What is public service media?

The term ‘public service media’ retains the core ethos of public service broadcasting while enabling public service broadcasters to engage with audiences via new media platforms

In the digital era new electronic media platforms have continued to develop alongside radio and television. In many countries public service media has begun to evolve as established public service broadcasters respond to the availability of these new platforms.

A shared and trusted public media space has proved central to effective democracy worldwide. Public service media enables the core principles of public service broadcasting to be adapted to the new multiplatform media landscape.

The pillars of Public Service Media

‘Public service media’ is a shared multiplatform media space that is relevant, credible and impartial. PSM is essential for an informed and effective democracy and should be accessible and accountable to all citizens. It is frequently provided at a national level by established public broadcasters

The ethos of public service broadcasting has always been about more than the medium of ‘broadcasting’. As digital mass media continues to evolve from broadcast to multiplatform there is an urgent need to ensure that the key principles of a shared and trusted public media space – characterised by public service broadcasting – are enshrined in new definitions and understandings of ‘public media’.

For citizens to be informed as well as entertained, public media organisations need to engage diverse audiences with credible, high-quality content. Impartial domestic and international news coverage is central to PSM in order to inform public understanding of a complex and globalised world.

To ensure trust and credibility, PSM organisations should be governed and operated in a transparent manner and must be fully accountable to citizens. In an interactive digital age, PSM organisations may commission, curate and aggregate high-quality media content across multiple platforms in addition to producing content ‘in-house’.

Public service media organisations should enable citizens to access and interact with free, independent, engaging and relevant content whether they are in rural or urban environments, irrespective of economic status or technology.

Our key pillars of PSM in more detail:

Funding and governance are central to public accountability

The keys to public engagement – from access to trust

Five content types at the heart of PSM

Evaluating audience reach and impact is essential for PSM