What we do


The core work of the Public Media Alliance is to help strengthen and improve public service broadcasting around the world by supporting the development of high-quality public service content, gathering and publishing information on best practice, providing training and holding events to stimulate debate and knowledge exchange. We also engage in advocacy work – providing evidence and testimony when PSM is under review, under threat or under attack.

We assist in building the capacity of our members and their staff with initiatives such as exchange programmes and our Global Grant scheme, where employees of our broadcasters can share and learn skills at a public broadcaster in another country. We also run specialised workshops, building knowledge in areas such as gender awareness, the value to broadcasters of harnessing social media, and the responsibilities and agility of broadcasters during (natural or man-made) disasters.

Our recent work: 2020


2020 was an exceptionally difficult year for many public media organisations around the world as they faced attacks on media freedom, a growth in political interference and funding crises. And all this as they worked to remain ‘on air’ and keep citizens informed during a terrible global pandemic.

Throughout the year, the Public Media Alliance reported on many of these challenges and advocated for the core values of public media, especially when under threat. These reports can all be found via our News portal. 

The number of projects the PMA undertook on location was inevitably limited by the pandemic in 2020.  But our team continued to work with and support our members in parliamentary enquiries, the development of editorial policies and training, with an expert consultant conducting remote election coverage training for SBC in the Seychelles, prior to the General Election there.

Much of our work was focused around the pandemic where we enabled members to share experiences and protocols, including the best ways for reporters to work remotely from home built studios.

We continued with our role as a member of the Media Freedom Coalition Advisory Network throughout 2020 (MFC-AN). It was one of the worst years on record in terms of media freedom infringements and attacks on journalists worldwide. We referred to the ‘Cloak of COVID’ which enabled some governments to bring in draconian laws to quash media freedom under the guise of stopping the spread of dis- and misinformation. In December, we hosted the session on public media for the World Press Freedom Conference, hosted virtually by the Government of the Netherlands and UNESCO. With panellists from Australia, Croatia, Ghana, Sweden and the UK, the event attracted a substantial global audience via live stream and YouTube. 

PMA hosted a session about "Why Public Media Matters" at UNESCO's 2020 World Press Freedom Conference

The annual PBI conference, originally due to be hosted in Brussels by Belgian public broadcasters VRT and RTBF, was postponed until 2021. Instead, PBI hosted a virtual meeting of CEO’s of public broadcasters. PMA moderated one of the three break-out sessions and was well represented in the debate. 

The PMA team continued to support the work of the new Global Task Force for public media, headed by CBC/Radio-Canada. Eight public media CEO’s work closely together to respond to challenges and threats to public media.  You can find out more about the work of the GTF via their website, hosted by PMA. The industry led initiative works specifically with public media leaders and organisations to develop a consensus and single, strong voice around the issues and challenges facing public media. 

Sign up: to our Global Call Out and PSM Weekly 

In 2021, we aim to run a major training event in Sri Lanka in partnership with UNESCO and also hope to participate in an event and training in Namibia to mark the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a milestone in press freedom.

Lastly, our 2020 Global Grants were postponed as travel was not safe during the pandemic but these will be reinstated as soon as it is safe to do so. These grants will enable journalists and media practitioners from PMA members to travel to another public broadcaster to take part in training, exchange best practices and undertake media projects. In 2018, grantees travelled from Bangladesh to Australia, Jamaica to Canada and Sri Lanka to Nepal, among others. 

Find out more about PMA’s 2020 via our end of year PSM Weekly

Despite some highs, 2019 struck a new low for many public media organisations around the world as they faced attacks on media freedom, a growth in political interference, media capture and even police raids. 

Throughout the year the Public Media Alliance reported on many of these challenges and advocated for the core values of public media, especially when under threat. These reports can all be found via our News portal.

