Public broadcasters are active on television, radio and online platforms. While television and radio are still the dominant playground of most public broadcasters, the evolution towards 'public service media' is a much-discussed fact. Whereas most scholars are supportive of such an evolution, we can only observe that public broadcasters are confronted with an increasingly hostile environment. In Western European countries competition with commercial media is fierce and in several parts of Eastern and Southern Europe public broadcasters are still struggling to get loose of their state broadcaster inheritance. In her lecture, Karen Donders will elaborate on the key challenges public broadcasters face today. She talks about the paradoxes of public service media, identifying several fields of tensions around it: public broadcasters and their relation with politicians, with other public institutions, with their audiences, with competitors and with themselves.
Prof. Dr. Karen Donders lectures on media policy and European media markets at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She heads the MEDIA unit of research group imec-SMIT, hosting approx. 30 junior and senior researchers analyzing policy, market and user aspects of mediated communication. Karen is the author of Public service media and policy in Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and co-editor of several books, including Handbook of European Media Policy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, with Caroline Pauwels and Jan Loisen) and Private television in Western Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, with Caroline Pauwels and Jan Loisen). She specializes in public service media policies and strategies, European media policy and the application of competition law in the media domain. She has published widely on these issues in peer-reviewed journals.