It adopts a holistic approach to the VBTC reform programme based on the Review Team’s opinion that there is no point having a well-structured and capitalised VBTC with good policies and procedures if the VBTC does not deliver programs that people want to hear and watch. There is also no point developing content which have a social and economic value for Vanuatu if people cannot tune into the radio or television. It recognises the critical relationship between content and audience expectations and recommends this relationship must remain the core in the context of how social and digital media have transformed the way the audience receive and consume content. It further recognises that the shift away from traditional media delivery allows audiences far greater control over the content – what they want, where they engage with, when they do so and where they get it from.
Among the Review Team’s major recommendations are:
1. Amendments to the Broadcasting and Television Act to separate out VBTC’s regulatory and broadcasting functions. This will involve transferring VBTC’s broadcasting regulatory functions to a separate entity;
2. Introduction of a merit-based selection criteria for VBTC’s Board of Directors which involves a public application process for positions on the Board. A proposed Board Charter has also been developed as part of the Review. These changes are intended to strengthen governance issues and minimise instability and political interference at Broadcasting House;
3. Implementation of a new organisational structure designed to deliver an improved broadcasting service that offers more interactive, compelling and relevant content for a local audience;
4. The immediate recruitment of a suitably qualified Executive Leadership team to plan, implement and monitor the transformation programme;
5. The development of fresh plans designed to stabilise and grow the national broadcasting service and introduce greater operational efficiencies and excellence;
6. Harmonising organisational development initiatives to focus on capacity development of Ni Vanuatus engaged in the media industry;
7. Adopt strategies to strengthen VBTC’s ability to reach new audiences, create new products and services, and, transform the organisation into a trusted and innovative national institution that enriches the lives of all Ni Vanuatus;
8. Designing and implementing a capital development plan that strengthens and expands the existing infrastructure using relevant and affordable technology to deliver broadcasting content to every household across Vanuatu;
9. Referral of allegations of mismanagement and potentially fraudulent practices to the appropriate authorities for further investigation;
10. Strengthen Editorial Policies and process to safeguard VBTC’s role as an independent, credible and honest source of news and information;
11. Undertaking relevant market and audience research that can influence VBTC’s radio, television and online content to ensure it remains relevant;
12. Pursue adherence to copyright issues that ensures compliance with the relevant protocols governing copyright. This compliance must be extended right across the industry;
The Review also considered a range of inter-related matters including the privatisation of VBTC, cross-media ownership, exclusive broadcast rights, digital transformation, and, joint ventures.
It remains the recommendation of the Review that the State retain total ownership of the VBTC and refrain from any attempts to privatise VBTC. The Review remains optimistic that VBTC can be managed more efficiently to avoid the huge financial losses it has chalked up over the past two decades.
It is strongly recommended that Government support initiatives to strengthen and maintain a credible national public broadcasting platform that involves a hybrid model of both public and private sector funding.