Saturday, September 30, 2006

"Towards an Improved Strategy of Support to Public Service Broadcasting"

Evaluation of UNESCO’s Support to Public Service Broadcasting, 2002-2005 Styles Associates Inc., June 2006.

From the Executive Summary:
"This, the first-ever evaluation of UNESCO’s work in this area, took place as the Organization prepared its Medium Term Strategy for the period 2008-2013. Its purpose was to assess the following:
• Relevance and effectiveness of UNESCO strategies and capacity building activities to enhance PSB institutions;
• Results achieved;
• Extent of collaboration and strategic alliances built with broadcasting unions and regional broadcasting organizations, and the impact they have had on the development of PSB; and
• Sustainability of positive results.......
Major achievements: Between 2002 and 2005, UNESCO contributed to incremental progress toward PSB in a handful of countries, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Panama, India and Sri Lanka. It has helped to define PSB and to achieve broad consensus on criteria for PSB.

During the period under review, the CI sector sponsored many conferences, meetings, workshops and seminars, and widely distributed PSB resource materials. The evaluators determined that these activities helped raise awareness about PSB, but were unable to ascertain to what extent. Numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs), professional associations and development agencies also contributed to raising awareness, most with initial or ongoing support from UNESCO.

The CI sector has produced and distributed excellent PSB resources and guides in recent years which stakeholders have found useful. The evaluation team notes that some of these materials, such as the Best Practices Sourcebook (Banerjee and Senevirantne, eds. 2005), establish standards against which public service practices can be measured.

Capacity development activities account for the bulk of the CI sector’s support to PSB during the period under review.....

Major challenges: The CI sector shares a characteristic of many organizations with broad mandates and limited resources: it is trying to do too much with too little money and too few qualified staff. As a result, the CI sector is not achieving an optimal level of success in relation to fostering PSB services, particularly in Africa. With few exceptions, Afghanistan among them, the evaluators found that the CI sector funded hundreds of small, discrete projects over the period under review, almost all with a time span of less than a year, and most directed at operational level rather than the political level where PSB decision-making rests. With its mainly ad hoc approach to PSB programming, UNESCO and its partners achieved many outputs, such as meetings, declarations, materials and trained broadcasters, but not the outcomes one would expect of a well-structured, tightly focused program.

Headquarters and field staff characterize UNESCO’s PSB programming as “personality-driven,” meaning that it is overly dependent on the qualifications and personal interests of individuals. Headquarters staff acknowledge a dearth of PSB expertise among field staff and attribute the Organization’s limited success in some regions (Africa in particular), to lack of expertise. Conversely, the success in parts of the Americas, Asia and the Pacific can be traced to staff with strong PSB backgrounds and interests."

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