the airwaves.

    Diversity rules.

  13. 13 Carrie, Ohio
    October 30, 2008 at 14:54

    I feel that PBS here in the states is an essential part of our culture. The PBS station in our area broadcasts educational programming that would not be broadcast otherwise. Cultural, historical, educational, and local programming is not a big part of for profit tv broadcasting. I know that if I put on a PBS program for my youngest, he will be watching something positive, and not something inappropriate for a child. Even some of the “educational” cable channels have children’s programming that is nothing more than mindless drivel. As far as radio goes, I couldn’t live without a public station. That is where I get the majority of my news and information, as well as entertainment.

  14. 14 Brett Barndt
    October 30, 2008 at 14:58

    In the US, we definitely need to expand PBS in the new administrations.

    This election cycle has proven the failure of our current media system to inform voters and make citizens responsible for choosing their government. Politicians in both parties all over the country exploit the information inequalities, but I think the Republicans and Conservatives have more of a long-term view about seeding conservative, divisive politics into privately owned media all over the country. The Bail-out process over one weekend shows just how secretive Congress is since the Pork they put in there didn’t get revealed to the Public until after the bill was signed by those scoundrels!

    Murdoch started this when he was invited to come here by his buddy Ron Reagan to set up talk radio and FOX to break down what had been a pretty monolithic media system that did collaborate more about information getting out and avoiding divisive, racist and other kinds of speech. Murdoch and Conservatives called that the “liberal media establishment” because they promoted voices of feminism movements, civil rights and anti-war which they hated.

    In my hometown, the ‘small town newspaper’ is really part of a 200 paper holding company owned by conservatives in the South. They don’t even have to operate profitably if they are taking a long term view of seeding Conservative thought in these communities over a long horizon. They are a private company so they don’t have to report anything about their profits or losses or even holdings or political contributions. That is exactly what has happened, with outbreaks of racist speech, and obvious dis-information at Palin rallies in these communities where such speech was viewed as inappropriate in public during the Walter Lippman media monolith years.

  15. 15 Bob in Queensland
    October 30, 2008 at 15:09

    Need? No. However, at it’s best a public service broadcaster can produce programmes and genres that a commercial broadcaster would never touch.

    Alas, at it’s worst they simply compete with the commercial sector for audience numbers which means “lowest common denominator programming. I fear the recent Brand/Ross controversy is an example of this.

  16. 16 gary
    October 30, 2008 at 15:12

    I think PBS in the US does a reasonable job for the amount of funding they are given or can beg. So far, they’ve remained mostly even-handed and centrist in programming, which has left them open to sniping from the right and left.
    This I guess this is the crux of the problem isn’t it? If it wishes to do so, how may one regime ensure that a public service broadcaster remains true to its charge (serving the entire public interest) after its time in office? PBS survived a recent political assault to its existence, and others will surely come. Many people in this country, the current administration being excellent examples, consider the first Amendment, and indeed the entire Constitution, as documents open to broad and often biased interpretation. However, President Bush and company are not unique in their disinterest in strict constructive interpretation of this document. The fact that Homeland Security can monitor this missive is in fact evidence of current deconstructive efforts. In this regard the results of BBC WHYS’ recent little experiment is instructive; it does not take many bad apples to spoil the barrel.
    So, free speech and a public service media upon which it may be practiced are good things, if you can get the, and if you can keep them.

    October 30, 2008 at 15:23

    Hi all
    Sure, every nation needs a psb.In my country Nigeria, the psbs have for a long time been the major source of news for the masses. However, we have withnessed lots of abuses of the public media by the government what I think we need is less govt interference in their programs of psbs and proper funding.

  18. 18 riddler562
    October 30, 2008 at 15:25

    PBS is good, but the BBC is better. I think the BBC has more of an understanding that it’s not only the 7 year olds and 65 year olds that should be part of their demographic.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  19. 19 Anthony
    October 30, 2008 at 15:26

    PBS is good, but the BBC is better. I think the BBC has more of an understanding that it’s not only the 7 year olds and 65 year olds that should be part of their demographic.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  20. 20 Ana Milena, Colombia
    October 30, 2008 at 15:37

    Hi there!
    I agree every country needs a public service broadcaster! It’s got an incidence in the quality of the information (so as to avoid biased information), and even citizens become active participants in the development of of the PSB. Additionally, more control over its content for the welfare of the community might take place – again, I say it should be without manipulation of the info.

    However, it goes further than that. Support should also be given. In my country, for example, we count on private and public service broadcasters – 2 private companies, another which is about to turn up, and two public institutions, one which is totally managed by the government.
    If you ask anyone here in Colombia for information about public broadcasters, you see the government really supports private companies! Because of that, public boradcasters are about to fade away. I’m still wondering how they have survived all these years…

    So every country does need a PSB, but one which is really supported and promoted! 😉


  21. 21 Brett Barndt
    October 30, 2008 at 15:38

    Today, the kinds of dis-information and propaganda you find from voters in street interviews attests to how badly failed the US media system is.

    At Time-Warner “politics and media” conference last week, all major news people on panels said that the profit issue is what drives them to ‘gotcha’ stories, ‘better stories’, ‘fear mongering’ than honest detailed balanced news reporting which doesn’t attract enough eyeballs to profitably sell ads. We need to separate the need for citizens to have hard news from the need for media companies to sell ads. Let them stick to sports and entertainment, since that they can sell profitably.

    The UK has all those tabloids and broadsheets which are all slanted one way or the other, but you also have the BBC which is state funded and mandated to be balanced and give more point of views a space on the airwaves. We don’t have that in the US. Our system has become slanted, and the laws allow it to be be very secretive.

    We need to grant more public money to PBS, make broadcasters understand again that they are paying licensing fees for the ‘privilege’ of doing business on public airwaves, and also restrict news reporting on networks that have to sell advertising time in order to turn a profit.

  22. 22 Brett Barndt
    October 30, 2008 at 15:39

    We also need to seed many more PBS production companies to represent alternative voices of US citizen groups. NPR and other PBS production companies still represent largely a highly educated, white but increasingly mixed, upper-middle class POV. The Conservatives hate it, and so have voted since Reagan to minimize public money there.

    PBS has gone on to raise significant private contributions in those years, but other networks like Democracy Now or Pacifica have a harder time, although their news about Washington and US corporations legal issues abroad is harder hitting.

    NPR has also dummed down its programming and made it more mainstream to appeal to these wider audiences, so in a sense the same thing is happening to them as happened to CBS which used to be the news powerhouse.

  23. October 30, 2008 at 15:40

    In Nigeria (to be specific)
    the majority of people rely on the foreign broadcasting agencies for unbiased news.
    this could be seen from the obvious popularity of DSTV AND Hitv where are not usually suscribed to because of their entertainment shows, you find out that in Banks, and most public places, nomatter what goes on in Nigeria, the televisions would be showing CNN news, This can be blamed on the excessive advertisements being played on this media Stations,
    Another instance into this is from the perspective of an audience for these houses:
    the FRCN (Federal Radio Coperation if Nigeria would usually have three times of combined networks news program daily during which all radio houses financed by the goverment would link up and during this periods, you discover that there is usually advertisments either sponsored by the Goverment (state or federal) or by a private firm and these adverts come just when the listener is deeply concentrating on the news.
    Moreover other broadcasting establishments not owned by the goverment would either play lots of music (which is not bad though)and spend usually less than 11 minutes in news about the country,
    in most cases if you have them play foreign news they do it in recaps and seldom give some reliable details and most funny is that they tv stations do not keep an archeive of what the broadcast in places like the internet so that interest people can re-listen.

    Myself I rarelly depend on the Local stations in Nigeria to be up to date with even our local news.

    Anakoir Chigozie

  24. 24 Ogola B
    October 30, 2008 at 15:40

    Hi Ros before i come in later! Are you telling us that the BBC lacks soft ware engineers to moderate the show?

  25. 25 Tony From Singapura
    October 30, 2008 at 15:41

    Just because a broadcaster is government backed doesn’t mean that you can expect nothing but the purest of truth issuing forth.

