Broadcasters across the Asia-Pacific have called on
governments in the region to keep spectrum for public
interest broadcasting when they switch over to digital
In what is being called the Seoul Declaration, the region's
public broadcasters meeting in the Korean capital say the
digital switchover frees space on the old analogue radio
spectrum which should not just be sold for short term gain
- it should be devoted to the public good.
Passed by more than 700 delegates attending the 49th
General Assembly of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union
(ABU), the Seoul Declaration also asks all the region's
broadcasters to work together to ensure the best public use
of newly available frequencies.
ABU Secretary-General Dr Javad Mottaghi says that in the
past several years, the upper part of the UHF frequency
band, which is allocated for terrestrial television
broadcasting, has been increasingly sought by mobile
telecommunication operators for their use but that
available frequency should be allocated to broadcasters:
"the broadcasters' role is vital to the development of a
sustainable global digital or knowledge economy, creation
of employment, empowerment of women and enrichment of life
and work in the civil society." Dr Mottaghi said.
The declaration points to the so-called "digital wave" of
new and convergent technologies sweeping the media and
says: "The digital wave and the newly opened frequency band
can be utilized in the creation, access, communication and
consumption of social developmental services provided by
the broadcasters in health, education, safety of
environment for the benefit of individuals and communities
in under-developed and deprived areas across the world."
It specifically calls on ABU members to "petition their
national governments to get access to the frequency band
opened by the analogue switch-off, in the best public
"In allocation of the newly available spectrum, the
national spectrum regulators and the governments in the
Asia-Pacific [should] consider the legitimate needs for
frequency spectrum of the TV broadcasting industry."
And it asks ABU members to "continue to produce radio and
television programs, public service announcements and new
media content highlighting these issues that will inform
and inspire their audiences."
In a footnote to the declaration, the ABU General Assembly
noted that "a young and vibrant generation in the
Asia-Pacific region stands poised to reap the
transformational rewards of the digital wave. Broadcasters
in the region must also choose to embrace the
transformation to better serve their audiences.
"In the wake of the digital terrestrial television
transition, or analogue-switch-off, broadcasters also have
a responsibility to ensure that terrestrial broadcasting
fulfils the universal coverage obligation of the public
media and continues to be a competitive platform and
Previous ABU declarations have included the ABU Declaration
on Climate Change and Natural Disasters at the 2009 General
Assembly in Mongolia.
The full text of the Seoul Declaration is available