state-run television: good or evil?

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by fenixpollo, Oct 16, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Are there state-owned or state-subsidized television stations in your area?

    Does the service provide value to its viewers? To society? To the taxpayers?

    In addition, what (if anything) does state television do to foster language learning?
  2. Fernando Senior Member

    Spain, Spanish
    1) Yes. One national TV (two channels) + one autonomous TV (soon, two).

    In other areas the number are even greater (in some towns in Catalonia you can have 2 national + 3 autonomous + 1 local channels).

    2) They provide value to politicians.

    3) Nothing. All of them dub the films (to Spanish or autonomous language). Spanish TV has broadcasted some English courses.
  3. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    In the US we have PBS. There are several local affiliates (NY city, Hartford, Boston).

    They definitely produce lots of award-winning, high quality, educational programs:
    I believe that PBS provides an incredibly valuable service to the public:
    I watch public tv all the time - it's educational, entertaining, and provides an alternative to generic network programming. Definitely worthwhile for everyone!

    More from the website:
  4. maxiogee Banned

    Television in Ireland exists in several forms.
    To own a television one must pay an annual licence fee of €155.
    This money goes, in theory to the State, which then makes a grant to Radio Télefís Éireann, the national broadcaster of both television and radio (two English-language and one Irish-language TV channels, three English-language and one Irish-language radio stations). These all carry advertising.
    We also have private, independent television.
    On top of that we have access to satellite television and cable. Satellite is usually the service provided by Sky and has quite good penetration. Cable provides the national channels, and as many of the British channels as are popular, mainly BBC 1 & 2, ITV, Channel 4, and a lot of sports and other channels. The BBC channels are also provided by Sky, along with many of the lifestyle, history, wildlife and other narrow-interest channels, and a wide range of music channels.

    So, Irish TV is competing in a huge pool. Up against the quality and quantity of all the British big guns it does very well. We have the longest-running chat show in the world - The Late Late Show. planned to have a 13-week run away back in 1962, it is still going strong. It's long-standing host, Gay Byrne retired a few years ago and his place was taken by a well-known face from Irish radio - always a breeding ground for our tv personalities.

    There has been government interference with the TV and radio services in the past. Most noticeably the ban on broadcasting the voices of any of the Sinn Féin leaders for many years. We were treated to the nonsense of seeing Gerry Adams issuing a statement, and a voice-actor provided the dubbed-on words! Lunacy.
    Worse than that were several instances of pressure being put - admittedly many years ago - on current affairs programmes which were getting too close for comfort for certain Ministers.
    In a somewhat-related incident, a well-known and popular satirical show which took great delight in savaging one particular government, just disappeared when a different party assumed office. The fact that that the main driving force behind the show was a staunch supporter of the second party and wouldn't dare to savage them as he had done their predecessors was brushed over.

    We do tend to get a decent service for the money. The increase in channels which satellite and cable brought about fragmented the audience and advertising wouldn't be enough to pay for a national service without all the programming being soaps, agony aunts and makeover shows!

    That said, I rarely watch it anyway.
  5. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Beth, it's important to note that PBS is a non-profit corporation that receives some government funding. But most of its money does not come from the government.
  6. ampurdan

    ampurdan Senior Member

    jiā tàiluó ní yà
    Català & español (Spain)
    At least the Catalan autonomous TV allows their audience to switch to Original Version, providing subtitles through teletext (not always). There may be other autonomous or local public TVs that provide this option...

    State-run televisions tend to be very influenced by the Government in Spain. Of course, that's our fault, if we were more demanding and critic with the information we receive from the public TV, we would get a better TV. Private TVs are of course influenced by he who owns them, and the information they provide has no more check mechanisms than the ones their owners decide to set up, and they are very free to ignore them. In both cases, the ultimate check mechanism is the tolerance to lie of the audience, in my opinion.
  7. robbie_SWE

    robbie_SWE Senior Member

    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    In Sweden the Public Service TV and Radio is very good (I and many with me think so anyway).

    SR (Sveriges Radio) = state run radio which has 4 different channels, for different demographic, cultural and age groups. These channels send different types of music, documentaries and cultural programs depending on reference group.

    SVT (Sveriges Telivision) = SVT1 and SVT2 are the two state channels. Just love these channels! The best news, best educational documentaries and the only channel that sends foreign movies every week. They produce high-quality shows too.

