UNESCO sponsors workshops on public service broadcasting in Maldives
Last January the Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) held a series of workshops on public broadcasting, funded by UNESCO. Conducted in the Maldivian capital, Malé, the workshops gathered together top executives and the Chairman of MNBC, parliamentarians, government ministers and representatives of NGO's and of commercial broadcasting.
Established last year, MNBC is the first public broadcasting corporation in the country, which describes itself as being 'on a journey from a state broadcaster to a public broadcaster'. Previously, television and radio channels had been controlled by the Ministry of Information.
The workshops in Malé covered the following topics:
- what is, and what is not, public broadcasting;
- broadcasting as a 'public good';
- public accountability and political interference;
- ethics and values in public broadcasting;
- aligning the behaviour of staff with professional standards;
- putting the audience at the heart of the output strategy;
- citizen participation and citizen journalism; and
- various models of funding public broadcasting.
The sessions were highly interactive, as were practical examples of video output. A variety of methods were used, such as team-working and quiz. During an exercise on impartiality participants suggested how the impact of climate change on the Maldives should be covered in the news.
At the end of the training participants drew up a list of measures that MNBC could do to secure its future role of public broadcaster. Suggestions included developing editorial guidelines and a professional code of ethics; profiling targeted audiences; securing future funding; and communicating the outcome of the workshops to the MNBC staff and to the large public. The trainer, Phil Harding, concluded the workshops by a lecture on public broadcasting, followed by a question-and-answer session.