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Public broadcasters in Asia under fire from all sides

TV stations risk caving in to heavy-handed governments, alienating viewers

Japan's Supreme Court has ruled it constitutional for public broadcaster NHK to charge license fees to every TV owner.

TOKYO -- As Asia's economies crackle and people become ever more connected through technology and media, public broadcasters are struggling to fulfill their missions, under pressure from heavy-handed governments on one side and unimpressed viewers on the other.

In Japan, Thailand, India and other countries where there is a clear mandate to provide independent, quality content, public broadcasters face a balancing act. There is little agreement among viewers on what constitutes quality. And despite rhetorical commitment to independence, governments seem willing to challenge programming that does not suit their agendas.

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