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Country Focus: UK

Clinging to the Euro-Bar for Cultural Integrity: Activism and CSR in an Economic Downturn


- The working paper explores issues in British broadcasting and economic challenges and the role and impact of U.K. NGO activists on the policy level.

Clinging to the Euro-Bar for Cultural Integrity: Activism and CSR in an Economic Downturn

When U.K. NGO activists look at recent developments in broadcasting and online communication in their country, they may well wonder how the values and the quality programming, for which their country is renowned, will survive the current economic realities. They may also wonder how the discourse, consultations, and lobbying at British and European levels on behalf of such programming and its promotion of cultural diversity will be affected; this is inasmuch as their ability to engage in public relations on behalf of viewing and listening audiences, un-and-underrepresented cultural entities, the devolving U.K. nations and, bottom line, civil society, depends on resources. Given this reality, there may well be a significant impact.

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This working paper will explore issues in British broadcasting (which is influenced by European policy), the extent to which the bar for corporate social responsibility (CSR)--here, the framework of public service obligations, by which terrestrial broadcasting services are meant to operate--has been altered by the economic downturn, and efforts underway to preserve those obligations. NGO activists seeking broadcasting CSR may wonder whether policies and legislation based on EU directives will be implemented because of fiscal realities.

The study will also focus on the extent to which public discourse about these economic challenges to broadcasting has been spearheaded, or, at least, initiated by activists and has become legislative parlance and/or matters for consultation by the ministries and regulators.
Finally, it will examine the impact that the economic downturn has had on the activist groups themselves.

Will fiscal realities force the “lobby groups” or “pressure groups,” as these activist NGOs are alternately known in the U.K, to adjust both their CSR agendas and/or strategies? Will activists’ targets of necessity modify their positions on policy issues and commitments to the NGOs? What, if any, NGO strategies implemented in Europe are useful to U.K. activists? Are the EU’s public service/cultural goals as per 2008 Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS [formerly Television without Frontiers directive]), potentially compromised?

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