Public Service Broadcasting and the Public Sphere: Normative Arguments from Habermasian Theory

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    Abstract

    Discussing Public Service Broadcasting from the perspective of the public sphere has both historical form and theoretical rationale. This article surveys some of the arguments forwarded on the commonality between the theoretical category of the public sphere, and Public Service Broadcasting (PSB). Drawing from scholarly work over the past three decades, it also addresses the problems with this approach, outlining an argument against applying public sphere theory in this setting. This article then applies normative arguments drawn from Habermasian theory to the subject, arguing that public sphere theory remains a critical tool for studying PSB. This article suggests that on the public sphere principles of inclusion, deliberation and opinion formation, PSB helps sustain the notion of the public sphere, and indeed provides one of the most important realisations of it. In particular, this article focuses on PSB in the UK, and gives evidence from the case of the BBC to support its claims.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    JournalNetworking Knowledge
    Volume3
    Issue number2
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Dec 2010

    Keywords

    • Public Service Broadcasting
    • Public Sphere Theory
    • Jürgen Habermas
    • BBC.

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