Posts Tagged ‘Media broadcasters’

“Globalization is the process of interaction and integration among the people, companies and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology” (Globalization 101, 2014).

Globalization is all of that, and such a definition makes it sound very good but many would argue that there are downsides to globalization too.  Is this process an ongoing blending of cultures (hybridization) or is it advocating ‘sameness’ (homogenization)? Is every person, company and government included in this process; given its share of the deal, or are we witnessing modern-day imperialism?

Katrin Voltmer argues in ‘Comparing media systems in new democracies: East meets South meets West‘ that because different parts/nations of the world come from different cultures and different types of long lasting governing methods their transition into democracy and their handling of democratization is a product of their past experiences. She divides them into three different backgrounds; transition from communist oligarchy in Eastern Europe, military dictatorship in Latin-America and one-party dictatorships in East-Asia and Africa (she clearly separates these two) and explains how these previous cultural and power-asserting histories shape their take on democracy today.

This reading made me think how much people (like me) from liberal democracies expect the rest of the world to understand and govern democracy (or their countries) the same way as we do. When we speak of Asian countries we rarely show knowledge of their values that root in Confucian tradition and emphasizes social harmony, deference to authorities and discipline; we simply expect them to just ‘be like us’. And we seem to think that privatization leads to liberalization, but never do we stop to think that ownership can lead to monopoly, like in many Latin American countries where the media organizations have been dominated by wealthy politicians. This creates a class differentiation in these countries and leaves globalization just for the ‘elite’ and the ones that can afford to participate. Not to mention how we speak of a ‘global village’. We say that everyone is connected even though we know that there is a shortage of resources in many areas of e.g. Africa. I was actually just informed that in Burma only one if 5000 people has internet access, and that it means 15 years in jail to own a modem without permission (Khorana, 2014).

Such examples, I think, demonstrates how we think of globalization as well. It is thought of as a product of ‘the west’. We love for our culture to spread around the world, but are slightly reluctant to welcome another culture over our own borders. Homogenization might therefore be a threatening part of the process of globalization.

References:

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Globalisation and the Media’, Lecture, BCM310, University of Wollongong, 12th May

2014, What is globalization/Globalization 101, The State University of New York – The Levin Institute, viewed 13 May 2014, http://www.globalization101.org/what-is-globalization/

 

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Stereotyping has existed for a long time, and a lot of the generalizing that occurs today has its origin in historical events like wars or colonialism. Such events often spark insulting and trivializing images of the other and a use of propaganda which promote feelings of hate (Khorana, 2014), and these images, or stereotypes are very hard to get rid of. In old Western movies it was the Mexicans and/or the Native Americans that were depicted as villains and savages and in modern Hollywood we are introduced to Arab and Muslim terrorists (Khorana, 2014). As the media contributes to these stereotypes they communicate a negative and false representation of other cultures.

Interestingly though, after the war on terror, propaganda has become less effective and the acts of warfare has become more transparent in the media and therefore it has become increasingly important to communicate ‘positive’ representations of our enemies so that we appear as ‘good-doers’ in the midst of our wars (Alsultany, 2013).

Evelyn Alsultany (2013) therefore talks about a new type of race representation in the US after 9/11 which blends negative and positive traits of an ethnic group; she calls it “simplified complex representations“. It challenges traditional stereotypes but also justifies discrimination by contributing to a multicultural ‘illusion’. For example; TV-shows and films have incorporated patriotic Arab or Muslim Americans into their plots who assist the Government in fighting terrorism to counteract stereotyping, in TV-dramas they are often victimized to create empathy, sometimes we are led to believe that they are the leading terrorists but later it is revealed that it was someone else (‘flipping the enemy’), and in news media we are often first given a disclaimer (“these are not Islamic practices”) before we are told about the brutality of Islam.

Alsultany (2013) argues that such representation “do the ideological work of justifying discriminatory policies” because simultaneously as the Arab or Muslim American is e.g. victimized, the storyline often also express that it is unavoidable due to the national security crisis, and in the news media diversity and complexity is loosely mentioned but the majority of evidence supports the negative outlooks of the ethnic group.

References:

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Race and Representation’, lecture, , BCM310, University of Wollongong, 05 May.

Alsultany, E 2013, ‘Arabs and Muslims in the Media after 9/11: Representational Strategies for a “Postrace” Era’, Project Muse, vol. 65, no. 1

Today we are in the middle a digital revolution, a technological shift which threatens the survival of many industries. In my latest post I have been discussing the possibilities to how industries can join the new online market and how they might adapt to a technological age. As of today many industries, especially the media industries seem to refuse to let go of their old business models. Personally I find myself thinking a bit like a technological determinist, we have to accept cultural and social changes which comes with new technologies, it makes no sense to resist. We have always invented new things that have changed our way of behavior and communication, very often to the better, so why not this time?

Power and control; probably the key words to why this revolution is met with so much resistance. Politics and news have walked hand-in-hand for a very long time, and both politicians and media owners have become very powerful through such cooperation. The Internet builds a foundation for a true democratic society, good for the consumer, but bad for authorities.

