Accountability demands that Public Service Broadcasting responsibly use its resources to meet its mandate for the service of citizens. Aside from providing clear financial information, it should determine clear performance measurements and share those with the stakeholders. It should adhere to all the laws and regulations that govern the industry and policies it has adopted. It should be transparent.A complaints mechanism should also be in place.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Public Service Broadcasting is a complex operation.To ensure compliance with its mandate and its healthy functioning, it needs to monitor and evaluate its performance. The instruments of monitoring and evaluation should be manifold, professional, and valid.They will help the organisation gain recognition, build its sustainability and ensure if not expand audience loyalty.
1 . Public Service Broadcasting should conduct monitoring and evaluation activities to determine how it is implementing its mission and objectives as mandated. These activities should not be dependent on one source, but the outputs of various monitoring and evaluation activities can be integrated to find common grounds for improvements.
2. Public Service Broadcasting may commission an independent research to assess the quality of its programming and recommend improvements. Such research can also review various aspects of Public Service Broadcasting including cost-benefit analysis of funding the public service broadcasting and appointments to the Board of Governors and the Executive Body, among others.
3. Public Service Broadcasting should introduce a system of performance indicators and quality standards to enhance performance. It should measure key result areas such as audience share, reach, and audience appreciation, quality and diversity of content, governance and efficiency- all contributing towards assessing overall effectiveness in implementing its business plan.
4. Public Service Broadcasting can adapt audit measures for public service broadcasting such as the ISAS BC 9001, covering satisfaction of viewers-listeners, quality and accuracy of information, quality and diversity of other types of programming, innovation and creativity, independence and transparency of management, promotion and respect for ethical rules, representation of national minorities, universal access and social relevance.' Such audit measures should cover demonstration of public values
5. To ensure public accountability, Public Service Broadcasting should adopt and publish a code of practice, guidelines or key result areas indicating the standards it will follow and the procedures by which it will monitor and evaluate them.
6. Public Service Broadcasting should provide sufficient financial information that enables citizens to assess the expenditure and efficiency of the public service broadcaster.2 Such information should also be published.
7. Public Service Broadcasting can introduce a process of benchmarking to help assess performance. This involves identifying appropriate comparator organisations and securing data on key performance indicators that will serve useful in evaluating performance.This assumes that public service broadcasting has its own performance measurement and improvement culture.3
8. Formation of citizens' media and/or community-based groups should be encouraged. 4 This enables citizens to participate in meaningful dialogue with the PSB, protect their interest as citizens, provide feedback, and identify gaps for improvements.
A strong relationship with the citizens provides one of the means to ensure a responsive and viable Public Service Broadcasting system. Not only should its programmes and services be made available and accessible to all citizens, PSB should also establish clear means through which the public can lodge complaints and suggestions. Complaints should be accorded a fair hearing and consideration. A mix of mechanisms can be adopted depending on each country's situation.
1. A public service broadcaster should supplement its legal framework with some self-imposed structures to ensure that its standards and principles are addressed effectively. One such structure is to create an Audience Unit to handle and resolve public complaints. It should entertain complaints through a simple telephone call, writing and other mechanisms to give vent to the audiences' concerns. It should provide for a reasonable timetable to address the complaints.
2. An independent Complaints Review Panel should be set up by the Board to handle cases unresolved at the level of the Audience Unit. Its main task is to review the unresolved public complaints, the Unit's report and submit recommendations.The members should have solid backgrounds and expertise in production, journalism and ethics, among others.
3. The public can raise their complaints to the Regulatory Body, the overall governing body of the media industry in each country, if they find the Panel's recommendations wanting.
4. Complaints should be dealt with in a fair, balanced, and transparent manner.5
5. Complaints will cover alleged violations of the Public Service Broadcasting laws and regulations and noncompliance on self-regulation the industry has adopted.
6. Public Service Broadcasting can be encouraged to appoint an ombudsman who will monitor violations in the programme strategy and respond to public complaints.
Certimedia.org (2003). ISAS BC 9001: Quality certification for media. Retrieved from http://www.ebu.ch/CMSimages/en/Certimedia_presentation_ enerale_e_f_tcm6-35066.pdf
AIBD-UNESCO-Prasar Bharati in-country seminar. on legal, financial, and administrative aspects of public service broadcasting. (2001) Proceedings Report, New Delhi, India, 12-13 April.
3Barbuio, E (2008). Performance measurement:A practical guide to KPIs and
benchmarking in public broadcasters. Retrieved from http://www.cba.org.uk/Publications/documents/PerformanceMeasurementAPr
4Asia Media Summit 2005, Recommendations at the UNESCO/WRTVC/FES/ AIBD International Workshop on Public Service Broadcasting Best Practices: Evaluation, Monitoring and Standards,AIBD, Kuala Lumpur, 7-8 May 7- 8.
5Asia Media Summit 2006, Khan,A.W. Media independence and accountability, AIBD. Kuala Lumpur, 29-31 May.