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International Communication Theory Tomasz Płudowski, Ph.D. Collegium Civitas, October 20, 2005 Globalization • Process Whereby World Is Made into Single Place with Systemic Differences • Elements: Transborder Capital, Labor, News, Images, Information Flows • Main Engines: TNCs, TMOs Media Globalization Aspects • Space-time Compression • Changing Working Habits • Information Accessibility in Most Remote Places • Impact on Local Cultures • Media Events Providing Common Experience and Uniting Globe Limitations of Global Village Uneven Access to Information • Media Distribution per 1,000 citizens • Knowledge Gap Media Distribution per 1,000 2500 2000 1500 Newspapers Radios 1000 TV's 500 0 Pakistan India Japan Unbalanced Flow of Information • World’s News Agencies • Monopoly Control over Flow from and to Developing Countries • North-North • North-South • South-South Structure of Global News Flow North North South Soth New International Information and Communication Order UNESCO Conference, Belgrade, 1980 • Elimination of Present Inbalances and Inequalities • Elimination of Negative Effects of Certain Monopolies & Exessive Concentrations • Removal of Obstacles to Balanced Dissemination of Information New International Information Order, contd. • Plurality of Sources & Channels of Information • Freedom of Press & of Information • Freedom of Journalists • Developing Countries to Improve • Sincere Will of Developed Countries to Help New International Information Order, contd. • Respect for Each People’s Cultural Identity and Right of Each Nation to Inform World about its Interests, Aspirations and Values • Respect of Right of All Peoples to Participate in International Exchanges of Information on Basis of Equality, Justice and Mutual Benefit NWICO • In the past, much of the IC debate focuse on the NWICO, which respresents: 1) An evolutionary process seeking a more just and equitable balance in the flow and content of information 2) A right to national sefl-determination of domestic communication policies NWICO 3) At the international level, a two-way information flow reflecting more accurately the aspirations and activities of less developed countries (LDCs) NWICO Ultimate goal: restructured system of media and telecommunications priorities in order for LDCs to obtain greater influence over their media, information, economic, cultural, and political systems Conflict over NWICO • LDCs postulate measures that clash with strongly held journalistic traditions and practices in the West: – Government control of the media – Limited reporter access to events – Journalistic codes – Licensing of reporters – Taxation of the broadcast spectrum Balanced Flow of Information • Approved by UNESCO in the 1970s • Even that idea criticized as interference with free flow and free market mechanisms. Only an open and free flow of information is consistent with the goals of a truly free press NWICO • Not merely a theoretical issue • Used to legitimize a governmental role in disseminating information in several states, notably in Africa (in Liberia journalists need permits to cover information, no permit ever given to use the Internet) International News in Western Media • The average mass circulation newspaper in the West carries less international news than ten years ago (with the exception of time around 9/11) Reasons for less international coverage – Costs ($250,000 per year to place an equip one) – Restrictions from censorship to jailing – High turnover of foreign correspondents – Trend toward ”parachute journalism”-flocks descending in scenes of conflict to trivialize and sensationalize complex issues – Lack of public concern, as reflected in the trend toward light, fluffy, and trendy journalism Changes in International Media in 1980s and 1990s American Media • Background • Deregulation • Unprecedented Corporate Growth -Mergers -Concentration -Conglomeration -Monopoly Media Research • Most research looks at micro issues such as: – agenda-setting – Violence – Ownership Or a specific medium such as: – Print – Television NWICO offers a macro approach, so do the following theories: Theories of International Communication • Electronic Colonialism Theory (ECT) • World-System Theory (WST) • Free Flow of Information • Modernization Theory • Dependency Theory • Structural Imperialism Theories of International Communication, cntd • Hegemony • Critical Theory • The Public Sphere • Cultural Studies perspectives • Theories of the Information Society • Discourses of Globalization • A Critical Political-economy of the 21st century Electronic Colonialism Theory • Throughout history there have been few successful efforts at empire building: – Military Colonialism (B.C.