Covid-19 and Public Media Services - BBC & NHK
The Covid-19 outbreak is changing the context of public media services in the UK and Japan, which until very recently were experiencing significant challenges in maintaining public trust and funding through their licence fee systems. Trust in the media has been eroded at an alarming rate by the increased polarisation of political identities and public debate, and the spread of fake news. Simultaneously, the licence fee system used to fund public media has been severely questioned by the general public and politicians. In the UK, the government is questioning the appropriateness of the current licence fee system that funds the BBC. In Japan, there is even a specifically anti-NHK political party. With decreased public trust and threats to the licence fee system, the survival of public media services seems to be at risk.
Nevertheless, both the BBC and NHK are now playing key roles in coverage of the latest news on the Coronavirus outbreak, gaining increased attention and interest from the public in their content over the past weeks. Against this background, it is worth asking – what is the future of public services? Are they still relevant? and equally interesting, can their licence fee model be replaced by a subscription-based approach? NHK journalist Kohei Tsuji and Professor Ivor Gaber from Sussex University will talk about the role of and challenges faced by public service media in the UK and Japan.
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