Thursday, September 30, 2010
Robert McChesney, in the article called ‘Media Systems Goes Global’ says that “The rise to dominance of the global commercial media system is more that an economic matter; it also has clear implications for media content, politics, and culture”. Then, he explains that there are less than ten global (TNCs), and four or five dozen firms that cover regional and niche markets. Therefore, from the point of view of media perspective, and taking into account his role as the main transmitter and source of information and entertainment in the global arena, we can realize the relevance of these ‘few’ to influence the agenda, the individuals, the public sphere and the public opinion.
After reading the above paragraphs, it is clear to me that was created a global commercial media system using the WTO Agreements. And the TNC’s and the countries where those companies are located dominate that global media system. The riddle with these facts is if the Westphalian state system and the countries that constructed the above mentioned new global media system will disappear in favor of its creation and the new trend of globalization or, to the contrary, will consolidate their power.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
So now we must consider what can be done to help ease this divergence. This is critical in new emerging markets in Asia, especially with the use of smart phones to access the internet. Known as the “Internet’s new billion”, from the BRIC countries plus Indonesia, the online population is expected to double by 2015. Radio Australia had an interesting segment earlier this month on how the government is reacting in Indonesia. Of those who are connected, 60% are under 35 and literacy rates are above 90%. But currently, internet connectivity is only at 17% throughout the nation. So the government is trying to reach out to the rural areas, recently spending $40 million USD to connect villages to broadband. They are hopeful that today’s usage is an urban phenomena, but eventually the gap can be lessened with both mobile phones and netbooks, giving the rural population greater access to information that will be beneficial for their livelihood.
I am cautiously optimistic about the ability to lessen the digital divide. The Indonesian government has stepped forward to take action to bridge the disconnect. This is definitely a step in the right direction. However there are still many countries far behind in internet connectivity, specifically African nations. On top of that there is the tricky issue of what regulations should be put in place regarding content and use and the even bigger issue of who controls the internet (which I may discuss at a later date). With more users online these questions become not only more complex, but also imperative for governments to address, for the well-being of their citizens as well as its implications for international relations.
All data from the Radio Australia broadcast, “Asia to Change the way the Internet is Used”, September 3, 2010. Available at http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/201009/s3001665.htm.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sean O Siochru and Bruce Girard with Amy Mahan (2000) in Global Governance: A Beginners Guide in Chapter 1--Introduction to National Media Regulation: Why Media Regulation?--lists two justifications, societal and industry regulations. The writers draw a fine line between media diversity,which pertains to diversity in the contents of the media, media plurality, which relates to different types of media.
But conglomeration i.e. cross-media ownership and convergence of information technology are posing a threat to both media diversity and media plurality. Thus, constricting "the public sphere" or "ideal communication sphere". The writers in fact make a case for citizens media in which people become involved in media not simply as consumers, but as producers and broadcasters.
A free-market economy and conglomerates have emerged as the major threats to the freedom of the press. In many cases, advertisers, who have become the economic lifeline of the media, not only determine what news is to be published but also what qualifies as "news". Conglomerates are in fact'private ministries of information' that generate their own news and control others. An outcome of the free-market economy, media moguls encroach on the marketplace of ideas.
Conglomeration is nibbling away at the audience's choices and resulting in the uniformity of opinion. When diversity of opinion gives way to a uniform world-view, democratic discourse comes to an end. The present media give news in fragments that makes it difficult for the audience to connect the dots and have the big picture. It becomes difficult for the common people to follow the development of a particular issue over time.
This situation promotes apathy and cynicism at the expense of political participation. Common people become mere spectators in a democracy which otherwise should be a participatory business. Democracy and a free media are sacrificed at the alter of the free-market economy which the linchpin of capitalism. this down-slide of the media can be balanced by the emergence of the citizens' media which is run by the community instead of a corporation. In a citizens' media the common people are part of the journalistic activity. This instills in them a sense of belonging.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
It is very hard for me to understand the term nation. According to the reading it is “based on the idea of a shared ethnicity of the population that lived within a particular territory”. In China there are 56 ethnic groups. In some urban area you can only find one particular group and in some area you can find a mixture of the groups. We all live in the Chinese territory but we do not share ethnicity. And as the reading says “national borders have more often divided tribes and linguistic groups.” There are uncountable tribes and linguistic groups in China. There are people speak Mongolian in north part of China as people in Mongolia, and there are people speak Korean in China as people in north Korea and south Korea. All those people belong to the same linguistic groups and they all live next to each other. Should they belong to the same nation?