-1,000 A.D.) The expansion of the Roman empire throughout most of what is today Europe during the Greco-Roman period – Christianity Colonialism (1,000-1,600) Militant Christianity of the Crusades that sought to control territory from Europe to Middle East. Beginning 1095, 200 years of crusades led to the establishment of new European colonies in the ME. The territories were seized from Muslims as Western civilization became the dominant international force – Mercantile Colonialism (1,600-1,950) Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas became objects of conquest by European powers that sought markets, raw materials, and other goods unavailable at home in return sending colonial administrators, immigrants, a language, educational system, religion, philosophy, high culture, and a lifestyle that frequently were inappropriate for the invaded country. International status was a function of the number and location of one’s foreign colonies – Electronic Colonialism (1950-Present) In 1950s and 1960s rise of nationalism in developing countries and a shift to a service-based, information economy in the West set the stage for the fourth and current era of empire expansion Electronic Colonialism Represents the dependent relationship of LDCs on the West established by the importation of communication hardware and foreign-produced software, along with engineers, technicians, and related information protocols, that establish a set of foreign norms, values, habits, values, and expectations that, to varying degrees, alter domestic cultures, habits, values, and the socialization process. Electronic Colonialism Theory The concern is that this new foreign information will cause the displacement, rejection, alteration, or forgetting of native or indigenous customs, domestic messages, and cultural history. LDCs fear EC as much as MC. Whereas MC sought cheap labor, EC seeks minds. It is aimed at influencing attitudes, desires, beliefs, lifestyles, and consumer behavior. Electronic Colonialism Theory As the citizens of LDCs are increasingly viewed through the prism of consumerism, control of their values and purchasing patterns becomes increasingly important to multinational firms. Tools: Western media messages, e.g. at its peak in mid- 1990s, Baywatch was watched by more than 1 billion people a week in nearly 150 countries. Electronic Colonialism Theory EC relies on the long-term consequences of exposure to these media images and messages to extend the West’s market’s, power, and influence. World-System Theory • Provides the concepts, ideas, and language for structuring international communication. WST was proposed and developed by Immanuel Wallerstein. • WST proposes that global economic expansion takes place from a relatively small group of core zone nation-states out to two other zones of nations-states, these being in the semi- peripheral and peripheral zones World-System Theory • It is assumed that the zones exhibit unequal and uneven economic relations, with the core nations being the dominant and controlling economic entity. • Core nations – exert control and define the nature and extent of interactions with the other two zones – provide technology, software, capital, knowledge, finished goods, and services to the other zones which function as consumers and markets World-System Theory • Core – Capital-intensive, high-wage,high-technology production involving low labor exploitation and coercion • Periphery – Labor-intensive, low-wage, low-technology production involving high labor exploitation and coercion • Semi-periphery – Core-like actiivties, periphery-like activities World-System Theory Core Nations (30+) Semi-Peripheral Nations (20+) Peripheral Nations (100+) Free Flow of Information The concept reflected Western, and specifically US, antipathy to state regulation and censorship of the media. It was part of the liberal, free market discourse designed in the post-WWII bi-polar world of free market capitalism and state socialism. As such it was part of the Cold War discourse. The FFI doctrine assisted the West in advertising and marketing their goods in foreign markets, in ensuring continuing influence of Western media on global markets, and in strengthening the West in its ideological battle with the Soviet Union. Also helped communicate, in subtle rather than direct ways, US government’s points of view to international audiences Modernization Theory • Complimentary to the doctrine of free flow in the post-war years was the view that international communication was the key to the process to the modernization and development of the so-called ‘Third World.’ • Daniel Lerner, MIT, The Passing of Traditional Society (1958)- early 1950s research into audience exposure to radio in Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iran. Hypothesis: exposure to the media made traditional societies less bound by tradition and made them aspire to a new and modern way of life.
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