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Accountability and the Public Interest in Broadcasting by Andrea Millwood Hargrave

By Andrea Millwood Hargrave

Opposed to a backdrop of great switch in expertise 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 united states.

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Extra resources for Accountability and the Public Interest in Broadcasting

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Companies were successfully defy f ing attempts to strengthen the very limited licensing powers of the Department of Commerce. They were frequently at odds, arguing with one another over the use of frequencies and the relative strengths of their transmissions. 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.

In the three other countries an independent (converged) regulator examines broadcasting issues. In each of these countries, the regulator is considered to be accountable primarily to the parliamentary system, through which accountability to the public is maintained. This echoes the argument above that, although appointments may be based on political favour, they could be seen to be reasonable insofar as those making the appointments have themselves been elected by the general public, the electorate.

I think some of the Senators take a very broad view of that accountability and want to engage on editorial matters, which they certainly do. And we do that two or three times a year. (Murray Green, ABC, Australia) There was some criticism of the way in which certain parliamentary processes were run. Andrew Kenyon of the Centre for Media and Communications Law spoke about the Australian experience: Accountability t 35 The biggest legislative changes that involved parliamentary committees considering possible change and calling for public submissions and producing a report in the last couple of years, changes relevant directly to media and to things like the IP [intellectual property] and copyright issues and the Australia–US Fair Trade Agreement, happened with an opportunity for public input but within incredibly limited time frames, and probably increasingly so.

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