The economics of public service television and the citizenship rhetoric
ResumoFacing strong competition and financial hardship, Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) operators are redefining their role and re-inventing new futures. The Portuguese PSB, Radiotelevisão Portuguesa (RTP) is no exception and important changes have recently been introduced in the traditional ‘public service’ model. The centre-right government – in office since 2002 with a qualified majority – perceived the restructuring of RTP as a major political goal and, in an unprecedented move, it has decided to hand out one RTP’s generalist channel to ‘civil society’. This article looks at this political decision and its financial and economic implications. It argues that as far as rhetoric went, citizens had the centre-stage in this new ‘participatory model’ but it is economics rather than citizenry that is at the very heart of this strategy.
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