    Many Governments have agenda’s, examples include;
    – the need to maintain racial harmony therefore peace and prosperity,
    – the need to talk up the economy,
    – the need to justify unjust military excursions
    – the need to stay in power
    – the need to broadcast a particular political point of view for the benefit of other countries with whom they compete.

    It is certainly the case that I view the BBC as maintaining a high level of integrity. I particularly appreciate this on important emotionally and politically charged topics such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the recent Israeli-Lebanon war.

    Is this high level of integrity due to Government backing or is it due to good leadership or could it be a chicken and egg relationship between both ?

  26. 26 Krzysztof
    October 30, 2008 at 15:47

    PBS is under discussion in Poland now. As it’s public it gets money from licence fee. Some people feel that it’s not worth paying the fee because the quality of the service is really poor. But, on the other hand, how to make a good programme without money? So far it was compulsory to pay. But now our government wants exempt certain groups of people from paying. They are going to make some amends to PBS’s administration.

    Now you can hear a jingle before programmes in Polish Radio “You wont hear this programme again if licence fee is abolished”.
    Polish Radio is much more better than Television. We have 4 national channels run by state. It is quiet similar to these from the BBC ie Polish Trójka is a bit like BBC Radio 2. Every channel has its own listeners mass. Yes, the quality is very good. however we cannot say it about Television.

    Anyway, frankly speaking I’d rather pay fee licence to the BBC and watch your programmes than pay it to TVP and not to watch. (Well, I don’t watch at all for quiet long time).

  27. October 30, 2008 at 15:57

    Every country deserves to have a PBS, although sometimes, these PBS are under the firm grip of the government, making it difficult for them to be unbiased and independent.

  28. October 30, 2008 at 16:01

    Without PSB and the BBC, radio and a lot of television would not be worth listening to or watching in America. There are hundreds of tv channels but you may be hard pressed to find one worth watching, apart from old films. As you change radio stations, if you hear a ranting egoist on his talk show, crass callers’ contributions, country and western and every kind of popular musical genre, you are not listening to PSB. Classical music with intelligent commentary, cultural programmes, history, social issues, balanced debate are all signs that you have tuned in to PSB. Their children’s programmes are excellent, their news measured, their programmes well researched and presented. They are funded largely by listeners sending voluntary contributions in response to occasional broadcast appeals.

    The BBC is revered by many Americans as a world class example of good broadcasting.

    Television News in America is often written and presented sensationally. If there is an alarming angle you can be sure it will be exploited to the full. The viewer’s anxiety levels are teased and exaggerated, presumably in the interest of ratings. Viewers are whipped into a state of excitement, over issues which a few days later are forgotten and replaced by other themes. CNN is the nearest one comes to objective reporting. PSB is admirable, but if you want global analysis, tune in to BBC. As an ex-pat the thing I miss most about the UK is the British media. Thank goodness for the internet.

  29. 29 Benn
    October 30, 2008 at 16:10

    I understand why some people complain about the TV fee that is used too pay for the BBC but I like what it has done. Some of the best (and longest lasting) shows in history have been created by the BBC.

    Here in the US, PBS is good but it seems to just go for the children (3-10) and aging adults (50+). I sometimes feel that if PBS had more monetary support besides the fundraisers and petty tax money, it could give the BBC a run for its money.

    I do believe that any country that can create a PSB should. It has been a benefit to culture since the beginning.

  30. 30 Tracy
    October 30, 2008 at 16:11

    Here in Portland Oregon USA our public broadcaster justifies itself because it is listener funded. We have pledge drives and that keeps OPB on the air. We the listeners who value the quality of radio pay to keep OPB on air and bringing us the shows we value. Thats our responcibility to keep what we value. OPB has the responcibility to give us what we want in order to keep up revenues. And we can pledge during the shows like World Have Your Say and make sure they know that is the reason for our pledge. Direct clear feedback from us to them keeping on air the programs we want to hear.
    Portland OR

  31. 31 Paul
    October 30, 2008 at 16:23

    Here in the U.S., as our current malignant financial flim-flam unfolds, as our “If you can afford it, its not worth buying.” delusions deflate, standing here at patriotic attention in frount of the television, awaiting further orders from the corporations…. only occasionally, stumbling upon a ‘public broadcasting’ station, listening to their pitiful pleas for donations, wary of the outreached begging bowls, listening to the ceaseless promotion of their corporate sponsors to whom they are highly indebted… Meanwhile, the independent, inovative, and inquisitive BBC flourishes with its always amazing ability for opening my bloodshot eyes to the World.

  32. 32 John in Salem
    October 30, 2008 at 16:25

    I get virtually all my news from PBS on the local Oregon Public Broadcasting radio station, and spend a lot of my time online watching archived tv shows on the PBS website.
    As long as it can remain free of government interference I can’t imagine a better source of information for people anywhere.

  33. 33 Jennifer
    October 30, 2008 at 16:27

    I agree with Bob. I don’t think we need a public service broadcaster but they can be very useful in providing information via offshoot shows and etc that are not otherwise available. Growing up, my mom always chose the BBC for news because she felt that it offered a wider variety than we have here. I think that is something that we lack here in the U.S. Everything from news programs, radio programs, and even newspapers seem to have a political agenda they want to push at you.

    I think there should be programs out there that challenge “norms” but there should be some lines that are not crossed. What Brand and Ross did would be funny to some people but I think that they should have considered the people on the receiving end of their prank as well.

  34. 34 Nelson Isibor
    October 30, 2008 at 16:29

    Yes. I think every country needs a PSB. Although the BBC is not perfect, I think it serves as an effective model on how a PBS should operate. In Nigeria, the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) does a good job of reporting events from every nook and cranny of the country but the adverts could really be distracting and some times their reports are not objective. Their reporting of foreign news is laughable so for foreign news I’d rather listen to the BBC or watch CNN.

  35. 35 Ogola B
    October 30, 2008 at 16:34

    Once a humanbeing resigns from his or her job, they need not to go with the whole office – Ross and Brand only did their magic. As of journalism and commmerce,sensetionals and seditious lead to the ground although denied. what about fictious?
    A lot and too many of listeners have got their chance through the WHYS. many people have what to say , what remains untold and find it abled at the BBC.
    Selfishness by a minority should not lead the show to death.
    A guarantee should only be made available by the main moderator about what to post and what not to. Media is a profession just like LLB and any other!
    Meanwhile if the BBC opens its broadcasting in nevitable countries, then i would be the first to join my country. I would go to those war zones and uncover the truth. I would report a hard core story at the scene of crime and as well uncover the court files. I would make a political survey and induldge my pen to the paper. However , the media in my country always struggles in court but win it out !
    In a nutshell, the BBC is listened to worldwide and i bought my current computer for this purpose!

  36. 36 Henry in San Francisco
    October 30, 2008 at 16:38

    I have been an avid and dedicated fan of public broadcasting from when I was growing up in Australia till now here in the US. No private company broadcasts unbiased and social news and information like public broadcasters and here I particularly enjoy international programs.

    Henry Karnilowicz

  37. 37 Ogola B
    October 30, 2008 at 16:42

    The BBC is legitmate not only for europe but for the whole globe. There is a lot to be known from other continents! And therefore the legitimacy shall stand!

  38. 38 jamily5
    October 30, 2008 at 16:58

    1. I agree with Brett when talking about media, small town newspapers and PBS
    2. The BBC seems to have a much more broad dbase of programming. They have a world view an documentaries/programs that talk about different parts of the world. Our PBS and even other channels lack this global awareness.
    I live in a small town and I can’t get NPR on my local radio. PBS has one channel. Certainly, if we subscribe to our local cable or satelite: we can get the History channel and Biography channel, etc. But, rarely do I see programs about Africa and Asia. American Television and Radio are quite myopic when it comes to their “world.” But, I often decide to check out the podcasts and programs from the BBC. They seem to be more in depth, more well presented and more interesting. The BBC still has radio plays, book readings on the radio, commedy on the radio (not counting the Brand show), a few different shows about books, traveling shows and many other things.
    And, since they are on the radio, that nigates the need for DVS (Descriptive Video Services) which is iffy anyway.
    I do wish that the USA had a better PBS&NPR. But, I am content to listen to the BBC and have been much more informed because of it.
    I’m not saying that the BBC can’t be slanted and isn’t sometimes biased. But, when looking at US media, it is less biased and seems to be more intelligent.

