Serving the populist agenda. How German public media broadcasters inadvertently facilitate populist movements by evoking fear and anger

2020 ◽  
Vol 9 (4) ◽  
pp. 482-515
Kimon Kieslich ◽  
Frank Marcinkowski

The term Media Populism is used to indicate a ‘involuntary complicity’ between news media and populist movements based on the convergence of commercial media logic and populist communication style. It grants populists and their messages a high degree of media visibility. According to the literature, this applies more to tabloid media and infotainment content in commercial television than to upmarket media outlets and news programs. In this paper, we refer to another form of involuntary collaboration between news media and populists that is not based on similar communication styles, but simply on the fact that news media have to report on topics which populists claim issue ownership for. This applies foremost to upmarket media and public service broadcasting, which are obliged by their own quality standards or legal mandate to report completely and comprehensively on all topics of public concern. We are especially interested in the emotional response of German audiences to news coverage on two topics: mass migration and the role of Islam in Germany. With the help of two experiments, we demonstrate that public service news reporting on these issues provokes strong negative emotional reactions. What is more, our results indicate that media induced fear and anger lead to increased support for anti-migration and Islam-critical demands. Hence, German public service broadcasters may not only be ‘secret accomplices’ in creating negative emotions towards Muslim migration, but also facilitate populist movements.

2006 ◽  
Vol 120 (1) ◽  
pp. 5-9 ◽  
Elizabeth Jacka

This article dissects the implications for the ABC of the current Australian government media reforms. If the quality of policy development and discussion of such changes to key media laws and policy is poor in general, the level of consideration of the role of public broadcasting is worse. The author also considers other perennial dilemmas such as advertising on the ABC, governance and political interference, concluding that the new communications landscapes makes the ABC and public service broadcasting more necessary than ever — yet it is still awaiting a thorough exploration and adequate public discussion.

2013 ◽  
Vol 146 (1) ◽  
pp. 82-92 ◽  
Gay Hawkins

Is there anything left to say about public value and public service broadcasting (PSB) without lapsing into boosterism, special pleading, or wildly unsubstantiated claims about the role of PSB in making citizens and democracy? This article develops an alternative approach, one that considers publicness not as a pre-given or static value, but as something that has to be continually enacted or performed. Using recent debates in political theory, it examines the processes and ontological effects of what Latour calls ‘making things public’. It makes two assumptions. The first is that there is no such thing as ‘the public’ out there waiting to be addressed; rather, publics have to be called into being The second is that there are a multiplicity of ways in which publicness can be assembled, and the challenge for PSB is to establish why its strategies are better. The example used is the ABC's current affairs discussion show Q&A, which is investigated to see how it generates an ontology of publicness. In what ways is the notion of public address and assembly mobilised? How does the experience of a public as a form of what Warner calls ‘Stranger sociability’ extend from the live audience to the household viewer? In what ways are the notions of public reason and rational discussion enacted and disrupted? And how does this enactment of publicness generate a sometimes poetic, anarchic or ribald shadow reality tweeted in from anonymous participants competing for public attention? Finally, how does it both reproduce and reinvent existing institutional regimes of value within the ABC?

