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Strasbourg, 1 October 2009

CDMC(2009) Misc4

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CONSULTATION MEETING ON PUBLIC SERVICE MEDIA GOVERNANCE

Strasbourg
17 and 18 September 2009
Agora Building
Room G 05

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SYNOPSIS AND SUMMARY OF DEBATES

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Consultation meeting on public service media governance

Strasbourg, 17 – 18 September 2009

Synopsis and summary of debates

Synopsis

On 17 and 18 September, the Media and Information Society Division organised in Strasbourg a Consultation meeting on public service media governance.

The general aim of the meeting was to prepare the work of the future ad hoc Advisory Group on Public Service Media Governance (MC-S-PG) that will operate under the authority of the Steering Committee on Media and New Communication Services (CDMC). The mandate of the MC-S-PG, flowing from the political documents adopted at the 1st Ministerial Conference on the Media and New Communication Services (see in particular §§ 5-6 of the Action Plan), contains inter alia the following elements:

(See the Terms of Reference of the MC-S-PG at Appendix 1).

Particular objectives of the Consultation meeting were the following:

- to examine a number of issues such as the adaptation of PSM governance models to the new technological and socio-cultural environment; the role of the public in PSM governance; methods of management and PSM governance, etc.;
- to suggest priority areas relevant for the future work on PSM governance, and formulate a number of preliminary findings on the matter;
- to discuss possible involvement of the participants in the work of the future Group.

All these objectives were successfully attained. The issues included on the agenda were discussed either during the three discussion panels or the general debates. Participants suggested priority areas for the future work on the matter and formulated a number of preliminary findings on the matter.

Given the inter-disciplinary theme proposed for the debates, as well as the multi-stakeholder approach adopted as a principle for the work on the issue of public service media governance, participants in the meeting came from different horizons, such as academia, industry, management, public authorities, civil society, INGOs, international organisations.

The meeting was chaired by Tim Suter (United Kingdom), who moderated as well one of the discussion panels. The other two discussion panels were moderated by Christian S. Nissen (Denmark) and Bissera Zankova (Bulgaria).

(See the Agenda of the meeting at Appendix 2, the List of participants at Appendix 3, and the List of working and information documents at Appendix 4).

During the meeting, several topics and sub-topics were discussed. A number of presentations were made by moderators and members of different discussion panels. Some of these presentations are available on the website of the Media and Information Society Division at the following address:
http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/media/Doc/Presentation_PSMG_sep09_en.asp

The debates were rich as substance; the expressed points of view were complementary and sometimes contradictory. Several participants pointed out that this first discussion on the matter was very fruitful and useful.

At the end of the meeting, several findings were summarised. No general conclusions were drawn from the debate, as on a number of issues there was no total consensus among participants; this was considered as something natural at a preliminary stage of the work of the future ad hoc Advisory Group.

Summary of discussions prepared by bissera

I. Public service media today: ensuring governance models are appropriate to the new technological and social environment

1. Public service media (PSM) faces a lot of challenges today, such as deep changes in technological and socio-cultural environment, significant pressure of competition with the private sector, the decline of audience numbers, etc. However, PSM has to reflect the society it serves and in its turn to challenge the society it serves. PSM governance should deal with all the complexities PSM encounters under the present conditions such as the increasing competition, the inadequate funding, the necessity of more efficient safeguards for its independence, the need to respond to fragmented content and audiences and the fulfilment of quality and ethical standards.

2. PSM should remain independent from political and economic interests and this is its most distinguishing feature. Pluralism and social inclusion are its main objectives. Good governance should secure the accomplishment of these highly relevant social goals as well as the sustainability and the continuity of the public service. Particularly for PSM, it is crucial to maintain the separation of its supervision from the day to day business. In the converging environment, PSM should continue to be independent and accountable to society. In a situation of fragmented delivery, governing bodies should focus on the core purpose of the organisation and guarantee effective performance, manage risks and address appropriately different stakeholders.

3. There are many definitions of governance varying from country to country. What matters for PSM is to follow the model of openness, transparency and accountability, i.e. governing beyond governance.