  39. 39 Sasankh
    October 30, 2008 at 17:05

    *parth guragain,Nepal
    I strongly support you. At the time of the kings regime the government media didn’t even say a word about the government mistakes

  40. 40 jamily5
    October 30, 2008 at 17:10

    Here is another praise of the BBC,
    They offer their news in many different languages.
    I don’t know of any other american station (radio or TV) that offers more than Spanish equivalents. There is BBC french, BBC urdu, etc.
    Also, since many radio and programs are from the BBC, it is easy to find a podcast of a program without going to many different websites for each independent station.
    With a few keystrokes, I can find “in Touch,” (a program about and for blind people), Crossing continents, world news and “just a minute,”(commedy) podcasts.
    There are radio plays that are live and podcasts,
    book readings,
    nd news about Africa and Asia, as well as other countries.
    There are some interactive programs:
    and I am sorry to know that WHYS is decreasing some of their interactive blogs.
    Nonetheless, I’ve not found any US media source that has done such a thorough job.
    Any more compliments and I will require a pay check!

  41. 41 Kelsie in Houston
    October 30, 2008 at 17:20

    I’m from the U.S.–what public service broadcaster? Oh, you mean….

    Just kidding.

    In general, I like the spirit of the PSB: covering stories the people need to understand and know, not necessarily the stories pop culture wants to understand and know. The role of the PSB is to make Morgan Tsvangirai and Wen Jiabao as important and well-known as Britney or Angelina. That’s not always a “popular” mandate, but it is a necessary one—I think PSB fills (partially, in the U.S.) a critical role, especially for individuals who want news and analysis from non-commercially dominated sources.

    In the BBC’s case: the Brand/Ross fracas is unfortunate, but does not shake much of the core of the BBC’s reputation as a news service (generally the only exposure we across the big ditch have to the corporation). It dismays me to see comments elsewhere (the Telegraph) calling for the complete dismantling of the BBC: surely most of the British people—to say nothing of the rest of the world—can see the BBC as a valuable cultural institution (in spite of its own shortcomings) and the world’s pre-eminent newsgatherer, par excellence. It’s not perfect, and no one would make that claim, but that doesn’t mean the corporation is totally worthless, either.

  42. 42 Anthony
    October 30, 2008 at 18:00

    Unfortunatly, in the states, public broadcasting is looked down upon :(. Here they really need to rev it up a bit. To be honest, the shows are quite boring. PBS needs to be more like the Discovery Channel and the History Channel. There are a few good shows on sometimes, but a lot of time it just makes me sleepy. The childs morning shows are good though 🙂

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  43. 43 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    October 30, 2008 at 18:02

    Hi, everyone!

    Gee! It’s been long time since I visited the forum for the last time… It’s great to be here again :D!
    I do believe that a PSB is necessary in every country, as long as it is propperly supported and not biased. A PSB can offer a great service to community, spreading important information to places where usually communication is not accessible. However, most of the times they stop being ‘public’ just to favour certain companies or even the same government, loosing objectivity in the information and services they provide. That happens in my country, even with the private ones!

    Then I consider monitoring (not manipulation) is necessary, to grant the services offered are being provided correctly: that would help avoiding what happened to these two weird guys at Radio 2 😦 … A PSB should be always a service addressed to people, not against them. Moreover, People should be able to participate actively in these means…

    I also consider that BBC provides a great service to people in Europe and all the other countries all around the world as any other PSB has ever done. We cannot expect it to be perfect, but we can praise the good job it’s done.

    Hugs from Colombia!
    * Here I’m having trouble with the new schedule… I don’t know what time the show starts now!!! 🙂 *

  44. 44 Katharina in Ghent
    October 30, 2008 at 18:04

    Yes, I think every country should have a PSB, and the country’s constitution should make it clear that it can work independently and without interference. With any media outlet you always have to ask “who pays the journalist?”, and, as we have seen in Italy, Silvio Berlusconi’s media is not particularly critical of the big boss. Naturally, if you really want to know what’s going on, it might be useful to get the news from various different news channels and compare/filter out the common details.

    Also, a PSB manages sometimes to be less “slave” to the quotes than commercial broadcasters, and therefore minority programs like Classical or Ethnic Art has more of a chance to make it on air. In Canada I often chose to listen to CBC radio over other stations, because it had a much more varied program than the usual pop etc. channels.

  45. 45 Jessica in NYC
    October 30, 2008 at 18:05

    What’s the relationship between your government and the public service broadcaster?

    Yes, we have National Public Radio in the US. The US government is seems is more supportive of mainstream media incorporations. I podcast a few NPR programs, but generally I am loyal and trusting to the BBC programs for their in depth and wide array of coverage on world issues.

    It seemed to me like BBC was driven by what the people wanted to listen, read and watch. Here is the US there not a single main stream program where we do not know or have the broadcaster’s opinions and their bias is evident. News here is more a form of entertainment and race to see who gets the highest rating than it is a reporting of the facts.

  46. October 30, 2008 at 18:09

    Hi Ros
    Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Jack Straw have rewritten British history in the modern era but BBC salvaged the reputation of the media through thick and thin, peace and war.
    Perhaps it is hard for outsiders to imagine going into no-man’s land and coming up with a documentary of who’s who and a prophecy of what is about to happen. The trouble is that not everyone speaks English.
    Talking of being on the level, rarely have I seen such candour, often against good sense, with the life of the reporter on the line. I am impressed and indebted for the opportunity for putting back Iran on the international venue. We speak a different language, we are a different people, no one wants to talk to us and we have been in Coventry for thirty years, but who but the BBC would be willing to take the challenge.
    State owned media in Iran is weighing heavily on free speech and civil rights are being trampled every day. Many news agencies take an odd shot at the regime and get in a few smart lines and comments, but few stick it out. Day in, day out, often under strict surveillance by the authorities, BBC manages to get its coverage and report on what happened to whom and when.
    Chapeau, as would say the French, to a job well done.

  47. 47 Jessica in NYC
    October 30, 2008 at 18:09

    Am I satisfied with my current public service broadcaster? As per my previous post,

    NPR & PBS? I’m on here listening to the UK’s public service broadcaster, what do you think?

  48. 48 Jermaine
    October 30, 2008 at 18:14

    After the many years of informative, inspirational and engaging programing I find it absurd that people are questioning rather or not the BBC should be removed. I love the BBC and this is where I turn for my news.

  49. 49 Adam in Portland
    October 30, 2008 at 18:16

    The value of PSB is that it has the potential of broadcasting infomation that is free of the taint of commercial interests and political partisianship. The reality is here in the US the National Public Broadcast System appears to me to lean heavily in the liberal direction.

  50. 50 viola
    October 30, 2008 at 18:30

    The only Canadian radio I find worth listening to here in the North is CBC. I find CBC radio to be better and less biased in its programming than is CBC TV. CBC radio does not have advertising as does CBC TV. I wonder if that’s a clue to quality or content.

    Probably some of the advertising driven radio in other areas of this giant country offer programming more to my taste than the local AM and FM stations. Thanks to the Net I could actually access them.

    For world news, BBC is the best. If I perceive a bias, I note it but concentrate on specific facts and how they were verified.

    Through satellite, I access PBS in Detroit, primarily for Charlie Rose (No.1), Tavis Smiley, and some of their other programs. Through Sirius Satellite, I listen to PBS radio. For American coverage and analysis, PBS is the best. However, it’s not publicly funded to the best of my knowledge, but is funded by viewer pledges and private sponsorship. It’s interesting that Lyndon Johnson was the driving force for the creation of this kind of public broadcasting in the U.S.

    BBC, don’t throw out the good with the bad.

  51. 51 Littlelbean
    October 30, 2008 at 18:32

    I don’t know how the public service broadcast works out side of the U.S. but for me there is a channel that is PBS kids Sprout and it only plays shows for the children and there are some ads but they are for health care and information services. Children see enough violence on regular tv and with the PBS stations they run the kids programs 24 hours a day. To me this option is wonderful for nights when your kids are sick and they can’t sleep they can relax and watch a channel that is geared to them.

