27 February 2023.
Today, the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) is launching a report on Integrating Ethnic Content into Public Service Broadcasting, as part of its wider work focusing on Myanmar. The report outlines the key international standards governing public service broadcasting (PSB), and then focuses on how these broadcasters can and should reflect the ethnic diversity of the societies they serve. A final section looks at other ways of promoting ethnic content within the overall broadcasting environment.
“The public broadcasting system in Myanmar never reflected the very rich and diverse ethnic makeup of the country,” said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of CLD. “While moving forward on this issue is not possible now, following the February 2021 military coup, it is important to start building awareness of what will be needed when Myanmar transitions back to democracy.”
CLD is working to build understanding among pro-democracy Myanmar actors about international standards on freedom of expression, as well as the institutional structures which are needed to support an environment of respect for this fundamental right. A genuine public service broadcasting system which, among other things, gives voice to and serves the information needs of all groups in society is a key part of this. Our dedicated webpage for Myanmar resources is available here.
The report outlines a number of ways in which public service broadcasters can deliver on their obligation to be diverse and representative – such as through dedicated ethnic language channels and incorporating ethnic content into their programming through independent productions – providing examples of how this is done in different countries around the world. It also looks at more structural measures, such as through having representatives of ethnic groups on the governing boards of public broadcasters and general legal or policy requirements to reflect the diversity of the societies they serve. The report also looks at other ways to support the provision of ethnic content, such as by providing public funding to support the production of public interest content or ensuring the integration of ethnic broadcasters into the community and commercial broadcasting sectors.
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