What is the definition of public service broadcasting (PSB)?
Like the UK’s constitution, a unique definition of public service broadcasting (PSB) remains unwritten and exists largely as an ethos interspersed throughout legislature and policy (Tunstall 2010). While concepts and approaches to PSB overlap from broadcaster to broadcaster no single definition has existed since its inception; definitions offered vary depending on who is questioned or the region, country, and organization examined. As there exist myriad contextual dependencies that form PSB, this essay will examine what is meant by public service broadcasting through the shared and agreed upon opinion, purposes, and characteristics of several broadcasters, academics, channels, and bodies that oversee PSB. In doing so, an explanation surrounding the difference between PSB and publicly funded broadcasting can also take place.
The specific meaning of public service broadcasting remains nebulous despite several attempts to define it over the last century. While Branston and Stafford provide a list of features as a guide of the shared values that work as an identifier for PSB from the Broadcasting Research Unit (BRU) of the 1980’s, academics such as Jakubowicz state that PSB is subjective, whereas others, like Syvertsen, view the term as antiquated.