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10/07/2007

Hay Wins Top European Award

Jocelyn Hay, Chairman and Founder of Voice of the Listener & Viewer (VLV), which campaigns to promote public service in broadcasting and for editorially independent, high quality media, recently won a top award honouring women who have made a major impact on the European stage.
Joining an eminent list of previous winners, including, athlete Paula Radcliffe, yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, explorer Fiona Thornewill and broadcaster Angela Rippon, Hay said: "I feel so honoured to receive this award, and I am delighted that the work that I and Voice of the Listener & Viewer do to maintain the principles of public service in broadcasting has been recognised.
"Broadcasting is probably the single most powerful influence on our democracy and culture. It is vital it remains editorially independent and of high quality. That is why I and VLV work to represent the citizen and consumer interests in broadcasting and to help those in other countries share the privilege of having broadcasters who are independent of state or political control."
She set up Voice of the Listener (as it then was) in 1983 to combat plans to turn BBC Radio 4 into an all news and current affairs channel. The organisation added Viewer to its title in 1991 and has now grown to be the leading advocate for the viewer and listener as citizen and consumer in UK and European broadcasting.
Under her leadership VLV has held ten international conferences on the future of public service broadcasting worldwide. Using her contacts she then went on to establish the European Alliance of Listeners’ and Viewers’ Associations (EURALVA) which has member organisations in seven European countries and associates in Australia and Canada.
Hay’s work in Europe and on the international stage has been instrumental in gaining recognition for the consumer rights of listeners, viewers and new media users. Before VLV took up the cause, only those involved in the industry were consulted about its future, now it is automatically taken for granted that consumers and licence payers should be involved and consulted. She has spoken on behalf of the consumer and citizen interest at many conferences in Europe, the Commonwealth and the USA and given oral evidence on the value of public service broadcasting, editorial freedom and high standards in journalism at Hearings of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
The European Women of Achievement Awards, which are in their 17th year, are given to those whose vision, courage and determination have helped increase the influence of women on European affairs. Mrs Hay won the Humanitarian category.
(SP)
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