    UR (Utbildnings Radion) = the education radio that produces programs/documentaries for educational purposes. They are used in radio and in television.

    If we want to have TV we have to pay a fee every three months (big scandal in Sweden since a number of new ministers haven't paid their fee in many years and caused a horrible uproar). It's a small fee, but we get much back in form of quality radio and TV.

    :) robbie
  8. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    In Moscow and nearest regions, there are about 20 channels, and all of them are free of charge. In St. Petersburg, the channels are a a little fewer. I don't know exactly how many of them are state-owned; but at least four are.
    To say the truth, I'm not a TV fan, and the only channel I've ever considered worth watching was NTV. I strongly dislike news on state channels - and do I have to explain why?
    As for private channels, you'll hardly see on them anything except endless relaity shows, talk shows and stupid soap operas.
  9. lampiao Senior Member

    In Portugal there is a state owned Television Operator, RTP (Rádio-Televisão Portuguesa).
    It broadcasts in 2 national channels "Canal 1" and "TV2", plus on satellite through "RTP Internacional". Other channels include "RTP África", "RTP Memória" (only on cable TV), and it also broadcasts for 3G Mobile phones for all local operators.

    I think the service provided by the state owned TV is rather good, and in some aspects, better then both private TV Stations "SIC" and "TVI".
    I think it is not biased. Not deliberately, at least.

    There is a program which is aired on a daily basis (working days only) where they pick some common language mistakes, and give a short and simple explanation of the correct way of saying / writing things. This is included in the morning news bulletin.

    The funding of this company is both from state budget (no TV Tax though) and commercials broadcast, with a time limitation. A few years ago there was no limit for commercial breaks, and there were times, especially in prime time, when breaks would last for about half an hour and +!
  10. Fernando Senior Member

    Spain, Spanish
    My knowledge of TV technology is less than perfect, but I think Ampurdan is right. I think that it is most the same in Telemadrid (Madrid Autonomy) and national TV. Obviously, your TV set has to be adapted to. Most people can not switch (I can not, either because it is impossible or because my unawareness of the key I would have to click).
  11. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    Yes, like Sweden we have two state-run television channels and four radio channels controlled by NRK - Norges rikskringkasting - Norwegian Broadcasting.
    You have to pay a yearly fee of NOK 2039,04 ($305) if you own a television.

    They have good news coverage, they provide 40 minutes of programmes for kids in the afternoon, and they're fairly good at sports (though sadly enough they don't have the right to air Premier League matches anymore :( ).
    Overall it's not a bad channel, and the second one airs a fair number of good import shows, like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Late Show w/Letterman &c.

    Not much per se. They provide Norwegian subtitles for a lot of shows to accommodate hearing impaired, as well as a small news service in sign language (though that wasn't really the question, I know).
    The only thing I'd say they do is use subtitles for everything (except some childrens' programmes), but I guess that's more of a discussion in the appropriate thread.
  12. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Pollo is both right and not so right. We have a multi-headed monster in the form of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is almost entirely funded by the federal government. It gives money to PBS, and a very scant amount to National Public Radio. Thus, despite the apparent independence of the broadcasters...the stations are primarily supported by viewers, listeners, and corporate grants (really just advertising, though less obtrusive by far than commercial stations' versions).

    It's a muddled structure, with ever more political interference and less economic support from government.
  13. GenJen54

    GenJen54 Senior Member

    Downright Pleasant, USA
    USA - English
    Local "politics" also play a role. While many PBS stations back East enjoy a broad range of excellent educational programming, including documentaries depicting major societal issues (AIDS, sex education, etc.), my local PBS station favors more "family-friendly" programming such as Lawrence Welk, Lawrence Welk, and, on occasion, Lawrence Welk. They throw in the occasional Masterpiece Theatre or "RiverDance" for variety, and for kids offer the staple of Sesame Street and similar children's programming. During "Festival" (their fundraising period), they usually air things such as "Andrea Bocelli in Concert" and of course, "Classic Lawrence Welk!" Vonerfull, vonerfull, vonderfull.

    Two years ago they took grief for refusing to air what was touted as being a highly important, educational piece on homosexuality in the U.S. I guess they thought their local sponsors would get their conservative panties in a bunch if they dared air anything close to realistic.

    The end product here, however, is not even a facsimile of the NAPBs original intent. That's why I have cable.