Friday, September 24, 2010
In today's Web 2.0, many hope that social networking will allow for greater communication around the world, and perhaps include communities that were previously overlooked. Yet the author argues that today's social networking simply allows pre-existing groups of people to come together, rather than breaking down any barriers.
A generation of digital activists had hoped that the web would connect groups separated in the real world. The internet was supposed to transcend colour, social identity and national borders. But research suggests that the internet is not so radical. People are online what they are offline: divided, and slow to build bridges.
You can read the entire article at http://www.economist.com/node/16943885?story_id=16943885 ... go check it out!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
This week in class we talked at great length about Nationalism in light of Globalization. I think that the above article is a great example of what we were discussing. After World War II, a great deal of Muslims immigrated to Germany as a part of the guest worker programs that were instated there due to the overall loss of population and infrastructure. Today, there is a very appreciable population of Muslims in Germany, a fact that causes no small deal of tension.
The issue in question, of course, is the seeming refusal of Muslims to integrate into German society. How does this relate to our discussion in class? The Muslims in Germany are part of a Diaspora. Like any group outside of their cultural homeland, they seek to preserve their cultural identity in their "host country." Having traveled in Germany myself, I can attest to the fact that there are strongly Muslim (often Turkish) areas within German cities. According to the article, however, there has been increasing resentment about these "isolated" groups, similar to what some groups in the United States have said about ethnic minorities
As we debated in class, it seems that a highly globalized world, full of varying cultural media is not enough to prevent a significant increase in support for more radical conservative sentiments (significant because it could mean a far-Right fringe party will have seats in the legislature). But the increase in right-wing sentiment is not just based on cultural friction. It also has to do with the dissolving borders of the nation-state. The above article also mentions German frustration with EU politics, especially the Greece bailout. German citizens, who may feel no particular need to be "continental citizens," much less "global citizens" are perhaps hunkering down in order to protect what they see as their own nation's needs first. The result, of course, is a reevaluation of who is included in that nation; apparently, for some Germans, Muslims are out.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
This bubble of common communication then reinforces the sense of belonging, and perhaps is exhibited in the way these communities interact with society as a whole. Some embrace their home culture while also absorbing local news and information. Others remain solidly entrenched in their foreign identity and lifestyle.
Combined with the media identifying with different cultures, this creates a reinforcement of stereotypes and the potential for conflict. People go off to their “safe spaces” and never dare to venture out. This can even be seen around the District of Columbia. Take a look at this map from Eric Fischer, who took the 2000 Census data from the DC metro area to show trends in ethnicity in the region: http://dcist.com/2010/09/illustrating_the_districts_racial_d.php. Red is White, blue is Black, green is Asian, orange is Hispanic. (The link is for DCist, but click on the link in the post for a high-res image). It gives you an idea of some diasporas in the area. I find it very interesting, since DC is a very transient city and many people move in and out throughout the years, to see where people choose to settle down.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
It is difficult for me to answer such a question, especially if I liked and appreciated many of his arguments but, at the same time, I have the feeling that he degraded too much the concept of globalization, which it has been a great help in order to understand the new realities that brought to us the revolution of the new information and communication technologies (ICTs).
He concluded his article with the following comment “A theory that is blind to such a facts is blind to reality”, when mentioning that the internet it is not global in reality because “a quarter of the world’s population, more than one and quarter billion people, are today without any access to electricity, and that number will rise over the next 25 years. No electricity, no internet.”
Such statement looks demagogic to me if we accept the following definition of globalization “widening, deepening, and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness in all aspects of social life“. Let me explain myself. The use of the terms “widening, deepening and speeding” means increasing and gradation. And such a definition let us understand that globalization is a trend that shows us the direction in which interconnectedness is moving in the diverse aspects of social life.
