Because of the growing number of users, especially youth, who have access to mobile devices that can play video, it would have also been useful to have these movies in a digital format compatible with devices such as Apple’s iPod. This involves a deeper understanding of PSB in our digital age, where the emphasis on not so much on broadcasting, but on media & content production. While the DVD may be fit to broadcast, media consumption patterns bring to sharp relief that many consume media on the web and on portable devices – a DVD alone isn’t enough to capture the diverse opportunities for media dissemination that ICT engenders (which is one reason I prefer to use the term Public Service Media instead of Public Service Broadcasting).
New Media in general and podcasting in particular are technologies that are increasingly prevalent in all corners of the globe. While many communities still suffer from parochial regulatory barriers and associated high costs of Internet and web access, the years ahead will undoubtably result in more pervasive forms of content creation, archival and dissemination.
Projects such as UNESCO’s video podcasts offer an opportunity to tap into the explosive growth of new media in recent years with content designed to engage a generation that is well versed with new technologies and are potentially the social change agents of tomorrow. It is to this same segment that Voices of Reconciliation Radio, to be officially launched later this year, addresses its content and features the voices of.
The recognition that pod-casting offers a way to communicate with the youth and a new generation of peacebuilders is growing. USIP, for instance, has adopted podcasts and new media in a big way to deliver its content on peacebuilding. Other organisations, such as UNICEF, are following.
Will the transition to new media to complement the power of traditional TV and radio raise public consciousness on peace, reconciliation and democracy? Or will the cacopohony of new media, epitomised by the choice available in the iTunes Store, drown out more important voices?
I don’t know – but I’ve already encouraged a few of those I know who are interested in peace and media to submit proposals for the UNESCO proposal – in the hope that through the production of new forms of content, we will be able to create a stronger consciousness amongst the leaders of tomorrow on the multi-faceted and complex challenges of bringing peace to our troubled world.