    I would hate to think what programming would look like if our current "State" controlled 100% of the content.
  14. pickypuck Senior Member

    Badajoz, Spanish Extremadura
    Extremaduran Spanish
    If you have a digital receiver the number of public national Spanish channels goes to five. These, together with the private free channels and the two channels of my Autonomous Community makes a total of 22 channels. There are three local (city) channels, but they can't be received digitally yet.
    Too much TV and a missed opportunity (by now) to use this digital technology to open programmes to everybody and every topic. I want to think that it's because the analogic blackout has not occurred and many people haven't a digital receiver yet. But something is telling me I'm being naïve again.
  15. tvdxer Senior Member

    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    Minnesota, U.S.A. - English
    1) PBS stations, of which most U.S. cities have at least one, are available practically everywhere in the country. These are PARTIALLY government funded.

    2) Part of the time they are a great service to viewers, providing programs of a caliber now rarely found on commercial educational channels (e.g. Discovery Channel). At other times they are used as a voice for left-wingers.

    3) I don't think I've ever seen a language learning show on PBS. However, I do know that many immigrants listen to NPR (the radio equivalent of PBS) to improve their language skills.
  16. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    There's an excellent French language program called "French in Action" that appears regularly on PBS.
  17. LouisaB Senior Member

    English, UK
    In Britain, we have the British Broadcasting Corporation, aka the BBC. The licence fee for this is currently £131.50 for colour, and it works in much the same way as in Ireland. The BBC provides two ordinary analogue channels (BBC1 and BBC2) as well as a number of Digital channels, but we also have a number of Independent television broadcasting companies, grouped together on the channel ITV, as well as an independent Channel Four.

    There has been considerable discussion here lately whether the licence fee should be scrapped, and the BBC be made to pay its own way like its competitors. The two most significant of the original arguments for the licence fee have gradually been eroded. These were:

    1. It provides a service actually independent of Government, because it does not have to go begging for franchises - its existence is effectively guaranteed.
    This is now largely redundant. The BBC is under very heavy pressure from the Government to transmit what it's told. Three years ago, the Director General of the BBC was forced to 'resign' after he supported a journalist for broadcasting an allegation against the Government, which the same Government has now effectively admitted was true. Shortly after this incident, the Government made it clear the licence fee was not guaranteed, and they were actually considering scrapping it. The BBC has been a very different animal ever since... (I intend no specific political point by this, as I suspect this kind of battle has happened many times in the past with different Governments of either party. I only mention this one because I was actually on the BBC staff at the time, and saw it 'first hand').

    2. Because it does not depend on commercials for its revenue, it will be free to make 'non-commercial' programmes, thus elevating the cultural and educational content, and producing television of superior quality.
    Maybe this was true in the past, but in my opinion it's changing now. In order to justify the licence fee, the BBC was compelled to show its importance to viewers - by demonstrating consistently high ratings. In other words, it now has to be as commercial as anyone else. That's perhaps slightly unfair, and I know its remit does include a high quota of educational and specialised programmes of cultural interest, but I do think it's fair to say the emphasis is changing.

    Personally, I should be sorry to see the BBC go - and this is an outsider's opinion, as I no longer work there. I think it's good value for money. It does still broadcast a considerable number of language programmes, and the BBC World Service seems to be valued in many different countries. BUT really we need an opinion from someone who gets it overseas. What do people in other countries think of the BBC - if they even bother to watch it?
  18. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    I listen to the BBC World Service news in the morning on WNYC, my local NPR (National Public Radio) affiliate. WNYC no longer receives any support from the local government, so it is entirely listener supported. I donate money every year to WNYC, because I enjoy and consume their programs -- the BBC included.

    So, that is a long winded way of saying that I find it worthwhile to pay for some BBC programming.

    BBC America is included in my cable package -- so I pay for it involuntarily, and although I loved it when they showed The Office, 99% of it (What Not to Wear etc.) is utter crap and indistinguishable from the other 300+ commercial channels I receive.
  19. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Hauts-de-Seine, France
    English (Ireland)
    Ireland has RTE, it's OK I guess but nothing great. It also has an Irish language station called TG4 but a lot of the programming seems to be in English. :confused:

    You can get all the English channels on Sky Digital, so it's worth paying for it.
  20. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Thread topic reminder:

    Are there state-owned or state-subsidized television stations in your area?