4. When implementing rules, they can produce different results in various countries depending on the political culture and people’s behaviour. Governance can be examined from two perspectives: on the one hand, it implies external relationships with stakeholders, while on the other - it concentrates on internal management. The good governance standard should promote values for the whole organisation which are demonstrated mainly through people’s behaviour.

5. When dwelling on PSM governance, the behaviour of persons and groups is of greater importance than structures. The role of the public shifted from being a passive one to a more active one, as technologies provide new opportunities for participation and choices. Governance models should be dynamic and should respond to audiences and technological changes. Monitoring and governance of PSM follow the national tradition and it is hard to agree on a set of common principles regarding their legal and institutional arrangements. A shared conclusion is that the general political culture is of particular importance and a precondition for achieving good governance.

6. Multilevel governance arrangements can be effective tools because they allow for the application of a complex and comprehensive approach to problems. The disadvantage is, however, that they can easily result in regulation overload. A regulatory response to this situation is the more appropriate and active use of self- and co-regulation and generally of more flexible forms of influencing people’s behaviour.

7. With the development of society, new instruments of PSM accountability come to the fore – assessment commissions, panels, ombudsmen, etc. They represent the inherent link existing between PSM and civil society and can provide useful feedback for assessing PSM performance.

8. Independence of PSM cannot be complete if there is not a right balance between monitoring and evaluation of its remit and budget - on the one hand, and proper understanding of its independence - on the other. With regard to this, the relationships with the regulatory authority can serve as a buffer zone between the media and the government.

9. Under the current conditions, the inclusion of on-line services in the remit modifies the relationships between PSM and the audience. In order to strengthen its position in the highly competitive and technologically converging environment, public operators should keep in touch with their audiences and especially with younger generations. In this respect, PSM governance should reflect the changing media landscape. It should allow PSM to fulfil its remit within its scope and serve pluralism without any threat of limiting its missions. However, in modern environment, it is debated whether public service can be carried by various organisations and platforms which could also distribute content of public value. While following these developments and considering the enriching character of such information and video materials, PSM institutions should be guaranteed as an unalienable element of the democratic framework.

10. PSM institutions generate trust and signify the continuity and the independence of the public service, its cultural role for preserving archives, its steering power, credibility and capacity to support quality journalism, including investigative journalism. More particularly, taking account of the new type of distribution of the public service, clear criteria should be laid down regarding what kind of content qualifies for long term structural investments.

11. At the same time, cooperation between PSM and its competitors should be fostered and new areas of partnerships should be identified in order to give impetus to good quality journalism, to boost film production and to offer wider access to archives. In this direction, it would be advisable to consider the establishment of special funds to secure adequate funding of different types of public service.

II. Public service media governance and the public

12. Despite the institutional and financial guarantees, PSM activity should be recognised and supported by the public. In regard to this, an essential target for PSM is to strengthen its relationships with the public. Civil society participation should intensify adjusting its corporate interests to the public interest at large. To pursue public interest should be a guiding principle for PSM governance.

13. If we probe more in depth, we can distinguish two types of public contribution to PSM activities: (a) provision of content and on-line participation enriching public service programming, and (b) involvement in the management of the organisation, i.e. civil society representation in the PSM governing bodies.

14. While the latter objective should be approached with caution because of various reasons and having due regard of PSM autonomy and professional needs, more flexible forms of public participation fostering transparency, responsiveness and accountability and enhancing the ethical dimension of governance, such as the appointment of ombudspersons and ambassadors of the public, merit further exploration. Without imposing the public pluralist model of management on the PSM, it should be once again underlined that its partnership with civil society is central to its operation and especially to the proper discharge of its remit. PSM should encourage participation through mediation and facilitation and its governance should reflect shared media-making and participatory practices.

15. The active relationships of the PSM with the audience can expand on various levels, encompassing participation in defining the remit and the specific tasks it entails, representation on an institutional level, including management and financing, and on the level of programming, improving the services offered through the provision of independent and user-generated content. In order for all these forms of involvement to be effective, the public has to be duly informed by the public service operators about the opportunities they have at their disposal. Thinking of public means thinking of people not just as consumers, but also as citizens. And identifying citizens’ needs in communication field is relevant to PSM governance.

