Mainstream Media And Public Health

When I had set out on my career in TV, British television was an elitist world of three channels (C4 started in 1982) in some ways it still is elitist, but access has been revolutionised by technology, and technology has given rise to growth and opportunity in community media.

I am appalled sometimes at the quality of material broadcast on mainstream media. Not all of it of course, but the infatuation with celebrity rages on, as does the tendency towards negativity.

News is seduced by the availability of pictures, by celebrity, by shock and awe, by death, killing, violence and tragedy. Government ministers herald the public service value of TV inventions like Big Brother.

In absolute terms this may be right, but that is not where we are at. Would you talk to your child at breakfast each day about such bloody aspects of humanity’s approach to life when there are golden stories plain to see and ready to share ?

I believe that mainstream news is creating a public health issue by its relentless pursuit of negative content. This is not an argument for censoring the nasty bits, but let there be balance.

Community Radio and TV Funding

– Parliamentary Debate

On Tuesday 24th April 2007 Parliament, via Westminster Hall, debated funding strategy and Parliamentary responsibility for community media. One of the first observations made was that community media builds the individual’s self esteem, as well as encouraging social engagement, political understanding, and the acquisition of basic IT skills.

‘Our Mission’ underlines our own understanding of why this is both achievable and relevant to community media practice.

Community TV Trust [CTVT] is keen to reach policy makers and to exert influence where it can. We have been consulted by the Liberal Democrat Party and by KEA, a Brussels based organisation working for the European Commission.

CTVT applauds the broad consensus achieved across the three main parties in this debate, all seeing value in funding on a sustainable basis the range of work undertaken by the community media sector. Benefits are now being widely understood at Parliamentary level.

DDR – Digital Dividend Review Reviewed

Ofcom’s determination to auction off spectrum released by Digital Switchover has been evident for a long time.

media001The local TV lobby has pushed and pushed and frankly got nowhere. Ofcom’s determination to auction off spectrum released by Digital Switchover has been evident for a long time.

ofcom-logo-lgIn recent times the CMA, Community Media Association, has engaged energetically with the world of community and TV; Community TV Trust has lined up with the CMA lobby on behalf of those promoting local TV (in the broadcast model) despite its own clear preference for the broadband option of delivery; even Parliament has started to pipe up with a growing understanding of what community media can offer to the individual … yet to no avail.

At a meeting held at Ofcom’s riverside offices in Southwark on 14th January 2008 it was clear that local TV while supported in statistics as a clear preference of the surveyed public was not to be favoured by the regulator or Government.

Whether spectrum is considered as an asset to sell for money or as a resource to treasure, share and ensure, local TV will not be supported in real terms by Ofcom.