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Philippines To Transform State Broadcasting System into Independent Public Broadcasting Service
The quest for a Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) in the Philippines may soon be realized. A multisectoral group met 10 March 2005 at SEAMEO-INNOTECH in Quezon City to plan out strategies in the setting up of the PSB.

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Philippines To Transform State Broadcasting System into Independent Public Broadcasting Service

21-03-2005 (New Delhi)
The quest for a Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) in the Philippines may soon be realized. A multisectoral group met 10 March 2005 at SEAMEO-INNOTECH in Quezon City to plan out strategies in the setting up of the PSB.
The group’s interest was buoyed up by the commitment of the Secretary for Government Mass Media Group Cerge Remonde that the core of the envisioned PSB will come from government media networks which include the National Broadcasting Network (NBN) and Philippine Broadcasting Service.

“For over four decades, we have been advocating for an alternative broadcast channel to complement the commercially-dominated Philippine broadcast media, “ said Florangel Rosario-Braid, convenor of the multisectoral forum and chairperson of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines Communication Committee.

According to Ms Braid, past initiatives did not succeed because of the lack of political will by national government to give up government media, uncoordinated advocacy efforts, low priority given by the legislature, and absence of a feasibility study.

Preciosa S. Soliven, Secretary General of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines assured the 50 forum participants that UNACOM and the UNESCO Secretariat have committed to give modest funds to support preparatory activities including the conduct of a feasibility study, public information and legislative advocacy, and production of program prototypes.

UNESCO is in the forefront of promoting and strengthening PSB systems worldwide. UNICEF Philippines also supports the initiative.

According to Secretary Remonde, a bi-partisan group of legislators from both houses of congress have expressed support for legislation that will set up the PSB.

NBN Channel 4 General Manager Jose Isabelo and PBS Director Rafael Dante Cruz also attended the forum and expressed support for the establishment of the PSB. A joint meeting of NBN and PBS media executives is scheduled in April 2005 to further discuss the conversion of the two government stations into a PSB.

During the forum, former press secretary Rod Reyes expressed support for the conversion of NBN and the government radio stations nationwide into a PSB and said that now seems to be the correct time.

Public broadcasting is distinct from state broadcasting as the former is owned, managed, financed and controlled by the public rather than the government, explained Rogelio V. Cuyno, president of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication. AIJC serves as the technical secretariat for the PSB Project.

With new media, the concept of PSB need not be limited to the use of radio and television, added Cuyno. There are other technological options available such as the use of the Internet and even mobile telephony. The linkage with existing community radio stations nationwide is also being considered. Among these are the Tambuli radio stations and the Gender and Peace (GenPeace) community radio stations managed by the Notre Dame Foundation in Mindanao. In the end, according to Mr. Cuyno, “we may even have a Public Multimedia Center which is decentralized or de-massified rather than monolithic.”

According to Elizabeth Diaz of the Concerned Women of the Philippines (CWP) and Philippine Association of Communication Educators (PACE), there is multi-sectoral clamor for the PSB. The commercial orientation has created an entertainment-oriented programming guided by the rating system. Even news and public affairs programs are being repackaged to be more “show-biz” oriented.

A recent survey conducted by the AIJC among multisectoral representatives revealed that nine out of 10 respondents said there is a need for PSB in the country. Approximately two-thirds believed that such a system could be economically viable.

Ms. Braid said that it may take at least another year to achieve the vision for a Philippine PSB. This is good news considering that we have been lobbying for a PSB the past four decades. Now, if only the Filipino audience can still wait.

(By Ramon R. Tuazon, Asian Institute on Journalism and Communication)

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  • This item can be found in the following topics:
          · Public Service Broadcasting: News Archives 2005
          · Philippines: News Archive 2005


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