16. The diversification of public involvement with the rapid distribution of new communications services is worth being examined more closely. PSM should maintain contact with various communities and collaborate with on-line communities and groups of different ethnic origin. Under the conditions of broad social networking and interaction, the purpose and role of the broadcasting councils and other pluralistic bodies merit special attention. In no way they should be closed bodies for channelling narrow interests and intentions but should represent the wide public. With regard to this, it is most desirable clear criteria and procedures for their recruitment and performance to be laid down. PSM could also consider other forms of public involvement by organising hearings and discussions on issues pertaining to both management and provision of services.

17. PSM should search for new tools and mechanisms for permitting the public in and especially the young segment of it. It should strive to inform and raise awareness of the audience as to make its members active and critical participants in their common relationships.

III. Public service media governance and management methods

18. From a managerial point of view, good governance is associated with achieving better results for the organisation. The high quality management has a crucial bearing on the characteristic of an organisation as a high quality institution. In this respect, a clear understanding of the relationship between the chair and the executive and their roles and responsibilities is fundamental. Vis-à-vis the public service, the political pressure exerted upon this link can exacerbate the tense relations between the two, which eventually may threaten the independence of the PSM.

19. Another significant factor for the accomplishment of good governance and management is the provision of training and capacity building where a peer network for evaluation along clear-cut criteria can prove useful. The proliferation of the new services brings to the fore other skills of the administrative and creative staff, which should focus on their engagement with audiences and communities. The introduction of on-going and on-line panels can serve as a public corrective of the administrative dimension of governance. Further to their operation, the engagement of a top manager with the transmission of the ideas and proposals of the panels to the board could secure consistency of participation from bottom to top.

20. The success of the PSM will remain a complex aim for which it is impossible to define objective criteria. The latter are also complex and comprehensive by nature and should take into account the long-term objectives pursued by the institution. Internal organisation of work based on as many synergies as possible could generate new ideas and maximise the results.

21. In the digital age, the distinctiveness of PSM output should remain its ultimate distinguishing feature. An appropriate measure for its social and cultural impact and ideally for its high production quality could be the audience reach and the latter could be specified further for different genres and groups. However, the problem of measuring PSM impact remains complex and requires more in depth investigation in order for a more elaborate range of criteria to be found.

22. The new highly competitive environment calls for a strong leadership of PSM. Its managers have to work with the understanding of the impact the new technologies exert on processes and people, with the vision that innovation, new media culture and multi-skilled performance of all types of professionals – members of the boards and journalists - are the necessary preconditions for the effective operation of the organisation. The flow across media platforms diversifies content but it also brings in new methods of production, supervision and control which require faster reaction and adaptation to the new reality. Dialogue also intensifies and goes on along faster lines. In this respect, it will be worthwhile expanding PSM communications with the following partners:

IV. Public service media in a broader media context

23. PSM should take active part in the elaboration of rules of self- and co-regulation which do not influence its own conduct only but have a wider effect on the whole media sector. Thus public media can engender trust and be an inspirational model for other media. The intense communication and dialogue with relevant bodies can be a fruitful basis for the devising of suitable criteria for the assessment of the public service mission.

24. Innovation and being at the forefront of building a vibrant information society are challenging pursuits for PSM. They comprise objectives that should stay constantly on the PSM agenda and become an element of its public remit. With regard to this, PSM should establish partnerships with portals and set up their own websites, promote creativity and diversify its production in the traditional way and via new communications platforms, profit from best practices such as civil and mobile journalism. In the last case PSM can be an inspiring factor for advancing high quality civil journalism by setting benchmarks and standards.

25. In conclusion, four “I”s should be at the core of good PSM governance: Independence, Involvement, Innovation, and their interdependence.

* * *

APPENDIX I
Terms of Reference Ad hoc Advisory Group on Public Service Media Governance
(MC-S-PG)

     

1.

Name of committee:

Ad hoc Advisory Group on Public Service Media Governance (MC-S-PG)

2.

