In the politically diverse culture present throughout modern New Zealand, it is most certainly time a public service television channel was created, if not to entertain, then to solely inform.
A public service broadcasting channel is, by definition, a broadcast financed and controlled by the public, for the public. It is not marred by commerciality and renders itself free from political interference or pressure.
There are a variety of different benefits that come about as a result of having a public service broadcaster. Firstly, government funding for local content already exists, as do locally produced high-rating shows like 7 Days.
These high viewership numbers come about due to the fact that New Zealanders enjoy seeing New Zealand ‘on air’ and also because these programs are free for viewers to watch. By utilising a public service channel, the absence of advertisements would be highly appealing to audiences, and existent On Demand services would further extend their reach into homes and the workplace.
Alongside the positives of such a move, there are also various opportunities that would be generated as a result.
An increase in educational programming for example, would benefit the public good as it fosters national culture (in a similar way to Maori TV) while a productive local production industry allows significant development in the New Zealand television economy.
A higher rate of locally produced programmes would also be able to generate foreign interest in New Zealand and its culture, as producers are given a free reign to experiment with new techniques and digital environments.
Although there are definite negatives to the concept of public service broadcasting in New Zealand, such as internet TV, foreign ownership and the expense of local content production, it is evident that in order to generate a fully democratic society, this service is required.
Because when those in power aren’t held accountable, that’s when things become very dangerous indeed.