On Tuesday 15th March I will be giving evidence to the House of Lords Committee on the Future of the BBC and Public Service Broadcasting in a couple of weeks time.
I’ve been asked to talk about the role of community media, and the principles of access and social gain, and why they are important.
The committee is also interested in issues associated with changing technology, and the decentralised and post-institutional platforms that enable a different approach to media engagement.
My focus will be on a couple of essential areas and principles of community media:
- Access to both the production of content and the governance of the accountable body as a civic right.
- Social gain as the founding principle of state-supported community media.
- Diversity of supply and participation based on the decentralised model of independent media.
I want to draw a distinction between the role of commercial media, the BBC and other public service broadcasters, and the independent community-focussed groups that don’t easily get recognition or support.
I would also like to draw the committees’ attention to a number of factors:
- Ofcom’s limited take on the Equalities Act 2010, and its focus on consumer-based media rather than citizenship.
- Ofcom’s devaluation of the legacy broadcast frequencies and the push for DAB as risking universal access to services.
- Decentralising technologies and platforms that will contribute to a post-institutional media environment.
If I can collate a couple of good examples that I don’t have to explain in too much detail, then it will be helpful. Any suggestions of good examples I can refer to, either of broadcast or online media projects that are innovative and developmental, which would be a good example to push the committee’s thinking forward.