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Whither Public Service Media Governance: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

A Book Chapter by Maria Michalis, published by Global Communication Governance at the Crossroads

What are the current challenges of governing Public Service Media (PSM)? How do they point to current crossroads of media and communication governance? And how do they inform the future prospects of global communication governance? These are the main questions that this contribution addresses. Starting from the historical justification of Public Service Broadcasting (PSB)/PSM back in the 1920s, the chapter examines how PSM and its governance have transformed in response to technological advances, societal pressures, political ideology and market liberalisation. In doing so, it builds on the recent work on media governance of the Council of Europe and the European Broadcasting Union. It then assesses PSM in different contexts, what it might mean for countries with established liberal democracies, post-communist countries with short or weak democratic traditions, and countries with no history of or political hostility towards public service media. The chapter maintains that despite the growing challenges, PSM is not an outdated concept. It notes that political and economic power is increasingly concentrated and acts to close information and communication spaces through the deliberate instrumentalisation of governance arrangements for narrow vested interests. It argues that the case for PSM and the associated values of independence, universality, quality, diversity and free access at the point of consumption as preconditions for active citizenship, the realisation of human rights and the functioning of democracy remains valid and powerful. It concludes that PSM governance needs to be modernised and addressed alongside the governance of other media and online platforms.

Michalis, M.  (2024) “Whither Public Service Media: looking back, looking ahead.” (pp. 129-144). In: Padovani, C., Wavre, V., Hintz, A., Goggin, G., Iosifidis, P. (eds) Global Communication Governance at the Crossroads. Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research – A Palgrave and IAMCR Series. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-29616-1_8

Photo by Daniel Lerman on Unsplash

Maria Michalis

About Maria Michalis

Maria Michalis is Reader in Communication Policy. She has a background in political science and international relations and has a PhD in Communication Policy.

Her research interests are in the field of communication policy and regulation with a view to advance understanding of how technological, market, social, political and ideological changes impact upon and are negotiated through power relations and structures as manifested in policy and regulation, primarily in the European Union but within a comparative context. Her current research interests include public service media; Internet regulation; and the interplay between the technological convergence of television and telecommunications/internet, policy and business models.


Maria Michalis
9 February 2024
Published By
Global Communication Governance at the Crossroads
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