Obeying His Masters’ Voices: Managing Independence and Accountability in Public Service Media Between Civil Society and State

  • Christian S. NissenEmail author
Part of the Media Business and Innovation book series (MEDIA)


Guarding editorial independence and at the same time securing accountability towards stakeholders is a difficult governance issue in any media business. Nowhere is it more important, and more controversial, than in public service media (PSM), on the one side administered by the state and financed with public funds and on the other having its primary accountability obligations to the needs and interests of civic society. Although the principles of editorial independence and keeping an ‘arm’s length distance’ between governments and PSM institutions are widely supported in rhetorical terms, these are often disregarded in practice. In recent years there has been a notable trend towards less independence and growing interference. This chapter examines the public governance of PSM by illustrating crucial institutional mechanisms and procedural channels by which public regulation and PSM accountability are managed. It will become apparent how the stakeholder environment of public media renders the senior post of Director General especially complex compared to the counterpart relations of a CEO for a private media enterprise.


Civil Society Corporate Governance Governing Board Twilight Zone Political Interference 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Copenhagen Business School, Center for Civil Society StudiesCopenhagenDenmark

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