An upcoming study on public media in the Global South calls for major reforms to help reinvent public service media.
Back in 2007, responding to people’s growing dissatisfaction with the commercial news media in Taiwan, PTS, the country’s public television service launched PeoPo, a portal that was designed to host video reports made by citizens. Part of the project was also a training program that was intended to teach citizens how to create such reports.
The project was a sensation.
The number of video-making citizens exceeded 3,400 by 2009 and was close to 7,400 in 2013, according to a RIPE report. Half of those who enrolled in this program are youths aged between 21 and 30. PeoPo concluded collaboration agreements with over 200 NGOs and 15 college news centers to hold training sessions. It cost PST a frugal US$200,000 a year to fund this project.
All in all, this is truly an example of the development of public service media at its finest.
However, unfortunately this is a comparatively rare example of success in such development so far. In fact, the state of public media in the Global South (defined as Africa, Latin America and developing Asia, including Middle East) is far from rosy. Most are struggling with a spate of structural problems coupled with political pressures.