Type of committee:

Ad hoc Advisory Group

3.

Source of terms of reference:

The Committee of Ministers upon the proposal of the Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC)

4.

Terms of reference:

 

Having regard to:

-

Resolution Res(2005)47 on committees and subordinate bodies, their terms of reference and working methods;

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Declaration and the Action Plan adopted at the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe member states (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005; CM(2005)80 final 17 May 2005), in particular chapter I.3. “Strengthening democracy, good governance and the rule of law in member states”;

-

Resolution “Towards a new notion of media” and the corresponding Action Plan to be adopted at the 1st Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and New Communication Services (Reykjavik, 28-29 May 2009);

-

Recommendation Rec(2007)3 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the remit of public service media in the information society, adopted on 31 January 2007;

-

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950, CETS No. 5), its additional protocols and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.

 

Under the authority of the Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC) and in relation to the implementation of Project 2008/DGHL/1415 “Standard-setting and policy assistance on topical issues concerning the media and new communication services”, the Group is instructed to:

i.

Pursue work on the role of public service media in a democratic society. In particular, examine modalities for public delivery to the widest possible public, including young audiences, of trustworthy, diverse and pluralistic media and media-like services, paying attention to the way in which information and media or media-like services are sought and received and challenges to obtaining quality or trustworthy content. To this end, elaborate, if appropriate, on a policy document exploring governance approaches that could contribute to fulfilling public service media’s remit. This should include reflections on results-oriented alternative public expenditure approaches for media and media-like services.

5.

Composition of the Group:

5.A.

Members

 

The Group shall be composed of eight specialists on public service media, on participation and on governance matters and management, appointed by the Secretary General. The Council of Europe budget will bear their travel and subsistence expenses incurred in connection with their participation in meetings of the Group.

5.B.

Participants

 

The European Audiovisual Observatory may send a representative to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

5.C.

Other participants

 

The European Commission may send a representative to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

5.D.

Observers

 

The following non-governmental organisations may send a representative to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses:
- Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT);
- European Association for the Viewers Interests (EAVI);
- European Broadcasting Union (EBU);
- European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA).

6.

Working Methods and Structures

 

In order to carry out its tasks, the Group may, where necessary, within the limits of available budgetary appropriations, seek advice of external experts, have recourse to consultants and consult with relevant governmental and/or non-governmental organisations and other members of civil society, as well as other pertinent bodies.
The MC-S-PG is entitled to invite other participants and/or observers to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses. Member states may be able to designate representatives to attend and present their position at meetings, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses. The MC-S-PG will have to request the necessary authorisation from the CDMC for the admission of observers (other than those already identified in the Terms of Reference).

7.

Duration

 

These terms of reference will expire on 31 December 2010.

* * *

APPENDIX II – AGENDA

17 September

09:30 Opening of the meeting

10:00 Governance in the public services domain

10:15 General discussion:

11:00 Coffee break

11:30 Public service media today: ensuring governance models are appropriate to the new technological and social environment

Presentation by Christian S. NISSEN, independent advisor on media and management, Denmark

11:45 Panel discussion 1:

Moderator:

Panellists:

13:00 Lunch

14:30 Public service media today: ensuring governance models are appropriate to the new technological and social environment

(Continuation of the discussion)

16:00 Coffee break

16:30 Public service media governance and the public

Panel discussion 2:

Moderator:

Panellists:

Nuno CONDE, State Department for Media Policy, Portugal

18:00 Close of the first day

18 September

9:30 Public service media governance and management methods

Panel discussion 3:

Moderator:
Tim SUTER, Managing Director, Perspective Associates Limited, United Kingdom
Panellists:

Giuseppe de MARTINO, Legal Director, DailyMotion.com
Olaf STEENFADT, digital media consultant, MTV, Hungary

11:00 Coffee break

11:30 Public service media governance and other important factors

General discussion:

13:00 Lunch

14:30 Examination of terms of reference of the future Group on PSM Governance (MC-S-PG) and suggestions for orientation of its work

General discussion:

