Public service versus private interest : a comparative analysis of the Australian and British debates

McNair, Brian (2012) Public service versus private interest : a comparative analysis of the Australian and British debates. In Low, Gregory Ferrell, Fiona, Martin, & Chadwick, Paul (Eds.) Proceedings of the 6th RIPE Conference : Value for Public Money – Money for Public Value (RIPE@2012), University of Tampere, University of Sydney, Sydney, pp. 1-14.

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This paper will compare and evaluate the effectiveness of commercial media lobbying and advocacy against public service media in two countries, the United Kingdom and Australia. The paper will focus empirically on the commercial media coverage of public service media issues in these countries (relating to the BBC and ABC respectively) over the period since the election of the Conservative-led Coalition in Britain in June 2010, and the election of the Gillard government in Australia in August 2010. Reference will be made to preceding periods as relevant to an understanding of the current environment.

In both countries the main commercial media rival to public service media is News Corp and its associated organisations – News Ltd and Sky News in Australia, and News International and BSkyB in the UK.

The paper will examine with analysis of print and online news and commentary content how News Corp outlets have reported and commented on the activities and plans of public service media as the latter have developed and extended their presence on digital TV and online platforms. It will also consider the responses of the ABC and BBC to these interventions. It will consider, thirdly, the responses of Australian and British governments to these debates, and the policy outcomes. This section of the paper will seek to evaluate the trajectory of the policy-public-private dynamic in recent years, and to draw conclusions as to the future direction of policy.

Particular attention will be devoted to recent key moments in this unfolding dialogue. In Britain, debates around the efforts of News Corp to take over 100% of BSkyB, both before and after the breaking of the phone-hacking scandal in July 2011; in Australia, the debate around the National Broadband Network and the competitive tender process for ABC World, that country’s public service transnational broadcaster; and other key moments where rivalry between News Corp companies and public service media became mainstream news stories provoking wider public debate.

The paper will conclude with recommendations as to how public service media organisations might engage constructively with commercial organisations in the future, including News Corp, and taking into account emerging technological and financial challenges to traditional rationales for public service provision.

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ID Code: 58757
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Deposited On: 27 Mar 2013 23:23
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 15:40

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