Conference organised by

Communication and Media Research Institute, University of Westminster, with support from UNESCO and BBC Media Action

The Future of Public Service Broadcasting in Africa

Public service broadcasting is still important for Africa and other developing regions. There are, however, questions about the next generation of public service broadcasting and issues about the continued relevance of the public service broadcasting model. Are we witnessing the disappearance of BBC-type of public service broadcasting in Africa? There is increasing evidence that this may be so.

The growing dominance of community, private and commercial broadcasting in countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana is calling for a rethink of a license-fee funded broadcasting model and a switch of ads to these broadcasters, damaging the financial base for public service broadcasters, and more and more closures.

As for TV, the younger generation is switching to viewing on platforms other than the TV set. As license fees are mostly based on the TV set within a household, this reduces willingness to pay the license fee. Additionally, as more and more channels appear, the audiences for PSBs are eroding in many African countries.

Public Service radio is still strong in countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Congo, Liberia, Sudan, Nigeria and Kenya but in others it has evolved into commercial models, with little informational content.

Inmany parts of Africa, state broadcasters still have public service broadcasting aspirations, but the reality is all too often government control.

Nonetheless, the need for trusted information about national and local developments is as crucial as ever, as is the need for programming to celebrate national cultures, explain social change projects, and to offer relevant, quality entertainment for all ages and ethnic groups.

For all these reasons, new thinking on public service broadcasting in Africa is urgently needed. This is why the University of Westminster is inviting students, researchers, academics, practitioners, policymakers and thinkers to look ahead and identify how public service broadcasting can be helped to survive and develop in the years ahead.

The themes explored in the one-day workshop are likely to include:

  1. The concept of public service broadcasting in a changing Africa
  2. New funding models for public service broadcasting in Africa
  3. Public service broadcasting and censorship in Africa
  4. Public service broadcasting funding models in Africa and sustainability
  5. Audiences for public service broadcasting in Africa
  6. Political pressures on public service broadcasting news in Africa
  7. Regulation of public service broadcasting in Africa
  8. New formats for Public service broadcasting in Africa
  9. Young African audiences, new ICTs and public service broadcasting
  10.  Politics of managing public service broadcasting stations in Africa
  11. Alternative models to public service broadcasting in Africa
  12. Political, social and cultural roles of public broadcasting in Africa

Abstract Submission

Please send a 300-word abstract by 24 January, 2013. Successful applicants will be notified by 31 January, 2013. They must include the presenter's name, affiliation, email and postal address, together with the paper’s title. Please send abstracts to Helen Cohen at [email protected]

Programme and Registration

The fee for registration (which applies to all participants, including presenters) will be £99, with a concessionary rate of £49 for students, to cover all conference documentation, refreshments, lunch and administration costs. Registration will open at the end of January 2013.

Related Event

Please note that the above event is preceded by a related one-day workshop on  “New Thinking on Public Service Broadcasting for the Next Generation” that is also organised by Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), University of Westminster, with support from UNESCO and BBC Media Action. It will be held at the University of Westminster, Regent Campus, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW, UK, on Friday 1 March 2013, 9am-6.30pm.

Confirmed Speakers Include:

  • Akinori Hashimoto, Head of News Production Division, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
  • Deane James, Director of Policy and Learning, BBC Media Action
  • Elizabeth Smith, former Secretary General, Commonwealth Broadcasting Association
  • Greg Dyke, former BBC Director General (keynote speaker)
  • Ingrid Deltenre, Director General, European Broadcasting Union
  • Kip Meek, Special Adviser, Everything, Everywhere and ex Ofcom
  • Sally-Ann Wilson, Secretary General, Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA)

For more information contact Helen Cohen, Events Administrator [email protected]

Registration will open at the end of January 2013.