Do you like to call the ABC “the mouthpiece of the privileged Chardonnay-sipping socialist left”? Well, regardless of whether our chief public broadcaster has a left-leaning or not a new report says nations with strong, well-funded public broadcasters suffer less from extremist views.
A study by the European Broadcasting Union studied the media of 25 countries and found that those with competent and impartial public broadcasters tended to have more stable governments and less political crazies on the fringe.
The report found that government-owned medias (think ABC and SBS in Australia) had a positive impact on covering elections, getting people to vote, had less corruption and more press freedoms.
It noted: “That in countries where public service media funding … is higher there tends to be more press freedom and where they have a higher market share there also tends to be a higher voter turnout”.
The EBU’s head of media intelligence, Roberto Suárez Candel, told the UK’s The Guardian: “These correlations are especially interesting given the current public debates about low participation in elections, corruption and the rise of far right politics across Europe.
“A strong and well funded public service media is not only about providing people with news, documentaries and entertainment – it’s also about contributing to democracy. While we can’t say that strong public TV and radio directly leads to greater democracy and less corruption, we have been able to show, for the first time, how these factors are connected.
“One of the core functions of public service media is to deliver news, which is supposed to be independent. If they have appropriate resources they can invest in journalism and provide more quality news and the audience will trust them more,” Suárez Candel said.