By Andrea Millwood Hargrave
Opposed to a backdrop of great switch in know-how and the economics of broadcasting and new media, this well timed survey of up to date attitudes to responsibility and the general public curiosity in broadcasting is predicated on over fifty interviews conducted in four democracies: India, Australia, the united kingdom and the U.S..
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In order to establish a criterion by which the Commission would judge the merits of future licence applications, the draftsmen adopted a phrase previously used in utilities legislation. ’2 However, when they were considering proposals for new rail services, regulators were dealing with reasonably straightforward issues. By contrast, as the nature of broadcasting became more and more diverse, the meaning of ‘the public interest’ grew more difﬁcult, subject increasingly to changes in technology, social needs and the pressures of competition.
The basic idea is that at the end of the day the law isn’t much good, because it’s like the nuclear deterrent. You have to have some great big stick in Accountability t 31 the background which you hope never to use. The idea of ‘responsive regulation’ is that you want a richer spectrum of responses. What you want are all sorts of soft in-betweeny things. (Dr Andrew Graham, Master, Balliol College, Oxford University, y UK) The effect of such ‘responsive regulation’ would perhaps not be so different from current regulation, it was suggested, but would shift responsibility to other players in certain areas: There’s a general widespread trend towards that anyway.
I think there’s a shrinkage in the zone of decision making where public interest is relevant . . you could say the positive spin is that the shrinkage comes from the shift to multi-channel broadcasting. 48 Accountability t and th t e Public Interest in Broadcasting A Washington DC Broadcast Attorney suggested that the shrinkage might have gone still ffurther. Talking about the FCC and its regulation of format for radio licensees, she said, . . years ago [the FCC] speciﬁcally disallowed that they would ever look at radio stations’ format .
Accountability and the Public Interest in Broadcasting by Andrea Millwood Hargrave