Television

US seminar to examine the future of public broadcasting

MUMBAI: The American Cinema Foundation (ACF) will present Finding the Future of Public Television.

This is a two-day workshop from 14 -15 October 2005 in Los Angeles and is sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

This event features panelists and special guests who will provide an unusual variety of perspectives and insight on whether or not US pubcaster PBS has the ability to fully represent America's diverse culture in today's political and economic climate.

This forum will explore issues of agenda setting, implicit bias, and cultural prejudices which exist both within and around political party lines. This event will be the first in a continuing series. Each panel will attempt to identify an area of consensus about the future of the public television system. Public television broadcasting has been around in the US for 40 years. The organisers of the event state that it has been one of the most visible expressions of the sense of the common good in arts and education. However there is concern that this sense of a shared culture may be lost in today's partisanship.

In one of the session TV producers and writers consider why they and others like them don't produce more for public television. Why do shows that take on the hot topics of the day (from Bill Maher to Dennis Miller), and shows whose genres originated on public TV, end up on cable? What part does politics play? How can public broadcasting hold its ground? The panellists include Harry Shearer who has written episodes for The Simpsons and Peter Robinson a presidential speechwriter.

Another session is titled Will You, Won't You Join the Dance. The Experience of Producing for Public Television. Veteran producers who feel that their programming has been marginalised because they hold viewpoints that fall outside the mainstream of current PBS culture speak. How should stewards of a national trust go about the business of funding and distributing programs that represent a wide spectrum of positions, while maintaining their own personal and political views?

Public Television Confidential: A Look at Basic Premises examines the question of whether publicly funded programming meets its own high standards, and whether we ask enough of the system that spends our dollars. Is Sesame Street still the utlimate in quality educational programming? Is it fair to ask producers to treat more of the US' widely held values as legitimate?

 

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