1999 ◽  
Vol 24 (4) ◽  
Peter Dahlgreen

Abstract: By the mid-1990s, the crisis in public service broadcasting in Sweden had passed and a new stability had emerged. In this situation, the two non-commercial television channels share the airwaves-and the public-chiefly with the new commercial terrestrial channel, TV4. This channel manifests a form of "popular public service." Yet the new stability is being challenged by social and cultural developments in Sweden, especially various forms of social fragmentation. The main argument is that a key role of public service broadcasting must be to enhance the democratic character of society. This can best be achieved by promoting what is called a civic culture, and the text discusses what this entails. The discussion concludes with some reflections on the emergence of digital television and how it could best further the public service project. Résumé: Au milieu des années 90, la crise dans la radiodiffusion de service public en Suède prend fin et une nouvelle stabilité s'instaure. À ce moment-là, les deux chaînes de télévision non-commerciales partagent les ondes-et le public-principalement avec TV4, une nouvelle chaîne terrestre commerciale. Cette dernière offre une forme de «service public populaire». Aujourd'hui, cependant, certains développements sociaux et culturels, surtout sous diverses formes de fragmentation sociale, sont en train de bouleverser cette nouvelle stabilité. L'idée principale est qu'un rôle clé de la radiodiffusion de service publique doit être de mettre en valeur la nature démocratique de la société. La meilleure façon d'accomplir cet objectif est de promouvoir ce qui s'appelle une culture civique, et l'article discute de ce qu'une telle culture comporterait. La discussion prend fin avec certaines observations sur l'émergence de la télévision digitale et la manière dont celle-ci peut faire avancer le projet de service au public.

2007 ◽  
Vol 32 (2) ◽  
Sue Ferguson

Abstract: Early promoters of public-service broadcasting (PSB) in Canada emphasized its democratic and nationalist merit. Of these twin pillars, only nationalism appears to still be standing. In this article, the author surveys the vision of PSB that emerged in the national English-language print media during the 2005 CBC/Radio-Canada lockout and suggests that our peculiar brand of multicultural nationalism (which underestimates the divisions within civil society) has subsumed democratic values. Yet, she argues democratic principles—particularly those of access, participation, and publicness—are critically important to defending the relevance of PSB in the current environment of seemingly endless media choices and borderless technology. Résumé : Les premiers promoteurs de la radiotélédiffusion de service public au Canada mettaient l’accent sur ses mérites démocratique et nationaliste. Aujourd’hui, de ces deux piliers, il semble que le mérite nationaliste soit le seul qui tienne bon. Dans cet article, l’auteur analyse la vision de la radiotélédiffusion de service public que l’on retrouve dans la presse écrite nationale de langue anglaise au cours du lock-out de CBC/Radio-Canada en 2005 et elle suggère que notre type spécifique de nationalisme multiculturel (qui sous estime les divisions de la société civile) a englobé les valeurs démocratiques. Toutefois, l’auteur affirme que ces principes démocratiques—en particulier ceux d’accessibilité, de participation et de valeurs publiques—sont extrêmement importants lorsqu’il s’agit de défendre la pertinence de la radiotélédiffusion de service public dans le contexte actuel de soi-disant choix infinis de médias et de technologies sans frontières.

Comunicar ◽  
2005 ◽  
Vol 13 (25) ◽  
pp. 259-264 ◽  
Manuel Pinto

This paper presents new aspects to think about public service broadcasting, emphasizing the role of emotion and entertainment to the understanding of the television experience. Television is discussed in the context of the «multi-screen society» and technological devices, from an ecological point of view. Finally, several aspects dealing with digital literacy are discussed. Este texto reflexiona sobre una nueva forma de concebir la televisión como servicio público, resaltando las dificultades y problemas que plantea analizar el concepto de la calidad de la televisión, si no se tiene en cuenta la dimensión emotiva y de entretenimiento del medio. Posteriormente, el autor pretende ubicar la televisión en el contexto de la multiplicidad de otras pantallas y tecnologías, subrayando las cuestiones del sentido y de la calidad de vida, desde un modelo ecológico. Finalmente, se apuntan algunas contribuciones para profundizar el concepto y las experiencias de alfabetización digital.

Baldwin Van Gorp ◽  
Dave Sinardet

In this chapter, the authors analyse the role of Belgian news media in policy-making. The chapter starts with a characterization of the Belgian media landscape, with its absence of ‘national’ media, a strong public service broadcast and an increasing degree of media concentration. Next, by analysing the ways in which the media report on and define issues, the chapter explores how the media are generators of knowledge, what their resources are, and what influence they have on decision-makers. What is the current role of the Belgian news media as policy players; how are policy problems framed; and what is their role as advocates, investigators and evaluators? To answer these questions, the authors rely on empirical research on Belgian media, agenda-setting, and framing.

