The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Our Children’s Future: Does Public Service Media Matter?

A Message of Support

Understandably, Michael didn't feel up to writing a full article for the campaign, but has kindly sent this message of support. As you would expect, it sums up the heart of the argument in just a couple of short paragraphs.

It's all in the name: it's for the public - that's all of us, and it's a service. It serves the people. Children are part of the people, they are people. They are entitled to be given a service that is for all of them. As we become more and more aware of the diverse needs of children (children are diverse), then we need some kind of commitment beyond that of the market, to ensure that these diverse needs are served. The market cannot serve this diversity. By definition it has to compete for mass audiences, it has to 'massify' the audiences in order to survive. Of course public service broadcasting looks to put on popular programmes but at the same time it builds in a remit to make programmes that express the needs of minorities who of themselves may or may not be profitable for broadcasters to reach. Further, public service broadcasting can and should see its remit to go beyond broadcasting itself to provide a full range of outreach services and links with other organisations.

Children are themselves treated in our society as a minority. They are often overlooked, marginalised or excluded from decisions even when those decisions affect them directly. This is an outlook, a view or a tendency towards children in society. We are much happier talking about children - as I am here! - than listening to them, or finding ways of expressing their needs, desires and imaginations. Public service broadcasting can, does and should do this. Children are not in the waiting room of life, they are alive, thinking, reflecting, interpreting, re-imagining the world around them. Giving that a voice or seeking to meet those needs with high class, high production values is not necessarily profitable. That's why we need funding for this kind of broadcasting. After all, we don't doubt that spending billions on education is a 'good thing' so why query the 'edutainment/infotainment' principles of public service broadcasting for children?

By Michael Rosen

A former Children's Laureate and one of the best-known figures in the children’s book world, Michael Rosen is renowned for his work as a poet, performer, broadcaster and scriptwriter. As an author and by selecting other writers’ works for anthologies he has been involved with over 140 books. He lectures and teaches in universities on children’s literature, reading and writing.

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)