But let us look at the possibilities. I am not going to focus on the possibilities to maintain control, but the possibility to maintain business and revenue. The problem with industrial media is that it has always been centralized. The collection, production and distribution of news were built on a one-to-many model which gave these industries advantages through gatekeeping. They were able to filter and decide what was the news of the day, they had the power to judge what was important and what we were supposed to think. This screams propaganda, doesn’t it?

Today we are citizen journalists. We also decide what is the news of the day, judge what is important and influence what people should think. The Internet decentralized the news-market; it took the control out of the authorities’ hands. For democracy, this is a victory, but I still think that we need these media industries. We need them for quality control and distribution.

Many people can write a very convincing and important blog about a certain issue, but most people do not have the resources to check the accuracy of this information, I am sure many citizen journalists do, but to be honest, most of us do not. Most of us write and publish, without having researched the facts and background of the content.

With platforms like Twitter information can be aggregated into topics. When I post this blog to Twitter, no one will probably notice it, but if I use the hashtag #gatewatchers, it is a very different matter; my blog will end up in a very interesting search, which suddenly enhances the value of my blog-post.

What media-industries could do is to change their way of finding information. Instead of being told by editors: “Today we should be focusing on the U.S election”, journalists could use these aggregation-platforms to search for interesting and important news. Not only will we be a part of what the news is, but originally the news would be written by citizen journalists and the content would be made out of our opinions, not the editors. The role of the media industries would be quality control, to improve an already good piece of journalism as well as to distribute it to make sure it gets attention from the right people.

At least I would find the news much more trustworthy in the way that I know it is not just a piece of propaganda, it is something someone out there really cares about. In this way, I can see a very much improved public sphere.

Introduction

Politics can be defined as the “activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power”.  To unpack; politics mean the discussions of, for example, our health, justice, laws, and economy, debated between parties and leaders which fight for the power-seat.

Politics in the modern world are striving to be democratic, or are said to be, but are they? Perhaps ideologies, norms and expectations set in our society are influencing what we believe to be right and wrong. At least in the mediated political debate I find this to be a problem. In a democratic country the citizens are entitled to, and in need of, information from all possible angles and viewpoints to be able to make an informed and educated opinion about an issue, so that they can later vote and fight for the kind of society they find just.

I have chosen Australia, a western country in which I have lived for only a year, to demonstrate how it in this example, fails to uphold the democratic values.

Government parties

If I was not actively searching out the different parties in Australia, I would only know two, maybe three of them. I believe The Australian Labor Party (Julia Gillard) and the Liberal Party of Australia (Tony Abbott) are the only two parties enforced and represented in the media. No doubts are they the most popular parties, and therefore of interest, but by excluding media coverage of other parties, citizens are not properly informed. In a country like Australia, which strives to preserve the natural heritage of its land, it surprises me that a party like the Australian Greens (Christine Milne) only have 11.8%  of the Australian votes.

Unbalanced media debates

Maybe if Australians knew more about the environmental discussion, people would have showed an interest in a party focusing on this issue. It appears as the only issue being debated in the media (coming to climate) is the carbon tax! Australia is a western country close to where climate change actually happens today, for example in Kiribati, but still a country where citizens seem to not understand the problem.

Conclusion; hidden agendas

In today’s society most people can educate themselves online, but I still believe the mass media has an influence on our perception of the world. Norms and ideologies are often shaped by our society and the mass-media pushes these buttons. By using words and images which either appeal to us or the other way around, the mass-media can try to make us “read” a story in a particular way. There lies great power in this, and it certainly are a benefit to Governments to “be friends” with the media so that their interests might be enhanced. But it also tells the story of a political debate which has become biased and less democratic.

There is no such thing as politics or entertainment. It is mashed up in a mix of show-business and political statements. The culture industry has always carried political messages like “Flower Power” in the 60’s and punk as anti-consumerism in the 70’s, but a newer phenomenon is politicians blending into popular culture.

Jon Stewart is a popular actor and stand-up comedian but at the same time a political satirist and media critic. Entertainment can be a vehicle for propaganda as there often are made room for political ideologies which can act as a hidden manipulator. Political visitors are common on Mr. Stewart’s talk-show, and given his popularity and influence in the American society, it is easy to see why.

Money has too much control over the mass-media; in fact it has total control. As long as the mass-media makes money through happy advertisers, their content will continue being tailored to a certain audience. If you pick one news-item and follow it through different commentaries the topic-selection, concerns, emphasis, filtering and framing varies depending on the audience and their interests.

The reporting of Iran’s earthquake was very different in Fox News compared to Al Jazeera English. While Al Jazeera kept focus on factual numbers, geography and relief efforts, Fox left us with little information, rather a dramatic story of homeless people and despair.

Update 14.08.2012:

I’ve just discovered by clicking on my own link that Fox News have changed their article. It is impossible to find the article I linked to, it seems like they have rewritten the whole story. Maybe another example of how you can be unprofessional.. The video is still showing the same dramatic story as yesterday though.