    Does the service provide value to its viewers?

    To society?

    To the taxpayers?

    In addition, what (if anything) does state television do to foster language learning?

    Please save remarks about things other than
    state television for another time and place.
  21. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    We have two State TV channels.
    The main one does pretty well to to foster other languages with specific language programs aimed at the basic learner. It also tries to cater to the 'highbrow' audience with ballet and opera and British cop shows;) .
    The other is wonderful for foreign languge but you must exercise a little care as it is known locally as the Sex Before Soccer channel. Many of the films shown are subtitled but a lot of the phrases could get my face slapped:eek: .

  22. xarruc Senior Member

    The BBC in the UK has sprawled into a huge monster. There are scores of radio channels I've never even heard of, as well as several TV channels I never watched. They have taken the license fee, which for all intents and purposes can be considered a tax, and used it to pay for digital channels, which is soemthing the British public have not exactly accepted with open arms and it seems that the BBC will further be used by the government to force through the digital switchover which the market, and by extension, the public are set against.

    In order to try and keep the BBC on track with what the viewers want, it is forced to chase ratings. This has two big effects. The first is that programmes dealing wth religion, art, history, economics and politics are all either sexed-up, given a graveyard slot, or just ditched to make space for the same old rubish as on the other channels. The second is that the BBC has to enter into a bidding war, using taxepayer's money, against the other channels for material, particularly sports, that would be broadcast free in any case.

    Does it give value of money to is viewers:
    - Yes if you are a niche person. Although perhaps ever increasingly not so (see above). If your not then no.

    Does it give value to taxpayers
    - No. Society is subsidising niche people and so non-niches lose out. When not subsidising niches you are paying for the same material as is available free on other channels.

    Does it give value to society.
    - If it wasn't chasing ratings, ditched a lot of small radio stations and digital channels and yet kept focused on providing content on a limited number of TV and radio channels it would be excelent. But its not.

    Does it foster language learning?
    - Not in any way to my knowledge.
  23. TRG Senior Member

    english USA
    I think I was on the wrong subject!
  24. maxiogee Banned

    Is not all broadcasting "publicly funded" in that one either pays a state through taxes and it pays for the broadcasting, or one pays through direct subscription to the broadcaster, or the advertisers, in the prices at the checkout, charge you for the adverts they produce and pay the broadcaster to air for them - or any permutation of two or more of the above.

    I prefer to stick to standard definitions - (a) state-funded, (b) commercial, and (c) pay-per-view. It leaves us all understanding what sort of process we're discussing in countries where we don't have a grasp of the particular process.
  25. TRG Senior Member

    english USA
    One supposes that if you were confused about what I meant by "publicly financed" that a question would be forthcoming to the effect of "what did you mean by publicly financed?". Instead you engaged in some semantic nitpicking. In the US, everyone understands that "publicly financed" means with taxpayer dollars. Oh!, I'm sorry, that's not very clear is it? What I mean is it's paid for by the government. And if my utterly confusing choice of the words "publicly financed" just confused everyone and threw the discussion into a big tizzy then I most abjectly apologize.:D
  26. maxiogee Banned

    But in WordReference absolutely everyone understands that we're not all in the US, and that different mores pertain in our respective countries. ;)
  27. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    This dialogue indicates the inherent flaw in your statement.:p

  28. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Whose 'standard definitions'? "Us all" is ambitious.
  29. kurumin

    kurumin Senior Member

    salvador bahia brasil, brazilian portuguese & tupy
    in Brazil, we have no STATE tv which is kind of sad

    1. we have private TV from Rio: GLOBO TV
    which imposes the Rio dialect on the rest of Brazil
    although most of us Brazilians don't like this dialect

    Globo Tv is like a Rio-TV that can be watched in whole Brazil

    it is not imparcial and British Channel 4 has criticized its monopol
    in Brazil

    2. we have some private Tvs from São Paulo: Rede Tv, Tv Band....

    We have nothing like CBC in Canada, RAI in Italy, RTP in Portugal or BBC in UK a neutral tv channel with vies on the whole Brazil.

    The only state owned channel is TV SENADO but it's as boring as hell :(

    The only solution is to watch SONY BRASIL tv channels or neutral news channels like BANDnews.
  30. maxiogee Banned

    The broadcasting industry's standards :p
  31. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    It is an unambiguous way of referring to the different types of TV.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page