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Comunicar Journal 25: Quality Television (Vol. 13 - 2005)

TV Ombudsman: an argument against Pandora’s Box


María-Magdalena da-Costa-Oliveira


To transform an individual pain into a collective feeling of suffering is a capacity of all mass media. However, television has, in this point, a tremendous power. The capacity to join millions of TV viewers in front of itself is its most admirable merit, but it’s also its most dreadful danger. Principally when the point are the human rights, as the right of privacy or the right of not suffer in the public space, the demand of quality appears not only as an obligation of the Government but also as a duty of citizenship of all TV viewers. Although it is not properly a novelty in some European countries, the existence of a TV Ombudsman2 will be a reality in Portugal only this year. The Government has approved a legal diploma to create this figure, which will evaluate the programming and information of the public channel RTP. As the ombudsmen of press that we already know, the TV Ombudsman will be the person who receives the critics and observations of TV viewers, evaluates them and writes about them an impression to the administration of the channel. Being a self-regulatory proceeding, the TV Ombudsman is fundamentally a mechanism that implicates citizens. It is not only an entity of vigilance on ethics of Television. It is essentially a platform of dialogue between journalists, programmers and TV viewers. As in the press, the Ombudsman is a mediator. Although it is probably not an absolute guarantee of quality, TV Ombudsman is surely an argument of citizens against the bad things diffused by the box that we believe is the one by which the most important of our lives goes trough.


Ombudsman, self-regulation, ethics, citizenship

PDF file in Spanish


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