    I live in Utah and the regular PBS stations for the most part run great programs. Now in US there donation marathons to assist in program funding. The marathons can be a little boring but they receive those donations give people the ability to still have a form of entertainment and education that they would not receive else where.

  52. 52 viola
    October 30, 2008 at 18:32

    I think I should have said NPR radio through Sirius satellite radio

  53. October 30, 2008 at 18:33

    The Public Broadcaster in my country Cameroon has an infamous notoriety for being the government’s mouth piece and propaganda outlet.

  54. October 30, 2008 at 18:33

    Here in Portland, Oregon we have a community, listener-owned station called KBOO. We broadcast local news and national/global news. We carry Democracy Now! from Pacifica radio. We interview most of the well-known people that you hear on NPR. We also broadcast all kinds of music, plus poetry and radio theater. We recently had a 101-hour Dada Festival, complete with Dada News Service which is no more ridiculous than the mainstream variety.

  55. 55 Nancy in Portland, Oregon
    October 30, 2008 at 18:34

    Public radio and television here is a much broader and diverse service to people in the US than the previous e-mail from Portland would make you think. The programming for radio is greatly varied from station to station. I can listen to jazz, classical, eclectic and talk radio here in the Portland market, thanks to four public radio stations. The coverage of local elections has been great, helping me get to know the candidates.

    I think every country would benefit from public media greatly. I’m an enthusiastic supporter!

  56. 56 T.C. Austin
    October 30, 2008 at 18:34

    It perturbs me that because the PBS endeavors to show various sides of an issue, and not just the American exceptionalist side, and as a result becomes labeled as liberal. I grew up watching Sesame Street, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Nova, and such. I shudder to think where I would be today if I grew up on a steady diet of MTV and American Idol.

  57. 57 Mandie in cape coral florida
    October 30, 2008 at 18:34

    PBS stations are not biased. unless you count truth to the people.
    they refuse to slant toward any one side. I appreciate that I can listen here in southwest Florida to all sides of any conversation and make up my own mind.

  58. 58 Ian in Portland, Oregon
    October 30, 2008 at 18:36

    We do need public broadcast. The perceived bias is no worse than that which you get from Fox News. I hate Fox News, but I like the programming. If people want to be informed, it’s their responsibility to research news articles from several opinions and make their own conclusions. Don’t leave it to someone else. But, here in the states we can’t nearly the quality of programming on commercial TV that we can on Public Broadcast.

  59. 59 Scott (M)
    October 30, 2008 at 18:36


    Another topic where we don’t address the fundamental issue. Public broadcasting if it represents all of the public will be more liberal then conservative. How could it not be and still be public?

    The liberal view is inclusive, the conservative exclusive.

    By inherent definition, public broadcasting will tend toward the liberal, because it represents all of the diverse people—which will include: atheists, physical minorities and other intellectual minorities. Public broadcasting cannot tolerate the intolerant and because of this it will, again, tend toward the liberal!

  60. 60 Nancy in Portland, Oregon
    October 30, 2008 at 18:36

    Public service broadcasting brings news, learning, arts to rural markets here, through transponder stations and such. When I was living in a town of 10,000 in southwestern Minnesota, I could listen to live performances of the Metropolitan Opera every week. There I could only get news from South Dakota or Iowa on television, but felt connected to events in Minnesota by public TV and radio.

  61. October 30, 2008 at 18:40

    I am relatively new listening to public radio and now i never switch the dial. I’m in portland oregon and we are lucky to receive unbiased world news aswell as local arts info. Thanks! Alison

  62. 62 Ian Dodge, Portland, Oregon
    October 30, 2008 at 18:40

    We do need public broadcast. The perceived bias is no worse than that which you get from Fox News. I hate Fox News, but I like the programming on the channel. So, when it comes to wanting to be informed, it is the individual’s responsibility to read from any number of sources (slanted or not) and make draw their own conclusions. Don’t leave it to someone else. Here in the States we can’t get nearly the quality of programming that we do on public broadcast, including the BBC!

  63. 63 Grayson in Portland, Oregon
    October 30, 2008 at 18:44

    Although I agree that public radio is only responsible to those that support it financially, NPR in the US is funded by government dollars. This I feel makes those specific programs (national, world news etc.) subject to certain special interest groups that sway the government. And this I feel is the problem. Overall however, I feel that public radio (OPB) is beneficail as a whole.

  64. 64 Cosy in San Francisco
    October 30, 2008 at 18:48

    I am wondering if your international listeners are aware of the enormous breadth of the BBC’s programing. Here in the U.S., we only have news/current affairs and music. I’m afraid I don’t know about other countries.
    What’s missing is what we used to call “culture”, the arts. Alll the commissioned fiction and classical music to be found on the BBC, history, science and stuff I never knew would be interesting until I heard it.
    I’ve lived in th US for 30 years, and believe that the emphasis on profitability has cost us culture.

  65. 65 Alison
    October 30, 2008 at 18:49

    I am relatively new listening to public radio and now i never switch the dial. I’m in portland oregon and we are lucky to receive unbiased world news aswell as local arts info.

  66. 66 Shirley Lutzky
    October 30, 2008 at 18:55

    I would not like to imagine my grandchildren growing up in a world without public broadcasting. The high level of world culture and intelligence, equanimity, and sanity that I have enjoyed on my radio thanks to public radio has very little representation on other stations. In America, without public broadcasting, we would not even have the BBC. I have a liberal oriented, privately sponsored a.m. radio station that I listen to occasionally because it is more attuned to my views and is very factually informative ( I have views that are less conservative than those I frequently have heard on public radio); but I do not listen to that a.m. station as often as to npr simply because the pace, tone and lack of calmness on that station are somewhat jarring. I find this to be true of nearly all non-public stations (with the exception of jazz or classical music stations). I simply do not want the sound of them in my life. I am very thankful for the years that my husband, children and I have benefitted from the “higher mandate” of public radio.

  67. 67 Bob, Portland, Oregon, USA
    October 30, 2008 at 18:56

    Public service broadcasting is better to have than not. Commercial radio is essentially unlistenable due to numerous commercials and bias. The so called “fair and balanced” reporting offered on commercial radio stations is anything but.

    OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) has offered both the Democrat and Republican perspective in the presidential race. OPB’s WHYS analog, Think Out Loud, has invited candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties to participate on the talk show. But several Republicans have refused to participate. I feel this is because the Republicans want to control the discussion for their benefit. They wish to control their “spin” because their stances are not appealing to the majority of voters.

    Unsophisticated Republicans smear OPB with the “left-leaning-liberal” tag but they do not participate because their constituency does not participate heavily in OPB. The rationalization that OPB is “liberal” is created by non-participating conservatives. It’s easy to call somebody names; it’s harder to get on the air and coherently sell/defend your point of few.

    The beauty of public radio is that the listeners pay for it. The more we pay for it, the more we can cut out government and corporate funding and keep the broadcasting relatively independent and relevant.

  68. 68 Christine, Portland, OR, USA
    October 30, 2008 at 18:59

    I would hope public broadcasting is liberal since who did the rich represent in their media for thousands of years? Themselves! The bible and most history books before the 1950’s represented mostly the pursuits of white landowning sexist males. Public media being liberal is similar to Ralph Nader advocating for the poor, the poor or unrepresented. Public media ensures that the poor and unrepresented have a voice.

    Corporate anything has proven to not regulate from within, if they did they could not make profit their top priority.

  69. 69 Richard in Portland Oregon, USA
    October 30, 2008 at 19:00

    With the pervasive conservative and republican bias in the mainstream media (as documented by FAIR and other organizations), public radio and television is one of the very few news outlets that Americans have to receive unbiased, balanced reporting. It is imperative that it continue. I also want to point out that public radio and TV in America is mainly funded by individual donations, and not by public funding.

  70. 70 Paul in Portland Oregon, USA
    October 30, 2008 at 19:01

    I’m noticing that you’re repeating a canard about the NPR service in the US.
    It’s NOT funded by the government in any significant way. Take a look at http://www.npr.org/about/privatesupport.html.

