Public service broadcasters once enjoyed a monopoly of the airwaves. Now, they are threatened by the rapid growth of commercially funded channels whose main aim is profit, and by governments who ask, "Who needs a publicly funded channel when there are more than 50 others to choose from?" Although the market can provide a wider choice of channels, however, it cannot support the wide range of cultural and social benefits provided by public service broadcasters. The result threatens a common cultural heritage and democracy. As groups of concerned listeners and viewers spring up acrosss Europe and begin to flex their muscles, broadcasters and politicians are having to take note of a new consumer and citizen power. This volume represents the proceedings of the second Voice of the Listener and Viewer International Conference. The conference attracted speakers including Albert Scharf, President of the European Broadcasting Union and Francisco Henriques da Silva, the member of cabinet responsible for audio-visual policy under Commissioner Pinnheiro at the European Commission. Both men were addressing public audiences for the first time.
This book should be of interest not only to associations representing viewers and listeners, but also to broadcasters and regulators.