Public Television in Latin America: Changing to the Digital Age

(Florence Toussaint, published 2017)

This research article tracks the history of public television in Latin America and its journey towards digital transition.

This research briefly explores the history of public television in Latin America, a history that is strongly linked to the government and the political history of each state. Overall, the author highlights that only one public media institution across the region has full editorial independence, financial autonomy or financial support from their viewers. However, television (both public and private) has always held a crucial role in Latin American society as a mediator between the consumption and production of culture.

The birth and growth of public media in Latin America can be traced from the 1950s, but each country evolved differently with regards to growth and the model they chose to transition to the digital world. Countries adopted different digital models, some choosing from the American ATSC (Advanced Television System Commitee), others chose the Japanese-Brazilian ISDB-Tb (Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial), the European DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial) and the Chinese model.

Some of the data analysed or displayed in the article are not official, but it’s nonetheless useful in highlighting trends and varying situations across the region.

Public television in Latin America continues to be characterised by pluralistic and fragmented media systems and is influenced by just as diverse an array of technologies. Public television will have to transition to the digital world to change and survive especially as quality becomes compromised and viewers head towards new, private options to be entertained, informed and educated.

The complete digitisation of the whole region could take up to 2021, with a few countries already halfway in the process of digitisation.

The full paper and more information can be found below.

(Toussaint Alcaráz, 2017)

Reference: Toussaint Alcaráz, F. (2017) ‘Televisión pública en América Latina: su transición a la era digital’, Revista mexicana de ciencias políticas y sociales, ISSN-e 0185-1918, Vol. 62, No. 229, 2017, págs. 223-242, 62(229), pp. 223–242.


Obeying His Masters’ Voices

Managing Independence and Accountability in Public Service Media Between Civil Society and State

Christian S. Nissen

Chapter from: Managing Media Firms and Industries

Springer Link



‘Obeying His Masters’ Voices: Managing Independence and Accountability in Public Service Media Between Civil Society and State’ is a chapter from Managing Media Firms and Industries, edited by Gregory Ferrell Lowe and Charles Brown.

The chapter focusses on governance issues of public media organisations, particularly the juggling act of “guarding editorial independence and securing accountability” towards the public, the stakeholders of PSM. This will be explored within the context of maintaining an independent organisation and editorial independence whilst many face growing interference from government.


Gendering War & Peace Reporting

“Some Insights – Some Missing Links”

This book offers analytic approaches to how traditional war journalism is gendered. Through different case studies, the book reveals how the framing of different femininities and masculinities affects the reporting and our understanding of war and conflicts.

This fascinating and essential publication was edited by Berit von der Lippe and Rune Ottosen and contains 15 contributions from experts in the field. Key themes throughout the publication include: gendering professional agencies, women and lack of agency, postcolonial perspectives and masculinities, heroes and victims. 

Published by Nordicom in December 2016.


A comparative analysis of media freedom & pluralism in the EU member states


This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee.

The authors argue that democratic processes in several EU countries are suffering from systemic failure, with the result that the basic conditions of media pluralism are not present, and, at the same time, that the distortion in media pluralism is hampering the proper functioning of democracy. The study offers a new approach to strengthening media freedom and pluralism, bearing in mind the different political and social systems of the Member States. The authors propose concrete, enforceable and systematic actions to correct the deficiencies found.


What we do and do not know about the impact of public service media

What do we know about the relationship between public media and private media and their respective impacts?

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) has published a new report commissioned by the Danish Ministry of Culture.

The report reviewed the status of public service media and private media by examining over a thousand academic and stakeholders studies.  The research covered three main aspects: their political impact, social impact, and market impact.

The research indicates that there is strong evidence that public service media have a positive political impact. However, there is little research on the social and market impacts.

As RISJ says, “what we do not know about the impact of public service media, especially in a digital environment, is at least as striking as what we do know.”


Making Sense of Innovation

Process, product, and storytelling innovation in public service broadcasting organisations

Sandra K. Evans

Taylor & Francis Online 

Department of Communication, California State Polytechnic University, USA



This article addresses the following question: “how do employees and managers make sense of innovation within their organizations in relation to a rapidly evolving digital media environment?”.

With a focus on public radio organisations in an increasingly digital, multi-platform media landscape, this article uses data from interviews with 56 employees from 11 public radio stations. The results, according to the author, “show how people in public media organizations make sense of innovation by relying primarily on process-oriented, rather than product-oriented frames”.


Nation Binding: How Public Service Broadcasting Mitigates Political Selective Exposure

Linda Bos, Sanne Kruikemeier, Claes de Vreese


Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands



Is there a media system that promotes less political selective exposure? This article explores this question within the context of the US and Dutch media landscape, offering a comparison of the two. In particular, this article makes the case that where there is a relatively strong public service broadcaster, political selective exposure amongst an audience is lower due to its less partisan output. However, the authors do find that there is a large segment of citizens that choose to opt out of news consumption, despite its availability in today’s media landscape.

This article is Open Access, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.


Ensuring public service news provision in the era of networked communications

Gregory Ferrell Lowe and Alan G. Stavitsky

International Communication Gazette

University of Tampere, Finland and University of Nevada, Reno, USA, Sage Publications



The article analyses the economic viability of news production in the two main categories of media organisations, legacy media and digital native media, with a focus on USA and Europe. Their findings encourage the development of a more comprehensive news media system that follows innovation, advocates diversity and enhance quality. The article includes proposals for media policy, partnerships, education and professionalism.


Public Service Media in the Age of Digital Networks

Gaëtan Tremblay

Canadian Journal of Communication

Université du Québec à Montréal



This article addresses the question as to whether public service media is still relevant in the “age of the internet and digital networks”? It does so via an exploration of the way public service media has evolved into what it is today and how it might be redefined to offer a culturally and socially relevant role in today’s contemporary society.


Innovation as the Key for the Future of Public Service Media

Tania F. Lombao, Andrea Valencia-Bermúdez, and Francisco Campos

New Advances in Information Systems and Technologies

University of Santiago de Compostela, Springer



This chapter looks at the effects of digitisation in the production and consumption of public media, and the changing needs for news in society. Digitisation is a challenge and call to action for public service media to innovate, develop and reinforce their position in the news sphere, as competition increases. The research specifically assesses the progresses in digital innovation which took place in public service media across Europe until mid-2015.