16:00 Coffee break

16:30 Conclusions

18:00 Close of the meeting

* * *

APPENDIX III – LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

1) Pascal ALBRECHTSKIRCHINGER
ZDF, European Affairs Office

2) Pierre-Yves ANDRAU, European Commission, DG Information Society & Media

3) Jo BARDOEL
Amsterdam School of Communications Research

4) Vera BEUTLER
Federal Office for Communications (OFCOM), Switzerland

5) Pedro Jorge BRAUMANN
Director of Public Service Broadcaster Studies Center, Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP)

6) Paolo CELOT
Secretary General of the European Association for Viewers Interests (EAVI)

7) Garegin CHUGASZYAN
Member of the CDMC Bureau

8) Nuno CONDE
State Department for Media Policy, Portugal

9) Abdulvahap DARENDELI
Member of the Radio and Television Supreme Council, Turkey

10) Irfan Dundar ERENTURK
Expert, Radio and Television Supreme Council, Turkey

11) Louis HEINSMAN
International Relations, NPO (Netherlands Public Broadcasting)

12) Lizzie JACKSON
Deputy Head of the Faculty of Communications Media, Ravensbourne College of Design and
Communication, United Kingdom

13) Ewan KING
Director of Research, Office for Public Management, United Kingdom

14) Márk LENGYEL
Attorney at law, Hungary

15) Patrice LETOURNEAU
Voirin Consultants, Paris

16) Andra LEURDIJK

17) Giuseppe de MARTINO
Legal Director, DailyMotion.com (participation on 18/09/09)

18) Hannah McCAUSLAND
European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA)

19) Christian S. NISSEN
Independent advisor on media and management, Denmark (participation on 17/09/09)

20) Olaf STEENFADT
Digital media consultant, MTV, Hungary

21) Tim SUTER
Managing Director, Perspective Associates Limited, United Kingdom, Chairperson of the meeting

22) Amélie VOIRIN
Voirin Consultants, Paris

23) Michael WAGNER
European Broadcasting Union, Deputy Director, Legal and Public Affairs Department

24) Vaclav ZAK
Independent consultant, Czech Republic

25) Bissera ZANKOVA
State Agency on Information Technologies and Communications, Bulgaria

Secretariat

Jan KLEIJSSEN
Director of Standard-Setting, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe

Jan MALINOWSKI
Head of Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe

Eugen CIBOTARU
Administrator, Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe

Lee HIBBARD
Administrator, Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe

Elvana THACI
Administrator, Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe

Franziska KLOPFER
Administrator, Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe

Françoise BACHMANN
Assistant, Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe

Helen ECK
Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe

Interpreters

Rémy JAIN

Olivier OBRECHT

Maryline NEUSCHWANDER

Apologised:

Karol JAKUBOWICZ, President of UNESCO’s Information for All Programme

Carmen PAUN, European Youth Press, Network of young media makers, Brussels

Adriano FARANO, Executive Manager, Editor, Cafebabel.com: the European magazine

Wolfgang CLOSS, European Audiovisual Observatory

Ross BIGGAM, Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT)

* * *

APPENDIX IV - List of working and information documents

Working documents

1. Draft Agenda and Draft Annotated Agenda

2. 1st Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and New Communication Services “A new notion of media?” (28 and 29 May 2009, Reykjavik, Iceland):

3. Terms of Reference Ad hoc Advisory Group on Public Service Media Governance (MC-S-PG)

Selected information documents

4. Recommendation Rec(2007)3 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states on the remit of public service media in the information society

5. Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)16 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states on measures to promote the public service value of the Internet

6. Recommendation 1878 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe “The funding of public service broadcasting”

7. Strategies of public service media as regards promoting a wider democratic participation of individuals - Report prepared by the Group of Specialists on Public Service Media in the Information Society (MC-S-PSM), November 2008

8. The public service remit and the new media, IRIS plus, European Audiovisual Observatory, 2009

9. The Good Governance Standard for Public Services (The Independent Commission for Good Governance in Public Services)

10. Public service media in the information society (C. Nissen)

11. Public service broadcasting: a new beginning, or the beginning of the end? (K. Jakubowicz)

12. State aid: Commission updates rules for state funding of public broadcasters (July 2009)