We are living in unprecedented times.
The volume of disinformation surrounding recent elections and the Covid 19 pandemic threaten to disrupt not only democratic processes, but also our safety.
Evidence shows that the people who are most disadvantaged are also those who are most at risk from being targeted by conspiracy theorists. In these challenging times we need to be able to rely on our Public Service Broadcasters (PSB).
However, public service media is under threat through gradual decline of regulatory support and funding from government.
Public Service Media is ours, the public’s, and we should be able to voice our concerns about its development and direction to government, which should be transparent in the way it is funded and regulated.
VLV has set up the Citizens’ Public Service Media Forum to ensure that citizens’ interests are met when media policy is developed. This is especially important when new legislation is being considered, as is the case with the Media Bill, currently being considered in Parliament.
All the members of the PSM Forum believe that citizens interests should be properly represented in the debate over public service media. We want regulation to ensure that media provision provides public value, meeting the needs of citizens, now and in the future. This is critical if we are to have access to accurate and impartial information, a range of content which reflects UK culture, issues of interest, both local and national, and meets our democratic needs.
Current members of the PSM Forum include the International Broadcasting Trust, Children’s Media Foundation, the British Broadcasting Challenge, Sandford St Martin Trust, VLV, The Media Reform Coalition, Better Media, Decentered Media, the UK Coalition for Cultural Diversity, and Campaign for the Arts.
We hold regular meetings to discuss policy, provide briefings on consultations and coalesce to ensure that we provide a unified response to proposals which highlights the importance of citizen interests in public service media.
Separately we have also been working to support other organisations such as the National Council of Women, Into Film, Better Media and the Institute of Welsh Affairs. We have worked on campaigns which have included the organisations Silver Voices and Rural Media.
The PSM Forum has signed up to a set of principles which can be found here.
- Public service media is essential for a well-functioning, well-informed society.
- It is fundamental to our country, culture and democracy.
- It informs our national conversation and our national levels of information, education and wellbeing.
- It is a powerful medium that can influence public opinion on a whole range of issues. It can motivate us to take action to improve our lives and the world around us.
- It is not dictated by commercial interests.
- It is universally available to everyone at the point of access.
- News is a key ingredient of PSM and the BBC, our biggest brand news provider, is the envy of the world.
The Government has introduced a Media Bill which will change the way broadcasting is regulated in the future. It has also said that the way the BBC is funded needs to be reconsidered, which could lead to the BBC becoming a subscription service which only those who can afford it sign up to.
The changes being proposed could mean that some content that the Public Service Broadcasters currently provide simply won’t be available.
Much of the content provided by the PSBs is unlikely to be provided by commercial media outlets because it is seen as too niche or it doesn’t make enough profit.
Are you interested in joining the Forum?
We are always interested to hear from organisations interested in the Forum’s work, whether they might want to contribute or join the Forum as a member. Please do get in touch with Pip Eldridge if you want to know more about the Forum.
How can you help?
The decision about the future of the UK media regulation and the BBC should be made by the public and stakeholders – you!!!
We can help you make representations to Government and get your organisation’s voice heard. You can also sign up, pledge support for our public service broadcasting campaigns and share on your social media platforms.
We hope to help organisations get much more involved in responding to policy consultations on proposed changes to Public Service Media.
You will have the opportunity to:
- Discuss changes with a Forum made up of different organisations across the UK
- Speak directly to us so we can help you prepare submissions to consultations
- Use our data to support your submissions
Or you may prefer to let us quote your organisation in our submissions if you don’t have enough time or resource to make your own submissions.
Your involvement might include:
- Giving opinions on how to fund the BBC and other PSM content
- Suggesting alternative ways of supporting public service broadcasting
- Sharing concerns about access to public service broadcasting from your organisation’s point of view
The Citizens’ PSM Forum Project is being funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.