Local Public Service Media in Northern Ireland

The merit goods argument

Authored by: Phil Ramsey , Philip McDermott

The Routledge Companion to Local Media and Journalism

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815375364
eBook ISBN: 9781351239943
Adobe ISBN:


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Public service media in Northern Ireland has long been a focus for scholarly attention, in particular focusing on how the BBC reported on ‘the Troubles’, a period in history that led to more than 3,500 people being killed. In addressing local public service media services, and those that are accessible in Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland, this chapter outlines how public service media maintain and support local journalism in the face of a decline in local newspapers, and discusses the role that they play in supporting cultural minorities through broadcasting for Irish-language and Ulster-Scots communities. Theoretically, we primarily draw on Christopher Ali’s argument that local journalism should be considered to be a merit good, rather than a public good, and by applying this to public service media the argument is made for its continued role in maintaining local news provision and in protecting minority languages.

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