Algorithms and Public Service Media

Jannick Kirk Sørensen, Jonathon Hutchinson

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When Public Service Media (PSM) organisations introduce algorithmic recommender systems to suggest media content to users, fundamental values of PSM are challenged. Beyond being confronted with ubiquitous computer ethics problems of causality and transparency, also the identity of PSM as curator and agenda-setter is challenged. The algorithms represents rules for which content to present to whom, and in this sense they may discriminate and bias the exposure of diversity. Furthermore, on a practical level, the introduction of the systems shifts power within the organisations and changes the regulatory conditions. In this chapter we analyse two cases - the EBU-members' introduction of recommender systems and the Australian broadcaster ABC's experiences with the use of chatbots. We use these cases to exemplify the challenges that algorithmic systems poses to PSM organisations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPublic Service Media in the Networked Society : RIPE@2017
Number of pages16
Publication date6 Apr 2018
ISBN (Print)978-91-87957-73-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-91-87957-74-1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2018
EventRIPE@2016: Public Service Media In a Networked Society? - University of Antwerp in collaboration with Free University of Brussels (VUB) and Flemish public service broadcaster VRT, Antwerpen, Belgium
Duration: 21 Sept 201624 Sept 2016
Conference number: 8


LocationUniversity of Antwerp in collaboration with Free University of Brussels (VUB) and Flemish public service broadcaster VRT
Internet address
SeriesRe-Visionary-Interpretations of the Public Enterprise (RIPE)

Bibliographical note

invited chapter


  • public service media
  • personalisation
  • algorithmic recommendation
  • Chatbot
  • Media Policy
  • computer ethics


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