With the passing of time, advances in technology have globalized the transfer of information and hence, initiated international regulations relative to the evolution of communication. To support this proposal, I identify “metaphors of progress” (Mattelart 26) revealed through The Emergence of Technical Networks, described by Armand Mattelart and Daya Thussu’s The Historical Context of International Communication. These metaphors, including the growth of administrative mergers between nation states and the appearance of peaceful assemblies to study and revise international communication, offer ethical prospective on the geopolitical dissemination of information.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, advances in sea travel and railways weakend geographical restrictions on the transmission of information and prompted states to more strongly unite in efforts to manage global communication tools. The development of the Postal Union exemplifies the emergence of administrative state alliances. In order to address “black cabinet” abuses of privacy, prevalent throughout history, and to propose international postal rates, the Postal Union Organized in 1875 and set the stage for the contemporary organization of social networks by international regulators. Despite states’ initial economic concerns with shared postal reform, such mergers maintained the global integrity of postal services and increased the accessibility of information to the public. (Mattelart 9).
As the use of the telegraph, radio, television and news agencies expanded throughout the twentieth century, joint efforts to assess and amend networks of international communication matured as well. Specifically, the MacBride Commission, established by UNESCO in 1979, provided a global view of developing countries’ need for the democratization of communication. The MacBride Commission found that dependence on Western media and the influence of corrupt political systems impeded culturally appropriate communication strategies as means for addressing national concerns. A New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) was proposed to address these findings. Although opponents to NWICO argued against the regulation of free market media, this case suggests that such countries, including the United States, failed to acknowledge the recommendations of the MacBride Commission on behalf of an ideological scapegoat for maintaining their ranges of influence (Thussu 31). As technologies widen the flow of information, “peaceful gatherings of progress” continue to lead the discourse of international order and ethics in communication (Mattelart 30).
Such agreements between states reflect the networking possibility of complex technologies and the restrains of press directly and indirectly affected by censorship. Although it is yet to be seen whether “progress” will be defined by the freedom or suppression of new mediums, “metaphors of progress” will define the twenty-first century by use of advanced tools in international communication.