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EDN Director's Blog #1: Why public broadcasting?

EDN Director Paul Pauwels

Welcome to this new EDN Director's Blog, where I from time to time will post reactions to current topics and discussion in the area of international documentary making.

In the role of EDN Director I am now in Sheffield where I have been invited by the EBU documentary group to address the members in a keynote speech. It was during that meeting that the information arrived about the shutdown of Greek public Broadcaster ERT. Only a couple of minutes earlier I had stated the following in my speech: 

"... Just looking at who are present here today, I see several people working for a broadcaster whose budget was cut down severely. How can I expect them to fight the existing powers that will use every single occasion that presents itself to save another eurocent? Looking at the economic figures and the expected further zero growth or even the threatening recession, how can we be sure that the politicians will not be looking for another easy target where they can take money from? Now let’s see… who could that be.

Commercial broadcasters are also under heavy pressure. Google, Apple, Netflix and other Hulu giants are waiting for just the right moment to invade Europe and crush our markets with the power of their deep pockets. When they come every available eurocent will then be needed to keep the audiovisual industry alive and the money will be taken from the easiest chicken to pluck: culture. 

Looking at how commercial broadcasters have accepted that they too have to play a role in the social awareness of our society and are developing activities in that field – and doing it honestly and well - the question “why public broadcasting?” becomes relevant and the answer might be very simple: we don’t need it anymore."

 

The full text of the keynote address will be published soon and I will come back to this subject matter in my next blog postings.

You can comment on this blog posting at The EDN Online Forum.

Best wishes 
Paul Pauwels
EDN Director