The concept of globalization is defining a trend and because does not reflect and absolute knowledge or absolute explanation and comprehension of the phenomena that is trying to describe, does not means that is “blind to reality”. By the way, if we analyze with maturity any theory, we suppose to understand that it is a good chance that, as many theories, will be a simplification of reality but useful to understand better a given fact. There is an expression that says “the map is not the territory”, but it is fact that –even if it is not detailed and tridimensional – the helps to understand the terrain that is representing it.
However, It is important to says that I am agree with Colin Sparks in his critics to the flows of “the theories of globalizations that obscures central aspects of contemporary reality” but without the extreme position of saying that globalization theory is “blind to reality” because has “flows” that are not fundamental in his effectiveness to give us better understanding of a given reality. By the way, there is challenge there. Explain the theory of globalization with more nuances and richness in a way that give us more satisfaction.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
While the theory might be a relatively new concept,, this usage of international communication as a means of transmitting ‘correct’ ideology is not a new one. Going back to our discussion of the history of communication, take for example, the Catholic church spreading their message of Christianity throughout Europe in the sixteenth century, as discussed in the historical chapter of Thussu’s work, International Communication: Continuity and Change. It is fascinating that the modernization theory assumes that the media is actually a neutral force in development, since we have discussed the fact that the general population is not a passive recipient of media content. Instead, we now understand that the process of media transmission is a two-way discussion: yes, media may be persuasive, but we also influence, to some extent, what content is available.
And yet, some media runs the risk of becoming more of a political attempt to change the values a country, rather than simply being an aid to development. Thus, I would have to conclude that the modernization theory aligns itself more with the concept of ‘Americanization’. While American companies try to aid development by bringing technologies to developing nations in an attempt to better the existing culture, it is seen instead as forcing American culture onto others. This is a fine line to walk,and is something that development agencies should keep in mind in the future.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Two questions as conclusions: we could ask ourselves if there are better clues that globalized Public Sphere and Public Opinion to forecast ...
In the Castells’ article, under the title of Public Sphere and the Constitution of Society, it’s mentioned that according with Habermas the public sphere is ‘a network for communicating information and points of view’ that lies between the state and society. Then, he says that “The public sphere is an essential component of sociopolitical organization because it is the space where people come together as citizens and articulate their autonomous views to influence the political institutions of society. Civil society is the organized expression of these views; and the relationship between the state and civil society is the cornerstone of democracy. Without an effective civil society capable of structuring and channeling citizen debates over diverse ideas and conflicting interests, the state drifts away from its subjects.”
If we consider for a second to the Public Sphere –under the fact of globalization- as the international arena where take place the interactions that give birth to a given Public Opinion about a given fact in a given moment, then we could ask ourselves if the relevance of the state will the same considering that for the Public Sphere and the Public Opinion the borders are less important each day with globalization? And even more, we could ask ourselves if there are better clues that globalized Public Sphere and Public Opinion to forecast the new international order that we could see in the future?
This week in class, we very briefly touched on the subject of nationalism. What happened last weekend on September 11th is an incredible outpouring of nationalism, the likes of which the United States has not seen in recent years. In each of these videos you see people - American Citizens - screaming, chanting, waving signs, and making their voices heard at a the newest place of national and patriotic significance in our nation's history. What really makes this significant to me, is the battle over whose cause is more "right," or who has the claim to the nationalist cause. Really, though, both individuals who are against the Ground Zero Mosque (Tea Partiers, Conservatives, and Fundamentalists mostly), and those who support its construction/location (generally more liberal or moderate groups), both have a claim.
The conflict here comes from what Manuel Castells calls The Crisis of Identity, one of four crises of governance that he states are the hallmarks of the conflict between nation-states and the progress of globalization. The second video, showing the burning of a Koran at Ground Zero, is particularly telling in this regard, and also demonstrates some of the realities of the limits of a nation state in the Youtube Age. The man in the video is gleefully destroying the holy book while enduring criticism and warnings from the photographers and videographers around him, all while declaring his right to free speech and pride as an American. While Terry Jones' organized event might have been a ploy to gain notoriety, based upon his dubious past, the individual burnings on September 11th are pure expressions of nationalism from Americans who feel like the country has gone astray.
