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Report on TPBS highlighted a civic minded society

©TPBS

©UNESCO

17.11.2010

“Before people can enjoy the right to tell, they have to exercise the right to know.”

 

During the 2nd ASEAN Media Forum held in Bangkok from 8 - 9 November 2010, the Asian Media Information Communication Center and UNESCO launched a report on the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (TPBS).

 

Ms. Susanne Ornager, UNESCO Advisor for Communication and Information in Asia, indicated in her opening remarks that TPBS is currently “representing an oasis of credibility, public service broadcasting makes a major contribution to ensuring a truly informed citizenship, which UNESCO sees as a precondition for a healthy democracy.”

She pointed out that many questions were raised about the TPBS, and that they have to answer to the public on “how could TPBS contribute to uplifting moral and ethics as well as peace building?  How could TPBS ensure the people’s participation, editorial independence, and absence of conflict of interests?  How would TPBs choose the issues to be covered in its programmes?” These questions lead to a UNESCO/AMIC (Asian Media Information Communication Center) study on TPBS.

The TPBS is Asia’s first public service broadcast channel, launched in January 2008 with an aim to build a ‘civic minded’ society through both programming contents and developing a relationship with the community, which will be inclusive. It is an unique example of blending Asia’s social responsibility focused broadcasting models with West’s independent public broadcasting model.

The report focused on an integrated research methodology to get information, including survey, in-depth interviews, observation, reflection and documentation. All this was done to get the most trustworthy document possible.

It also highlighted different ways through which TPBS contribute in involving people and offering a high quality service. The first procedure includes the Audience Council, which is tasked with inducing public participation as part of the mechanism for strengthening civil society.

The other procedure involves developing networks of active citizens and civil society groups in Northern Thailand and enabling their collaboration with TPBS news staff from Bangkok and in the North and the TPBS Civic Media Network Department. The Civic Media Network is also tasked with expanding civic media networks, with contributions of active citizens to content, ideas for the TV segment, and programs, as a means of strengthening civil society for the purpose of launching the ‘TV Thai’ Northern TV program, called ‘TV Jor Nuer’.

Mr. Anothai Udomsilp, Director of TPBS Public Media Academy, stressed that at TPBS they strongly believe that “before people can enjoy the right to tell, they have to exercise the right to know.” The TPBS is working in that direction with all their efforts.

“We allow people to have a place where they can report things that are important to them, report things that are useful to them and are close to their hearts,” he added.

The report findings will not only draw inspiration to build a civic minded society, but it also proves how TPBS can be considered as “an oasis of credibility, […] ensuring a truly informed citizenship, which UNESCO sees as a precondition for a healthy democracy”.

For further information, please contact: Asian Media Information Communication Center AMIC or Ms. Susanne Ornager UNESCO Advisor for Communication and Information in Asia at s.ornager@unesco.org

By Chiara  Longobardi, UNESCO Bangkok