  71. 71 Jonelle in Los Angeles
    October 30, 2008 at 19:10

    Public service radio and television is vital service to the public. Here in the US PBS provides great programming for children such as “Sesame Street”, historical program, science programs and fairly objective political coverage. Public radio (NPR)is just as dynamic and provides not just talk radio but music that is not programmed by large corporations, allowing us to hear artists that would never be heard on commercial radio. I can’t imagine a day without Public Radio or Television, it has been part of my life since I was a child and has been a part of my children’s lives also.

  72. 72 Kaidala Danappiah
    October 30, 2008 at 19:10

    Here in India,
    the DOORDARSHAN (TV) and AAKAASHVAANI (radio) networks are owned and run by the government.

    Both offer absolutely no competition to private news/entertainment channels, atleast in urban India, because, they do not fancy professionally made productions. However, it has to be said that irrepsective of their finantial limitations, the quality of programmes has been on a decline over the last decade or so. This is largely due to state’s neglegence rather than private competition.

    In rural India (over60% of India’s population) the state run networks are playing an important role, by bringing essential general knowlegde to them.

    BBC cannot be compared to India’s Doordarshan.
    They have grown under different conditions altogether. India is a more demanding country than Britain, when it comes to news and entertainment.

    BBC can afford to remain globally local, and a channel especially a PBS in India has to atleast show that it is locally global.

    Do you see the difference now?

  73. 73 Khalid, Montreal, Canada
    October 30, 2008 at 19:14

    Here in Canada we have very good public media service, similar to the BBC in UK. However, with our recent gouvernment of Tories, there have been efforts to curb the freedom of the public brodcaster and publicly funded films. A bill, later retracted, was to cut funding for movies or program deemed to be “against public norms”. However, despite all this we have a very free and generaly un biased public media. I think an access to free and fair information is a public service and we should help countries where this is not possible.
    Khalid, Montreal Canada

  74. 74 claude
    October 30, 2008 at 19:15

    PSB is potentially a wonderful thing, provided it understands why it is there and what it is doing.

  75. 75 Kasra Sadeghian
    October 30, 2008 at 19:20

    Public broadcasting is vital to a countries culture and identity. In Canada public broadcasting gets less funding each year and gradually we are loosing our Canadian identity. Due to the large amount of American commercial broadcasting our values and traditions are becoming the same as our neighbours from the south. (America). The BBC is a good example of proper neutral broadcasting, and a good example of how it should be throughout the world.

    – Kasra

    Toronto, Canada.

  76. 76 Brett
    October 30, 2008 at 19:21

    In the US, NPR and other stations do a poor job of representing the majority. They often represent the minority, and although I agree with many of their views, they no doubt lean quite a bit to the left. In a country where we are arguably quite right leaning, this doesn’t represent the majority.

    Again though, theres plenty of media outlets which are private that fill that void and represent the more right end of the spectrum.

    I heard a pro-republican stance on NPR the other day, one which was pro McCain… I was nearly knocked out of my socks to hear it. The right and republicans are so far and few between on NPR its amazing (makes for more content which I like and agree with, but again, doesn’t represent the majority). At least they seem to be one of the only media outlets which place very strong emphasis on environmental issues.

  77. 77 Brett
    October 30, 2008 at 19:25

    The argument can be made that NPR doesn’t adequately represent the majority and represents niche minorities because they rely on public participation, and the minority groups are the ones which participate the most.

  78. 78 Oscar in Piedras Negras, Mexico
    October 30, 2008 at 19:26

    There’s a wide difference between the public broadcasters. BBC is certainly on the positive extreme, and now also with the internet is easier for people around the world to benefit from such a good broadcaster like yours. In difficult economic times it’s understandable that citizens question the money used for that purpose. Perhaps fifty-fifty should be the aim, but that’s not easily achievable. PSBroadcasters should avoid to imitate the programmes from private TV’s

  79. 79 Martín Wasserman
    October 30, 2008 at 19:29

    My name is Martín Wasserman and I am a listener from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    I wold like to point out that your correspondant Daniel Scheimler has produced more accurate and impartial reports of what happens in this country than our local media, wich I have to say is very poor to say the least.

    I dont necessarilly agree with the BBC´s general perspective, wich I find often etnocentric and economically liberal, but it is still is the most seriuos, responsible and reliable sourse of information for radio listeners in Buenos Aires since Radio Europa broadcast 16 hours a day your World Sevice.

    I also enjoy very much you cultural programing and high cuality documentaries. I aslo think that the expirience of the program “over to you” should be imitated by local media.

    Keep Up the good work!

  80. 80 Vijay
    October 30, 2008 at 19:32

    Re: The domestic BBC

    First of all sack Jonathan Ross.

    The media market in the UK has matured and it is time for the Domestic BBC to only have one TV station and one radio station,which is centrally funded and is also allowed to solicit advertising.

    Doses every country need a public service broadcaster?
    Yes ,every country should have a PSB inorder to give information to the people ,which may not be covered in commercial media, and also promote a healthy well rounded civil society.

  81. 81 Emma in Cambridge Uk
    October 30, 2008 at 19:38

    I am no longer happy to pay my BBC license fee.

    I think that foreign listeners have a false impression of the BBC service that we in the UK get as a result of listening to the world service, which I agree is excellent with a consistently high standard of journalism. Sadly, this is not reflected in the UK channels – in my opinion it is noticeable that the coverage on the world service is much more balanced than on the UK channels.

    The majority of BBC television programming is complete rubbish, and includes many ‘reality’ tv shows, such as strictly come dancing. These are neither educational nor entertaining, and are expensive to produce (since they pay unknown ‘celebrities’ vast fees for appearing).

    I would happily see all my license fee go to BBC radio and the world service, but I am unhappy to have my hard earned cash used to make ‘presenters’ such as Jonathan Ross multi-millionaires. He is not worth the money, and BBC management is clearly no longer responsive (or accountable) to the wishes of the people who fund them. There is no evidence that Mr Ross would have been paid the fee the BBC is paying him elsewhere. He clearly is pals with those making financial decisions, but it’s a poor use of tax money which could be used to do real public service broadcasting.

    I would like my license fee to fund serious journalists and real public sector broadcasting – but in the UK it’s not doing that, it’s making a few ‘celebrities’ rich at the expense of hardworking journalists. That is, quite simply, wrong.

  82. October 30, 2008 at 19:39

    The BBC is an example of the pro side of public broadasting; especially your program! Keep up the good work inspite of what has happened. Brian in Namibia

  83. 83 Brinda Rao
    October 30, 2008 at 19:39


    Yes.Every country needs public service broadcasting. Atleast to cater all sectors .Private broadcasting only concentrates on entertainment and making money.
    the Indian public service broadcasting (Doordarshan ) has some excellent educational programs . Reaching really neglected sect of population. Some of their agricultural and educational programs are really good. But under appreciated .

  84. 84 Brett
    October 30, 2008 at 19:40

    The problem with sponsored media is that the media outlets depend on the sponsored money to run their business. They have to tiptoe around their sponsors so as not to offend them. If Exxon-Mobil sponsors a media outlet, is that outlet going to be favorably viewed in Exxon’s eyes if they run programmes which scrutinize oil/gas industry, highlight environmental pollution, etc? Oh and god forbid they ever have to run a negative story about their sponsors…. They’re likely to skip down to a lesser story where their cash cows won’t be offended or exposed.
    It all boils down to monetary interest and accuracy of stories along with equal chance of coverage of such stories.

  85. 85 Amy
    October 30, 2008 at 19:41

    Regarding claims of liberal bias in American public service radio, I would disagree. An example of this could perhaps be found in which pundits are given airtime. On NPR, ideologically neoliberal political organizations like the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation are given airtime to put their policy positions forth in the guise of neutral commentators. However, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single representative of Indymedia offered the opportunity to speak on NPR, and can’t remember when I’ve heard from award-winning journalists like Amy Goodman, who I consider an archetypal example of a journalist working in the public interest, outside of on the Pacifica Network.

    In a review of NPR sources by FAIR conducted in 2004 “Representatives of think tanks to the right of center outnumbered those to the left of center by more than four to one: 62 appearances to 15. Centrist think tanks provided sources for 56 appearances…Diversity among think tank representatives was even more lopsided than the ideological spread, with women cited only 10 percent of the time, and people of color only 3 percent. ”


  86. October 30, 2008 at 19:42

    Public service broadcasting in Nigeria basically public relations & propaganda tool for the govt of the day. Pure & simple. Fidelis in Nigeria

  87. 87 Paul, Nairobi
    October 30, 2008 at 19:42

    On the issue of PSB,
    I would say that PSB go hand in hand with freedom of expression. In most PSB are state broadcaster instead for instance in Africa.