The US government's pleas to refrain from burning Korans are inconsequential to these individual actors. The resulting diffusion of the videos on Youtube and other social media websites illustrates two other hallmarks of the nation-state/globalization conflict. The first, a Crisis of Efficiency, in that the government s unable to manage the conduct of its citizens - possibly jeopardizing its diplomatic efforts, if the angry reactionary protests in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern nations are any indication. The second is the Crisis of Legitimacy. The traditional political parties seem to be losing touch with their constituencies as the culture and beliefs of the United States seem to be under assault from foreign sources; the current upsurging of support for the Tea Party also bears this out.
It's an interesting and exciting time to be living in the nation's capital, and it bears noting that our Congress is currently in the electoral process. Given that there is so much activism going on right now, there could be some fundamental changes in the composition of the next legislative body. The eyes of the world are on us, to a certain extent. Interesting times indeed.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
When analyzing the diverse elements of the cybernetic system model I am wondering if could be a good idea to consider the element Receiver as individual on the one hand, and, the public opinion, on the other hand, as the Receiver, defined –meaning the public opinion- as a group of people with beliefs, criteria, opinions, perceptions, etc., about a particular issue in a particular time.
This simplification could be –in fact it is for me- a very useful way to analyze the public opinion ‘point of view’ and her role as an actor -sender or receiver- in any process related with international relations, at the domestic level or the international level.
It is very true that we cannot divide culture and international communication. Yet when we talk about communication today is very different from the past. It affects our daily life and reinforces globalization. In Weaver’s article he talked about “ when you say modernize, you really mean Americanize.” I think somehow it is true. It is like McDonalds, Starbucks, Coca cola almost exist everywhere and of course Hollywood movies. I remember in 1997 when the first McDonalds came in town, it was the most expensive, fashionable “restaurant”. (When you buy a combo, the money you spend can buy 5 meals in a local restaurant.) People waited in line for hours to get their food. And people who went there were rich and considered modernized. Why? Because that was an American “restaurant”, and the only foreign “restaurant” in town. Now it makes me sad when I think about it.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
back down from their goal, and would burn 20 of the holy books. After a massive public uproar, entreaties from religious and government leaders around the world, and even allusions to secret meetings with the Imam of the proposed Ground Zero Mosque, Jones finally canceled his book burning. Although this is certainly a good thing for the United States (or at least better than if Jones had gone through with it), it could be said that the damage has already been done. There is a great deal of anger around the globe, and the US flag has already been burned in Afghanistan in retaliation. According to reporters, some cries of "Death to the Christians" could be heard.
While going through our readings for this week, I thought about how this scandal would fit into IC theory. I believe that in some way, it is related to the two models of communication that Carey discusses in "A Cultural Approach to Communication." Carey describes two models or modes of thought regarding the use of and reason for communication systems. The first, the so-called Transmission Model, defines Communication as a tool of control and influence, where one entity transmits its own message or set of information to another, where it is absorbed. This is the most common and traditional mode of thought concerning communication in the US, Carey states (Carey, 15), but it is not the model that I am particularly interested in, despite the distinct lack of focus in the US' international media that would indicate that the Transmission Model has broken down here.
The second model that Carey discusses is the Ritual Model, which concerns the use of Communication as a method not of control, but of societal preservation. Consider this: Terry Jones, along with his followers, felt that the United States was slipping away from its proper place in the world, or at the very least needed to assert itself. This idea is not uncommon in the US, and our country has in many ways slipped out of "First Place," as far as our overall standing in the world. To Terry Jones and his congregation, their book burning was an act of protest, and was intended to show the world that the United States was not taking any insult lying down. To much of the rest of the world, of course, this appeared to be a provocation for further violence. Arguments that Jones' intent was to provoke violence from the start should look to his hesitation in the face of criticism.
Of course, the latest reports on this story have revealed that Jones has a history of abuse and exploitation in Germany, where he established a mission in 1982. It is certain that this story will continue to unfold over the coming weeks, and it remains to be seen how "pure" Jones' intent was; did he intend to preach a particular brand of Christian faith, bolster the ego of the United States, or was he longing for notoriety and influence, as Andrew Schaefer and the Rhine Protestant Church claim?
For further reading, cehck Ewen MacAskill, Richard Adams in Washington and Kate Connolly, and Matthew Weaver and Tim Hill in the Guardian.
