Local and foreign participants to the AIBD/ASBU Pre-Summit Symposium on Public Service Broadcasting prior to the Asia Media Summit 2014 have generated a list of recommendations that will enable PSBs to remain relevant and sustainable in the changing media landscape.
Their suggestions included pursuing meaningful connections with their audiences, ensuring that PSBs engage and interact with their audience; producing content that is sexy, creative, relevant, innovative and interactive; protecting independence from all forms of interference; offering plurality of views; and expanding reach and access of people to PSBs through new technology.
To deal with stiff competition they recommended that PSBs adopt their own vision, objectives, target audience, strategy, and programs with own identity. They must promote more accountability to ensure fiscal autonomy and editorial independence. They also need to adopt a more interactive approach as against the preaching and teaching technique and determine the true value or return on investments of PSBs that will redound to the benefit of the people.
The one-day symposium held on 5 May 2014 provided a platform for broadcasters from Asia and the Arab countries to discuss the emerging factors and best approaches to the future of PSBs particularly in the Arab world.
During the inaugural session, Mrs. Dra Rosarita Niken Widiastuti, President Director of Radio Republik Indonesia and President of the AIBD General Conference, cited the need to understand the basic elements of a true PSB model and said broadcasters should learn from the experiences of PSBs in various countries.
AIBD Director Yang Binyuan delivered the opening remarks, saying that with advanced technologies and audiences becoming more active users from mere passive recipients, it has become essential for public broadcasters to keep updated with the technological changes, provide better and more expanded services.
For his part, Mr. Salah Eddine Maaoui, Director General of ASBU, warned PSBs in the Arab world to be more proactive and focused to meet the challenges brought about by the dominance of private TV channels in the region.
“Competition might just wipe out PSBs in the region and disappear unless they act to deal with the challenges in content creation, technology adoption and building capacity of human resource,” he said.
Some 10 speakers from Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific spoke about best practices in PSBs and essentials to keep PSBs relevant and sustainable.