  88. October 30, 2008 at 19:42

    I don’t trust a damn thing I see or hear on SABC.I even check,by ’phone,Premiership results with my daughter in Hampshire.RON.JHB.

  89. 89 Peter, Budapest
    October 30, 2008 at 19:43

    I am very happy with Hungarian Radio which has 3 channels dedicated to (1) The Word (2) Music (mainly Pop) (3) Classical Music and Plays. They are subnamed Kossuth, Petöfi and Bartók. Kossuth has its own “Today” programme, called 180 Minutes which begins my day.

  90. 90 Tom in the States
    October 30, 2008 at 19:44

    When you say PBS is public broadcasting, that’s not true. All PBS shows are sponsored. These companies have commercials and say they’re “underwriting the costs.” But it’s obvious that they’re commercials. Also, if they didn’t allow these ads to air PBS would cease to exist. Even with this revenue and pledges from viewers.

  91. 91 Brinda Rao
    October 30, 2008 at 19:44

    Well As for BBC i think they are doing a wonderful job. But practically or realistically nothing can be done about a public services broadcasting being biased.
    No amount of discussion will change that.

  92. 92 Vijay
    October 30, 2008 at 19:45

    @Kelsie in Houston
    The Domestic BBC and BBC WorldService are separately funded.

    On the Domestic BBC TV and Radio have been resting on their laurels, standards have declined ,what talent there is ,is too thinly spread and not properly managed.

  93. October 30, 2008 at 19:48

    The BBC has a world radio audience they didn’t get there by chance. I’m in Cairo and I can’t do without it! Cheers, Sam

  94. 94 Philip in Austin, Texas, USA
    October 30, 2008 at 19:49

    The reason I like NPR and PBS in the US is that it just gives you the news without all the hype and pomp that Fox and CNN throw in. No loud hosts like Bill O’Riley or stories that are not really news, like some tangent story these cable and even national news channels go off on. Give me the News Hour with Jim Lehra and Talk of the Nation with Neil Conan any day. I find the BBC broadcast I get on XM radio is the same. Just news, no stories that are not really news. Give it to me straight. You do it, keep up the good work. It is hard to find these days, when ratings and ad sales are all that matters.

  95. October 30, 2008 at 19:49

    Our 2 public broadcasters, Radio & TV has turned into pritate becoz pariament refused to fund them for being too bias towards the gov. CHANCE MWENITETE, MALAWI

  96. October 30, 2008 at 19:50

    In Malawi public broadcasters are political platform of a ruling party hence we rely on private radios like you the BBC. Chikafa in Malawi.

  97. 97 Igor
    October 30, 2008 at 19:50

    Public service broadcaster is necessary. In Ukraine there is no trustworthy public service broadcaster.

  98. 98 Heidi
    October 30, 2008 at 19:51

    I think public broadcasting is a necassary type of media that every country should have. I am an avid supporter of public broadcasting in the USA, and use the information provided each day to stay informed on what is occuring in the US, and around the world. I do agree that NPR may not always represent the majority, but I think they do a great job of representing the minority which may never be heard if they did not cover it. I listen to the BBC daily also to obtain a different perspective on what is occuring in different countries around the world, and also what is happening in the USA. I do not think I would have the open-minded outlook on the world that I have today if I did not listen to public broadcasting. I appreciate all that public broadcasting does, and I hope that you continue to provide informative media.

  99. October 30, 2008 at 19:51

    I am sorry to say, that the Czech PSB is horrible and it is long time to go…I am happy to listen BBC here. daniel from Prague

  100. 100 Angie
    October 30, 2008 at 19:53

    Yes. Although I find the CBC at times infuriating, you don’t appreciate the depth and the breadth of the programming until you lose it. When the CBC went on strike, we were stuck with a mixture of imported BBC content and regular radio and TV broadcasting. I missed the local content. I missed the in depth interviews with local and national personalities. I missed the coverage of the local Arts. I even missed vehemently disagreeing with some of the more infuriating commentators. Proof positive that a national broadcaster provides a service that can’t be imported, farmed out, or faked.

  101. October 30, 2008 at 19:53

    Whether the public service broadcaster is using well your money? I don’t think so! Their editorial policy is to entertain rather to inform! Frank italy

  102. October 30, 2008 at 19:54

    In uganda public broadcaster is headed by a minister. It’s therefore pro-gov’t which is bad. Andrew Edwonu in kampala

  103. 103 Brett
    October 30, 2008 at 19:56

    @ Amy:

    <iHowever, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single representative of Indymedia offered the opportunity to speak on NPR

    Indy Media representatives were on NPR last week. Specifically in Richmond, Va.

  104. 104 Bryce
    October 30, 2008 at 19:56

    I’m in the USA and public broadcasting serves the same function within our society as socialism: it is a balance to rampant commercialism. It forces the state to espouse a point of view that may not be its own, which can never be a bad thing.

    The BBC serves the same service in your country, in that the BBC has become the standard by which all other broadcasters in your nation compare themselves.

    Without such institutions, the popular media truly would be a race to the bottom.

  105. 105 Vijay
    October 30, 2008 at 19:56

    re PSB in India
    Doordarshan and All India Radio do a basic job,but it could be better,they need help with production and broadcasting technique.

    In India ,commercial TV has developed before commercial Radio ,Radio full stop is seen as something for poor people or the rural population,TV is aspirational ,young and urban.
    Foreign media companies are not allowed to participate in the radio and tv market.

  106. 106 Brett
    October 30, 2008 at 19:56

    @ Amy:

    However, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single representative of Indymedia offered the opportunity to speak on NPR

    Indy Media representatives were on NPR last week. Specifically in Richmond, Va.

  107. 107 Igor
    October 30, 2008 at 19:57

    Yes I do believe in public service broadcast. Every country should have public service broadcast like BBC. I truly believe that BBC is independent media and broadcast. I am a regular listener of BBC Hindi Service and world service. BBC has set very high standards for any public service broadcast.

    I am of Indian origin and I live in Canada. I do watch Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) everyday. The programs on CBC are excellent. They are critical about the government, make fun of government, etc. Variety of comedy programs are on CBC like ‘hour has 22 minutes’, ‘air farce’, ‘rick mercer’s report’, etc. In these programs, people make fun of even the prime minister.

    In India doordarshan used to be a puppet of government may be 5-10 years back. but things have changed a lot now. Doordarshan is now competing with all the private channels and is doing very good. Doordarshan is critical about the government, political parties, etc. Most of the privates channels in india are running for TRP rating. For TRP rating, these channels will broadcast any kind of stupid news. Rest of the private channels are only showing entertainment programs. Commercial media only gives spicy news that people would like to hear.

  108. 108 Jonathan
    October 30, 2008 at 19:58

    The fact I am listening your program in my office in playa del Carmen in mexico, answer the part of the question posted in the program, it is very unfortunate that some body gets pay that much to be so simple on sense of humor, for some people this is funny until you are the target that is the real problem.

  109. October 30, 2008 at 19:59

    PS: I can’t write you the truth then don’t send me any more of BBC’s Propaganda and Garbage!

  110. 110 Amy
    October 30, 2008 at 20:09

    Thanks Brett, I didn’t hear that.

  111. 111 John Davis
    October 30, 2008 at 20:17

    As far as radio is concerned, national public service broadcasters tend to do a much better job of covering the news on a wider front than do the commercial broadcasters. For news and commentary the BBC is unsurpassed (especially the World Service and Radio 4), and it’s a tribute to the BBC that other national broadcasters feed its programmes via local FM stations. CBC (Canada) and ABC (Australia) are valuable and creditable services. So is NPR in the States, though the service depends partly on government funds and also on affiliates which do run advertisements and which regularly solicit donations from listeners. There’s probably bias of one sort or another in all the services, but it would be a sad day if all we had were niche broadcasters and advertisements every few minutes. The public broadcasters do, at least, come under a duty to inform. Long may they survive and thrive!

