Zorana Kostic


Prospects And Dilemmas For Public Service Broadcasting: A Comparative Study of Japanese and Australian Public Service Corporations



This thesis argues in support of the continuing role of public broadcast television in Australia and Japan. The project is significant because the pressures resulting from the increasing globalisation and commercialisation of television have placed public television in jeopardy in many parts of the world. Its principle focus is the complex relationship between policy, programming and the role of public broadcasting as a signifier of national aspirations and identities as they relate to the notion of the public interest. The main question that this thesis addresses is, what is the best method to protect, and ensure the prospects of public service broadcast television in an age that is dominated by a globalizing commercialized media? During an era of tumultuous change in the Asia-Pacific region a comparison of Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japanese Broadcasting Corporation) and Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the respective public broadcasting organizations of Japan and Australia, will be instructive in providing ways to maintain and protect the public interest elements of television because both organizations have had to respond to these challenges in a number of strategic ways.

Crucially this study makes an original contribution to media discourse in three significant ways: firstly it provides a comparative study between Japanese public broadcasting and Australian public broadcasting as the nature of these services are forced to change through their encounters with new technologies and the ways they are being regulated by their respective governments. Secondly, it makes available Japanese studies of the media that have not been previously translated into English for western academics to scrutinize and use to recontextualise our understanding of the Japanese media, its relations to Japanese society and the world. And, thirdly it provides a critical evaluation of the differences between western academic thinking and Japanese thinking on the role of the media in modern industrialized democracies. This study will prove useful for developing strategies to ensure the continuing relevance of public service broadcast television in the contemporary era.

While there is a plethora of published material on Australian media and the ABC’s role in Australian politics and public life little of this material makes the comparison with another major industrialized island nation in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan, but focuses more on its relationship to the USA and UK. This approach tends to ignore the specific regional requirements of PSB in the Asia-Pacific and the relations that emerged out of them. For example both Australia and Japan as members of the Asia Broadcasting Union have developed mechanisms of cultural exchange and these relations have been inadequately explored in previous studies. A reorientation of the study of PSB in Australia that focuses on its regional relationships with countries like Japan can help in charting its future prospects and maintaining its cultural relevance.