Edit: As of right now, Jones has stated that the event is only suspended, not canceled. He believes that he was lied to about the possibility of the Ground Zero Mosque's location being moved. It remains to be seen what is true.
This certainly circles back to the theory of how communication allows for greater access to information, and in turn, economic growth, as evidenced during the Industrial Revolution. These same concepts are being used in developing nations today. As the author argues, mass media speeds up the process of development as a “vehicle for transferring new ideas” (43). This theory, known as the ‘modernization theory’, was in the 1970s a top-down approach to communication, with information flowing from the government or aid organizations to the people. But as we see today, communications infrastructure is also crucial to development, to allow the public to both access the information and use it for further progress; just giving information to the public is not quite as beneficial.
Today the challenge is how international communication is being influenced by the strongest cultures, ie the “Americanization” rather than “globalization” of new media. The strongest power has the greatest effect on today’s communications. However, from a cultural perspective, it is important to assess the “interactions between cultures” (61), making sure these new technologies are actually being used in a constructive manner, and that it is not just the loudest voice forcing an opinion or change.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Optimists could cite Google itself as an antidote to this process - after all, Google's own Code of Conduct is prefaced by the phrase "Don't be Evil." But, sadly, Google has crossed over to "the dark side," and proposed that net neutrality rules should no longer apply to wireless access, as well as a wide range of additional rules for wired access that have received much negative criticism.
As far as what we've read in class, this sort of situation shouldn't seem unfamiliar. In Chapter 1 of Thussu's "Continuity and Change," (p. 7) Thussu explains the business model of the first wireless telegraph, created and marketed by Guglielmo Marconi in 1901. Much like the wired telegraph, Great Britain controlled the lion's share of wireless traffic as well. This allowed them to dictate that only transmissions sent on Marconi devices would be received and processed, much like their policy on wired telegraphs in the years prior. The difference between the politics of Marconi's transmitter and the current Google-Verizon deal is that competition from other countries made negotiation and compromise a necessity, whereas there is no other ISP-"Google" deal in the works, and there isn't really another Google.
Without any strident opposition from the FCC, or any competition from similar business conglomerates, we are likely to find ourselves in a time of increasingly private control of the Internet. There is, however a fair amount of criticism from groups such as MoveOn.org and Free Press, both of which champion the cause of Net Neutrality. It remains to be seen whether groups like the above two, as well as further public criticism, will coalesce enough to bring Google and Verizon to the negotiating table.
For further reading, check out Josh Silver and Bianca Bosker at the Huffington Post,
Edward Wyatt, Claire Cain Miller and Miguel Helft at the New York Times.
All of the linked articles were used for reference and sources.
Technological developments in communication such as the telegraph did for Europe and the United States what a great infrastructure did for the Romans. With the invention of the telegraph, Britain jumped at the opportunity to connect with its colonies. According to Hanson, Britain and India were joined by 1870 and by 1895, British cable linked France to the majority of its colonies but North Africa. The telegraphs also quickened business transactions trans-Atlantic and revolutionized news transmission, leading to the development of the first news agencies-British Reuters, French Havas, and the German Wolff.
Later, broadcast emerged as a crucial outlet to reach the masses. Especially in wartime. As Hanson notes, while the Soviets were the first country to use radio to internationally broadcast government opinion, others followed suit by WWII. Germany became the largest broadcasting network in the world and the Allies had to quickly figure out how to catch up. The power of radio to broadcast propaganda was an integral tool to advance wartime efforts.
As Professor Hayden mentioned in class, communication technologies don't determine historical events, but rather determine our actions. If these global powers hadn't capitalized on the technology, be it the telegraph or later broadcast, who knows where we would be today.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Another similar, related development is the use of technology and social media to connect people to take a stand on political issues. One great example of this is the so-called “Twitter Revolution” during the Iranian post-election protests in 2009. The new media technology Twitter was supposedly playing a major role in organizing people during these protests, so much so that US policymakers stepped in to persuade Twitter to postpone maintenance services and continue running at full strength. On the surface it was believed that Twitter was a great help in getting information outside Iran, but in actuality it was mostly Americans tweeting. However, you can see that this constant news feed and buzz from current events may affect policy makers around the globe to speed up the decision making process, instead of gathering all the fact first.
You can read the entire Washington Post article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/16/AR2009061603391.html