Publieke verantwoording of politieke opzet? Evaluatie van de eerste visitatie van de Nederlandse publieke omroep [Public Accountability or Political Entrapment? An evaluation of the First Assessment Commission of Dutch Public Broadcasting]
SourceTijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap, 37, 3, (2009), pp. 197-214
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ NISCO CW
Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap
In the 1990's, Dutch public broadcasting proposed the establishment of a periodical assessment, or in the Dutch tradition, ‘Visitation Commission’, as the most prominent part of a new public accountability policy vis-à-vis Dutch society as a whole. This new accountability policy was supposed to supplement the traditional accountability policies of the broadcasting associations towards their respective membership and fitted with the trend of centralization in Dutch public broadcasting. Subsequently, the Dutch government adopted this proposal in its new Media Act of 2000 as part of the license renewal process every five years, thereby adding to it a component of political accountability. Based on an analysis of policy documents and expert interviews with the main stakeholders, this study reveals that political actors perceive the assessment of the first Commission, held between 2002 and 2004, as public accountability whereas public broadcasters see it as political accountability in the first place. More in general, politicization appears to be a serious concern amongst actors in the public broadcasting domain; there is a growing suspicion that political interference might lead to an overload of accountability measures. Although not ascertained throughout the first assessment period, bureaucratization and ritualization should be taken into account in the following assessments in the light of a possible overkill of accountability instruments within public broadcasting.
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