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JAMCO Online International Symposium

18th JAMCO Online International Symposium

January 16 to February 28, 2009

Public-Service Broadcasts of Asian Countries

Closing Remarks

Suichiro Ogino
Director-General, Department of Exchange and Promotion Japan Media Communication Center

“Public” is an English word that can be most difficult for most Asian people to understand. For instance, in Japan and many other countries, public school is a “primary or secondary school funded largely from tax revenues and most commonly administered to some degree by government or local government agencies”. In England, on the contrary, public school is “a traditional, privately operated secondary school which commonly requires the payment of fees for its pupils, and is usually a boarding school” according to the Wikipedia’s definition of the word.

Last summer, a piece of small news that posted in a national news paper provoked a major reaction in Japanese society. The news was about the young Japanese tourists who wrote graffiti on the wall of a world-famous historic building of Florence, Italy. The naughty tourists were reported to be university students, except for this man who was a school teacher. Criticism against them elevated to condemn the school teacher in particular for his bad “public manners,” and the poor man was dismissed from the school. Italians, however, reacted with a very Italian sense of “public manners” when they heard of this tragic result of the graffiti done on the wall of their national treasure. Their reaction was that human beings make mistakes and that it was not human to dismiss the school teacher.

It is thus difficult to make universal definition of the word “public” common to all the societies of the world. In some societies, the word public may imply something related to the state. In some other societies it may be something more related to their governments. In some others, public may be something shared by the common people.

Today’s public-service broadcasts of the world are said to be modelled after the West-European examples. But that does not mean that the implementations of public-service broadcasting are alike everywhere. That does not mean that any particular practice has evolved more than others either. As the connotations and the implications of the word differ from society to society, the implementations of “public-service broadcast” must be equally diverse, reflecting the characteristics of the societies involved. We are therefore pleased if the presentations and discussions made in this forum have helped you better understand what is going on in Asia.

In closing, I should like to express my sincere thanks to the presenters and discussant who kindly agreed to participate in this forum, as well as to the people who read the proceedings and shared their views. We are also grateful to The Japan Foundation and the Hoso Bunka Foundation, as well as the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan Broadcasting Corporation, and the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan that have kindly granted generous support for this project.

Suichiro Ogino

Director-General, Department of Exchange and Promotion Japan Media Communication Center

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