Public service broadcasting, public interest and individual rights in China

Yik Chan CHIN

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This article argues that China's public service broadcasting (PSB) policy has been motivated more by the pragmatic ends of securing social stability and cohesion than by moral or humane concerns for the development of citizens. Actual PSB policy focused predominantly on a narrowly defined 'basic cultural right' of access to broadcast media and on social equalization between urban and rural access to broadcast networks. Other values of PSB, including high-quality programming, independence and impartiality, are still marginalized. The continuation of consensus on the authoritarian political model and the prioritization of social order and collective rights over individual political and civil rights has restricted the scope of the policy. The lack of consensus on the substance of the public interest undermines any meaningful political construction of PSB. The long-term implications of PSB policy depend on the legitimation of the discourse of individual rights and equality, and on recognition of the broadcast media's role in independently serving the public and common good and of the state's obligation to respect individuals as citizens having equal and unalienable rights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-912
Number of pages15
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese media
  • Chinese media policy
  • Chinese politics
  • citizenship
  • human rights
  • media freedom
  • public interest
  • public service broadcasting


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