Mass Media in Great Britain

Essay by bodrovA, March 2005

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The media play a central role in Britain's daily life, informing and educating, questioning and challenging - and of course - entertaining. In recent years the availability of more radio frequencies, together with satellite, cable and microwave transmissions, has already made a greater number of local, national and international services possible. The transition from analogue to digital transmission technology is now expanding this capacity enormously. The Internet is providing, increasingly, an additional medium for information, entertainment and communication.

Television and Radio

Broadcasting in Britain has traditionally been based on the principle that it is a public service accountable to people. While retaining the essential public service element, it now also embraces the principles of competition and choice:

• the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), which broadcasts television and radio programmes;

• the ITC (Independent Television Commission), which licenses and regulates commercial television services, including cable and satellite services.

• the Radio Authority, which licenses and regulates commercial radio services, including cable and satellite.

The three bodies work to broad requirements and objectives defined and endorsed by Parliament, but are otherwise independent in their daily conduct of business.

Television viewing is by far Britain's most popular leisure pastime: over 97 per cent of households have at least one TV set. British television productions are sold world - wide.


The BBC provides two complementary national terrestrial television networks: BBC 1 and BBC 2, which transmit 24 hours a day. It also provides a range of digital channels, including BBC News 24 and BBC Choice. BBC Network Radio serves an audience of 29 each week, transmitting 24 hours a day on its five national networks. BBC has 39 local radio stations serving England and the Channel Islands, and regional and community radio services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.