PSM Transformation in Western Balkan Countries: When Western Ideals Meet Reality
The chapter evaluates the transformation of PSB in the Western Balkans. Being an active part and actor of the ‘third wave of democratization,’ media have been entitled to amore prominent role in the process of democratization. Transforming the former state radio-television systems into public service broadcasters was meant to be among the most significant aspects of democratization in Western Balkan countries, a process that was complementary to the EU accession. Public broadcasters were normatively positioned in these societies as result of ‘westernization’ of media policies and compliance of these countries with Western standards and principles. The basic assumption, hindering the process of PSB transformation, was that free and independent media would be liberated from regime control and economic interest. However, in reality, the processes of social and political transformation have proven very slow and come burdened with the firmly established relations at the local level. This chapter examines the most prominent aspects of PSB transformation in Western Balkan countries, taking into consideration local context, factors influencing the process, and the most salient and contentious aspects and outcomes of PSB transformation, such as their independence, governance, funding model and content quality (including plurality and production excellence).
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