2012 ◽  
Vol 40 (2) ◽  
Alexander Dhoest ◽  
Hilde Van den Bulck ◽  
Heidi Vandebosch ◽  
Myrte Dierckx

The public broadcasting remit in the eyes of the audience: survey research into the future role of Flemish public service broadcasting The public broadcasting remit in the eyes of the audience: survey research into the future role of Flemish public service broadcasting In view of the discussion about the future position of public service broadcasting, this research investigates the expectations of Flemings regarding their public service broadcasting institution VRT. Based on the current task description of the VRT, a survey was effectuated among a representative sample of Flemings (N=1565). Questions were asked about the content (broad or complementary to commercial broadcasting), audience (broad or niche) and distinctive nature of public service broadcasting. The analysis shows that, overall, Flemings are in favour of a broad public service broadcasting institution with a strong focus on entertainment (besides information), oriented towards a broad audience. At the same time, they believe the institution should distinguish itself from its competitors, through quality, social responsibility, cultural identity and (particularly creative) innovation, among other things. Cluster analysis shows that the call to prioritize culture and education over entertainment, which dominates public debate, is representative of only a minority (20%) of highly educated Flemings.

2004 ◽  
Vol 5 (8) ◽  
pp. 907-933 ◽  
Karl-Heinz Ladeur

The present German media structures are subject to a fundamental process of self-transformation due to technological as well as societal dynamics. This is especially the case for public service broadcasting. In the post-war era, the public service networks were one of the central intermediary institutions of organized pluralism, serving both the state and society at large. It is not only the growing competition between public and private broadcasters that has led to dramatic changes to the role of public sector broadcasters. The public sector is also being challenged by the rise of the entertainment economy and a shift in focus from public to private affairs. This paper describes the hitherto established role of public service broadcasting and its present crisis. The paper then proposes a proactive legal and political regulatory strategy, which might help find a new role for public broadcasters in a much more fragmented society. The proposed strategy follows the paradigm of proceduralization, which is also prevailing in many other parts of the institutional structures of postmodern society.

2014 ◽  
Vol 7 (3) ◽  
pp. 284-309
Bouziane Zaid

Television is one of the most important sources of information and entertainment for the majority of Moroccans. Since 2002, the Moroccan government has put forth policies to regulate the use of television as an important outside source for promoting its development programs. This audience reception study aims to assess the opinions of Moroccan television viewers on the quality of programming provided by the two public service TV stations, Al Oula and 2M. The study applies Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding theory to examine the interactions of the Moroccan audience with the content of the two public service television stations. This study focuses mainly on television viewers of lower educational backgrounds and those with lower incomes because they could benefit most from the developmental role of public service television. The study examines the extent to which TV programming addresses the viewers’ lifestyles and concerns and the expectations viewers may have of their public service stations. The study uses focus groups as a stand-alone data-gathering strategy because of the multicultural nature of Moroccan society, which is characterized by different ethnic, linguistic and geographic attributes. Focus groups enable researchers to collect rich data in participants’ own words; they are particularly useful when the survey group is illiterate or semiliterate. The application of Stuart Hall’s theory in the Moroccan context reveals some of the model’s strengths as well some of its limitations. While the model provides rich analytical tools that help us understand the relationship between how television producers encode messages and how audiences decode them, this study illustrates the limits of Hall’s theory application to non-western audiences. Hall’s model is founded on the assumption that audiences are capable of decoding the television content and that the variations in the decoding process are the outcome of the audiences’ reactions to the hegemonic message. The study found that this was not applicable to Moroccan audiences and that additional theoretical tools needed to be in place for an audience reception analysis to be complete and substantial.

2018 ◽  
Vol 35 (4) ◽  
pp. 542-565 ◽  
Laia Castro-Herrero ◽  
Lilach Nir ◽  
Morten Skovsgaard

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