  112. 112 Ramesh
    October 30, 2008 at 20:35

    I don’t know the story behind those prank calls but I am really surprised to know something distasteful has happened out of BBC. Mistakes do happen and I am sure BBC has the willingness to correct its mistakes which makes it one of the prominent broadcaster around the world – private or public. Yes, every country can have such a quality public broadcasting provided necessary resources and freedom to operate are given. I just love BBC!!

  113. October 30, 2008 at 23:28

    I was not surprised when the question of what the British TV license fee actually buys came up in the wake of the Brand/Ross fiasco. (Just reading the details would be enough to make one’s blood boil.) One has to wonder what those in the UK who choose -not- to have a TV would make of all this…

    The news of the fiasco has had one odd positive effect on me: It gave me a new sense of appreciation for our public broadcasting entities (NPR, PBS, PRI, APM, Pacifica, and community stations who are supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) and who on the whole exercise some sense of -taste-. They’d know that Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Don Imus, et.al. are bad enough — and why emulate them?

    Now if only we had a funding scheme for our PSBs that everyone in the States — regardless of your political stripe — could agree to. Wish us luck in finding one.

  114. October 31, 2008 at 01:09

    There is no debate on this one. The BBC is a public service broadcaster of immense stature and is known and respected throughout the world. Indeed, whenever I’m abroad I often hear from someone who regularly tunes into BBC World Service and sings its praises to the roof. The World service in particular although catering to a minority audience in Great Britain, is a source of communication to many throughout the world, and in some cases the only one that puts them in touch with civilisation as they refer it, not me. Civilisation is a misnomer in my book but I know what they mean.

    I don’t think we’d truly realize what we’ve lost until it actually disappeared and was bought up or swallowed up into a vast media corporation, and gone for evermore, in a puff of smoke, cosigned to history and just a reference in the never ending list of search engines. Do we really want that? Bryan, Jennifer, Pat and all the BBC’s harshest critics – where is Pat by the way? Once it was gone I bet you’d really miss it – like a long lost friend, an old faithful dog staring up at you lovingly, devoted to your existence and wellbeing and aways by your side.
    I too am one of its harshest critics, but know that when at its best it has no equal save for Channel 4’s undoubted quality in news, investigative media, documentary and under cover reporting. The BBC really could take a leaf out of their book if it wanted to.

    Bryan, in your mind the BBC is guilty of tremendous liberal bias in its coverage and reporting of the US election and events in general. Take a look at Channel 4 and then say that. That is the true home for bleeding heart liberals like myself. I care to think of it as highly investigative and thorough journalism on the most part, and trying to get a handle on the truth of a situation, with an angle that is always different and a challenge to the mainstream.
    The BBC had the opportunity to take on the British government at the highest level over “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, “Sexed up Dossiers” and the illegal invasion of Iraq, and it failed so grossly in its duty to do so, and in turn left the biggest sacrificial lamb, Director General at the time, Greg Dyke, to hang out in the dry and let the snivelling and wretched Alastair Campbell get away almost with murder of a corporation. This was the BBC’s worst day in their entire illustrious history with what entailed from this and has come to pass since.
    In the future get some teeth, an attitude and some real balls for the sake of us all, the next time something similar happens! Because it surely will, such is the nature of the beast.

  115. 115 Madeleine Morris
    October 31, 2008 at 03:59

    Hi everyone,
    I’m in on a night shift on the World Today so I’m doing some moderating while I’m here.
    Jack – I haven’t posted your comment because it was too long. I wrote you an email to invite you to cut it in half and take out some of the line spacing so I could publish, but your email got bounced back.
    Just wanted to let you know so that you didn’t think I hadn’t published because of its content. Please resubmit it in a shorter format and I’ll publish

  116. 116 riddler562
    October 31, 2008 at 06:31

    OK, so we got together and started another blog at this site:


    It’s going to be for AFTER WHYS and WEEKENDS, basically we all got together and want to continue the awesome gift that was given to us, then taken away because of…well you know the reasons. We have quite a few people on, so please join us “after hours” 🙂 Any ex mods, we will be sure to grant privileges!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  117. October 31, 2008 at 06:39

    we too don’t believe govt media. however, the community FM radio are very effective here in broadcasting edutainment.

  118. 118 Jack Hughes
    October 31, 2008 at 07:41

    The BBC has lost its way.

    In news and current affairs its become the broadcasting version of the Guardian newspaper – a soft-left newspaper.

    In entertainment its no better than commercial TV with its makeovers, celebrity trash, “reality” programmes, crummy soap operas.

    Its lost a lot of respect with its faked phone-ins, its rigged vote on the flagship childrens prog “Blue Peter”, its bogus interviews.

    Last year the BBC faked up some footage of The Queen.

    And now this.

  119. October 31, 2008 at 11:36

    The BBC set up; that is a service paid by (compulsory) public subscription is missing a democratic factor. I am sure the majority of ‘shareholders’ would consider say, $10M a year as somewhat excessive. For a commercial station, perhaps not. But a public funded service could be more regulated in such areas.

    The technology is available in many forms for a democratic system to be in place without turning it into a top heavy bureaucracy.

  120. October 31, 2008 at 15:45

    Jack Hughes,

    I think you’re wrong. The BBC’s standards of quality programming has slipped quite a lot in recent years, true, but you can’t examine one aspect without studying the whole. The BBC has a vast history of quality and challenging programming throughout TV and radio. The BBC has been established since 1922 and as I have said been responsible for many gems of programme content and subject matter. The commercial stations have all borrowed from the BBC in the past, and still do today here and there. But the market place has changed so much in the last 10 to 15 years that it was sadly inevitable that they would have to take the challenge head on from the commercial sector as to creating low denominator and early and mid-evening, and particularly prime time viewing on Saturday and Sunday nights by producing fodder for the masses in order to counter a concerted attack on the ratings. It’s a relentless ratings war and that’s the way it is. This will not change unless there’s a fundamental shift by all sides to a position as to wanting to achieve a level of TV that is what BBC 2 of earlier times and Channel 4 attempted in its infancy. Channel 4 was open ended, with uncensored late night programming, chat and intelligent debate with the almost unheard of no programmed end time on several occasions. Being fuelled with wine, alcohol and cigarettes the guests were completely at their ease. It was great to witness the scene, and even more so unlike today there was no set agenda or subject matter that had to be rigidly stuck to. Waver and swerve off the agenda today, and you’re be hauled over the rocks by the presenter, particularly in political debate, which just really shouldn’t be the case. If you can find a strand that no matter how tenuous the link should always be allowed to flow from it. To achieve this it was supplemented by a new untried Soap series and other challenging off the wall programmes that gathered a cult following. Some of Jonathan Ross’s best work was in the early days of Channel 4 on a programme called “The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross.”
    Regrettably those days have passed completely, because new controllers and the terrier like approach to ratings, ratings, ratings and more ratings, like an incessant rabid dog straining at the leash is the producer’s and programme maker’s mantra.
    I may not particularly like playing for my TV license and I’m not sure anybody really does, particularly in today’s economic climate. But pay for it I will, no matter the BBC’s shortcomings. And don’t worry I know there are far too many. But there’s always room for improvement in any area of life. If you don’t believe that, then what can I say.

