Promoting Public Participation
“Thai PBS strongly believes in the role of citizens in public broadcasting”
A key element of public broadcasting is public participation. Thai PBS encourages public participation in both its programming and other activities with an aim of bringing citizenship from the margins to the center.
As the national public broadcasting service, Thai PBS is dedicated to putting the audience first. So engaging with its audiences is one of its most important tasks. Thai PBS has set up an Audience Council that works on behalf of viewers and listeners to insure that Thai PBS provides quality output that takes into account the public interest and public needs. The 50-member council, which represents people from all walks of life and serves a two-year term in a voluntary capacity, collects feedbacks and suggestions from audiences and use them to formulate proposals to improve Thai PBS programming and services.
While the Audience Council holds a general assembly at least once a year, in practice, the Thai PBS Board of Governors and the Executive Board have periodical dialogues and interactions with the council members to listen to their comments and share with them program ideas.
Citizen journalists play an important role in news gathering and news reporting at Thai PBS. In collaboration with both local and international organizations, Thai PBS organizes training and workshops for citizens in various regions of Thailand to train them on the basics of broadcasting journalism. These citizen journalists then produce their own stories that cover everything from their ways of life to the environment, cultural issues and problems in their communities. They write their own scripts, shoot their own pictures and present the stories themselves in styles and dialects they feel most comfortable with. Thai PBS provides a three-minute daily time slot at the end of the evening news cast for the so-called “Citizen News Reports.”
Citizen journalism is one effective way to empower local communities. It provides them with space they cannot find in other mainstream media. Through “Citizen News Reports”, these ordinary citizens hold local authorities accountable and air grievances on issues that were previously ignored. Several of their reports have been picked up by mainstream media and become national issues.
Thai PBS provides financial and production support to small and start-up independent TV program producers to help develop their production skills and increase their potential. Thai PBS also provides time slots to programs produced by independent producers. The aim is to create a partnership between Thailand’s first public broadcaster and independent producers that will lead to greater creativity and innovation in television programming.
Similar training and production support is also given to aspiring young producers at community level. Their productions have been aired in specific time slots and have inspired many communities seeking to share their aspirations and reflect their ways of life.
Friends of Thai PBS
Public participation is not limited only to citizen journalists and independent producers. Thai PBS has also formed social networks in order to solicit support from all sectors of the society and to collect information essential for the improvement of its services.