08 December 2008

GovTV & Local Media

correction: I referred to Beachlime as 'Vexed'. Sorry! All you bloggers look alike anyway. (cya note: I don't actually know who those other two bloggers are...).

Seems like BeachLime is vexed about GovTV. What he suggests, Gov't allocating support to the local broadcasters, is a good idea. My original thoughts on this topic were along the same lines, but I thought the Gov't should focus more on their portal, and I wrote a letter about it 3 years ago. We've seen now that GovTV hasn't been quite the propaganda machine I originally feared, but the principle still holds: that money could have been used to support private broadcasters.

To: Editor of the Royal Gazette
Copies To: Michael Scott, Alex Scott.

15 November 2005

Re: Why a Government TV Station is a Bad Idea

Dear Editor,

While speaking yesterday at the House of Assembly, Mr. Dale Butler provided several examples of how a Government-run TV station might inform the public of the inner workings of the Government. For example, the Minister said, such a station could communicate the details of Government’s 11-million dollar gift to Bermudian cricket, about which most sportsmen and women, taxpayers, and voters would quite like to know.

However, although Government’s effort to communicate information to the people is an admirable goal which meshes nicely with their recently proposed PATI (Public Access To Information) initiative, a TV station is not the right way to do it. Instead, they ought to concentrate on taking better advantage of new technologies like the Internet, and improve the Government Internet portal with real information, above and beyond giving it a facelift.

TV stations are very expensive to build, operate, and maintain. Any video or audio content that might be broadcast on a TV station could be made available much more cheaply ad conveniently on the Internet. It is true that not everyone in Bermuda has access to the Internet at home, but soon they will be able to access it through the Post Office and Libraries. And, Bermudian residents would be able to actively choose among the available videos and information on a website, rather than the unlikely scenario of sitting and waiting for the particular piece of information they desire to be broadcast on the TV station. As a sweetener, Bermudians who are overseas would also be able to access Government information from such a website, which could also act as an electronic archive. And if for some reason a TV broadcast is truly required, Government can buy the time on one of the Island’s existing commercial stations.

Finally, by scrapping the TV station idea and redirecting any earmarked resources to improving the content and services available on the Internet portal, Government can avoid the overtones of totalitarian propaganda which often accompany Government-run broadcast stations, which tell you what they want you to hear, when they want you to hear it. Unless, of course, that’s the point.


Douglas S. J. De Couto Ph.D.


Tryangle said...

Um,... "Vexed"? Heh.

Douglas S. J. De Couto said...

Apologies to Beachlime, I've fixed it.