  121. October 31, 2008 at 19:17

    Matthew October 31, 2008 at 3:50 pm
    Cont’d from 3.45pm, Jack Hughes,
    Now if you seriously want the BBC to be swallowed up by some media megalomaniac like Rupert Murdoch go ahead snap, bite off the hand that feeds you, suffocate an institution, and carp on about its consistent failings, and they are considerable, as I’ve already said. But in Murdoch’s hands or the like the BBC would become unrecognisable and a shadow of its former self. Do you really want that, take awhile, sit down and in calm light of the day reflect and ponder the moment. If you still do then I say more fool you. But Murdoch and News Corp will strip it bare to the bone and any meat left on it will be thrown to the media vultures within his organisation. Sky, The Fox Corporation, Star TV, My Space, I kid you not, is no respecter of the BBC whatsoever! Indeed, Murdoch is on record as saying he hates the BBC and considers it a monolith that should be brought down crashing around every one’s ears.
    People fail to realise or just plain forget that his is a one policy agenda and the world as he sees it is the one he wants you to know and see it through his eyes, with no questions ever being asked! And you pay for that luxury more than the BBC. Monthly packages at £25 minimum, with so little really on offer of any quality, save for a tiny mixed bag of everything. Now £45 plus up to around £65 a month and you might just be getting somewhere near saturation sports coverage along side endless movies to become goggle eyed over. That equates to just under £600.00 minimum with the maximum figure being under £840.00 a year. Never mind the pay per view of special sports editions like world championship boxing at £10.00 or more a throw, well then your laughing. If you want to be so profligate with your money or can easily afford such figures of cost then go ahead my friends! The BBC in comparison is £139.50 for colour TV and £47.00 for black and white TV. There’s a pretty hefty difference isn’t there? Give me the BBC any day of the week!
    The BBC did seriously mess up in its arrogance towards the Sky many years ago, particularly in light of the nation’s obsession with sport and not sufficiently catering to the public’s wishes and desires on that front. And Murdoch waded in with wads of cash to take advantage of a huge gaping gap in the market. It’s just a great shame that he didn’t fail at that moment. The BBC is now severely regretting living off its laurels for so long before then. But what’s done is done and you can’t turn back the clock unfortunately. But you can create and initiate another chapter in its history being more fruitful than the last. If the BBC takes bold steps and marches head forward into the unknown and not quite knowing how things will be when you come out on the other side, then you’ll be better for it by far. You’ve got to speculate in order to accumulate in a manner of speaking. BBC wake and shake up your act before it’s too late! Just wondering and curious as to what you Jack and others would exactly propose the requisite replacement model to be???

  122. 122 Jack Hughes
    October 31, 2008 at 21:02


    I agree that C4 does much better docos. I cannot see the BBC ever screening a prog like C4’s Undercover Mosque or Great Global Warming Swindle – progs that would challenge the BBC’s house opinion.

    I would like to see the BBC cut down to size – maybe keep R4 and BBC1 and sell off things like the Australian publishing firm Lonely Planet and the radio “Asian Network”.

    And then some structural changes to guarantee impartiality. Maybe get some known and robust right-wingers on the editorial panels – people like Norman Tebbit and Richard Littlejohn – who would challenge the cosy left-wing bubble-think that prevails.

  123. 123 Emile Barre
    November 1, 2008 at 12:27

    Yes. Never confuse the baby with its bathwater.

  124. November 1, 2008 at 16:20

    Jack Hughes,
    Matthew November 1, 2008 at 2:59 am

    Jacky or should I say Jack, you tell me,
    So as I understand you, this is what you would propose for a short back and sides and totally trimmed down BBC: No BBC 2, BBC 3, BBC 4 and we’ll give a little consideration to holding on to BBC 1. No BBC News Channel – I have to confess it’s not the best money spent and the level and gravitas of presenter leaves a lot to be desired. Plus the fact that it is a huge loss maker apparently. So I think that one could go. No BBC World News and BBC i, no Radio 1, 2, 3, 5 Live, 6 Music, BBC 7. No World Service for us and more importantly many people throughout the developing world. That might well negate your ability to post comments here as you do now. The freedom to do so and at no extra cost. Not forgetting all the UK regional and local stations that people rely on as being wholly relevant to where they live: BBC Cymru (Wales), Welsh Radio, BBC Scotland & Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Ulster, etc, etc. No CBeebies for children.
    No overseas broadcasts. No communication with or working in conjunction with European and international broadcasters, who value and greatly appreciate all input and any advice and assistance given to them in the endeavour to develop and produce new programmes and programme ideas. Cont’d.

  125. November 1, 2008 at 16:23

    Jack Hughes,

    You’re not offering me any type of BBC replacement. A bit like the current position with Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand. Get rid of the filthy blighters – being shouted from the rooftops of suburbia and middle England. All well and fine, but exactly who do you line up as replacements? They’re not everybody’s cup of tea I grant you, but right or wrong they do have a considerable following out there. Ross and Brand can be puerile and go near the knuckle on more than one occasion. Now they’ve been thrown to the wolves due to a moment’s indiscretion. It wasn’t funny and rather pathetic. They’ve lapsed rather badly, but the way the media have latched on to this and gone on another BBC witch hunt is preposterous in the extreme. Debating this in parliament, media overkill and newspaper front page saturation shows how obsessed we’ve become with righting wrongs in the face of stupid misdemeanours and faux pas. Let’s totally sideline the economy and global recession/ possible depression, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Darfur and in the example of The Congo, an international situation that has been wholly ignored by the media for far too long, with numerous and countless casualties mounting everyday.
    Maybe, you should think a moment as to what exactly you want from the BBC as opposed to making glib comments about there being too much fat upon the beast. Yours is not an answer or solution to anything of the kind. One final point, the so called liberal bias that you and others say is pervading the very fabric and make up of the BBC is not as I see it I’m afraid. Now I was on the inside of the corporation a few years back, and I can tell you for a fact the level of censorship I witnessed was too high, and that hasn’t much changed to this day, either. Being a contributory writer to a now defunct political satire programme, I witnessed on far too many occasions the editor and producer throwing out valuable material, and when seen by fellow writers and colleagues they were somewhat bemused by the BBC’s decisions. They decided to tow the line. I did not. This bought me into meeting and discussion with the overall producer of programme content, and unfortunately we didn’t see eye to eye on things, better known as censorship of certain aspects of current politically orientated humour at the time. I was on a collision course with those concerned and I decided to walk away. Enough said.

  126. 126 Bryan
    November 1, 2008 at 19:35


    Yes, I guess that is enough said, but you haven’t made it clear why you had a conflict with the producer. Did he see you as too left wing or too right wing or too offensive, perhaps? Today’s BBC is positively pickled in lefty political correctness and I guess it pretty much always had been. Have a look at the admission of this fact by ex-BBC man Anthony Jay, as one example:

    But we were not just anti-Macmillan; we were anti-industry, anti-capitalism, anti-advertising, anti-selling, anti-profit, anti-patriotism, anti-monarchy, anti-Empire, anti-police, anti-armed forces, anti-bomb, anti-authority. Almost anything that made the world a freer, safer and more prosperous place, you name it, we were anti it.


    As I’ve said before, only the extent of the bias is debatable. From the Arab-Israeli conflict to pro-life to green issues to gay rights to Christianity to Islam to the war on terror, it’s crystal clear where the BBC stands.

  127. 127 Jack Hughes
    November 2, 2008 at 05:58


    Satire can be targetted against hypocrisy. This exists across the political spectrum and beyond.

    Obvious targets on the left would be Al Gore and his huge mansions and now his steam-boat. Bono with his personal $100m fortune. Diane Abbot with her son’s private schooling. Or Billy Bragg in rural Dorset admiring multiculty from a safe distance.

    I could go on. But the sniggering from Jeremie Hardy and Sandi Toxic is “Bush … Ha Ha… Thatcher… ha ha…..”

    Are some subjects taboo ?

    Whys is there not a non-christian “Vicar of Dibley” – maybe an “Imam of Dudley” ?

    Do tell us more about how the editors decide what is in and what is out. And who is in or out.


  128. 128 Sabatux2
    November 3, 2008 at 14:46

    I live in Italy and I have been working as media consultant for the last 15 years.

    I see that almost EVERYONE WANT A PSB. Ok, it’s hard not to agree. BUT almost everyone identify PSB with the need for complete and fair information. This is right, but UNFORTUNATELY almost all PSBs worldwide spend a lot of resources in ENTERTAINMENT programs which have nothing to do with the public need for good information. I do not understand why, with hundreds of video sources everywhere (satellite, cable, web, mobile, homevideo), all States are currently involved in the production / broadcasting of entertainment programs !!!!!
    We need that public money be spent / invested in real public-interest issues: health, infrastructures, defence, police, schools, etc., NOT ENTERTAINMENT, I believe.
    I think PSBs should work only in the field of information (news) and educational (documentaries for scholars and little else).
    Entertainment is a business activity as many others, with no link with the defence of democracy and with people’s right to be well informed.
    So, let’s keep our PSB, but let’s make them focus on the only real reason that justify their existence: fair, complete, honest information, and nothing else.
    Don’t you agree ?

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