The PMA team also undertook a number of projects, including the development of regional guidelines for journalists, running a series of practitioner workshops, and supporting our members in parliamentary enquiries and the development of editorial policies. We also took part in the first Global Conference for Media Freedom and look forward to expanding our role as part of the Media Freedom Coalition Advisory Network throughout 2020 (MFC-AN). 

Read more: Under Pressure: Why public media matters

In Kuala Lumpur, PMA hosted a workshop for journalists, media practitioners and regulators from the Asia-Pacific Region to develop regionally relevant guidelines on reporting hate speech, terrorism and violence. Later in the year, in Windhoek, we developed a set of social media guidelines with 24 journalists from across Southern Africa for broadcasters in the region. UNESCO supports much of our work on these themes. 

Former ABC Editorial Director, Alan Sunderland, speaks at the PMA session of the Global Conference for Media Freedom, June 2019.

Our former Finance Manager, Mervyn Warner, published an in-depth report on funding models for public media organisations, in which he reflected on the rapidly changing circumstances that many of our members face. PMA is now also part of InnoPSM, a global network of academics specialising in public media. All of our publications can be found via the Resources section of our website.

PMA staff also took part in a number of debates and seminars at high-profile conferences, including the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) General Assembly, Public Broadcasters International (PBI) and Radiodays Asia, where we hosted a debate on trust in the media and a workshop focusing on disinformation.

At PBI in September, we were proud to launch our Global Call Out; a network of individuals and organisations showing their support for the values of public media. We also announced the Global Task Force, headed by CBC/Radio-Canada. This new industry-led initiative will work specifically with public media leaders and organisations to develop a consensus and single, strong voice around the issues and challenges facing public media. More details will be revealed in early 2020.

Read more: Global Call Out and Global Task Force

Lastly, our 2019 Global Grants enabled seven journalists and media practitioners from PMA members to travel to another public broadcaster to take part in training, exchange best practices and undertake media projects. Last year, grantees travelled from Bangladesh to Australia, Jamaica to Canada and Sri Lanka to Nepal, among others.

Discover more about our 2019 projects via our end of year round-up.

Content Development

In a globalised world the PMA regards international coverage as a cornerstone of public broadcasting. But international coverage is not only about news – innovative storytelling is crucial for contextualising world events and raising awareness of issues affecting the wider world.

Sharing Skills

We offer our members free high-quality training courses across several areas of broadcasting. We run tailored workshops for broadcasters on a thematic or regional basis. Staff of members can also apply for bursaries to travel abroad for broadcast-related projects.

Advocacy

As an organisation with collective knowledge on public service media we are able to use this information to make representations on behalf of our members. This may include providing information in regard to transition from public service broadcasting to media organisations or providing evidence for government reviews on public service broadcasting.

Examples of our work


  • Global Grants: each year the PMA supports employees of our member organisations who wish to spend time working with another member organisation in order to develop skills and gain new experiences and knowledge in public media policy and practice.
  • UNESCO & PMA Workshops: in collaboration with UNESCO, the PMA organises workshops, webinars and projects to enhance journalists' skills and knowledge. Topics include physical and online safety, conflict journalism and many more.
  • Online self-directed courses:  our online courses offer employees of PMA member organisations the opportunity to study and develop their career skills with flexibility and in their own time. Please contact info@publicmediaalliance.org for more information.
  • WorldView: founded in 2001, this project has helped to deepen global understanding of international issues via broadcast and digital media. By providing development funding, support and mentoring to filmmakers, it kickstarted more than 400 feature documentaries that focus on telling global stories and providing essential human context to the news. In 2011 the PMA launched YourWorldView, an award-winning online platform that showcases short films from around the world, while providing funding and opportunities for emerging global filmmakers. Both project are currently closed but we continue to support public media content whenever possible.
  • Pan-Pacific media project: this media project is an initiative with the dual outcomes of developing fresh content from under-represented voices, and building the skills of broadcasters and media practitioners in the Pacific. The PMA collaborated with the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme, ABC and Macquarie University, and PMA member Tonga Broadcasting Commission.

What is Public Service Media?