Monday, September 28, 2009

“A Space for Confrontation between Opposing Communication Paradigms”

Although the definition of governance has been debated on the world stage since the birth of the Universal Postal Union in 1974, due to globalization, interaction between international governing systems and the inclusion of civil society in such relationships are increasingly key to the industrial and societal regulations essential to modern development. Through the definitions of governance offered by Siochru and Girard, Thussu and Raboy, the reader can deduce that the liberalization of telecommunications has resulted in the growth of the free market and regulatory challenges involving the global public sphere.

Global Governance, The WSIS as a Political Space, and Creating a Global Communication Infrastructure describe governance through the eyes of several governing bodies and organizations but share the same multifaceted view of modern regulation of telecommunications. Global governance is portrayed as the convergence of international state and non-state actors, specifically those considered representatives of global civil society, where participants neutrally manage countries’ political, economic and cultural affairs. Media regulations in industry and society are changing to reflect these values as technologies unite, deregulation occurs, globalization increases and the ownership over flows of communication are consolidated. While groups including the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) have failed to meet the funding or regulatory demands resulting from contemporary consumer culture and digital and conceptual divides, civil society has experienced increased participation in governance forums. Civil society is rightly gaining the voice necessary to express social needs in an international arena separate from greedy governments and profit-driven commercial institutions.

Reflecting on the writings of Siochru and Girard, Thussu and Raboy, I believe Raboy captures the essence of media governance best in his assertion that the failures of WSIS and other international forums to concretely regulate communication should not be seen as discouraging, but, on the other hand, as a victory for modern civil society in the creation of “a space for confrontation between opposing communication paradigms” on a global plane.

1 comment:

  1. Tessa, I think the World Summit on the Information Society suffered from the same problem that affects a lot of UN events -- it was ultimately undermined by some of its most positive characteristics. It was inclusive (good) and unweildy (bad). It was bureaucratic in the sense of being large and focused and specialized (good) and it was bureaucratic in the sense of being inefficient and slightly uncoordinated (bad). It addressed a wide range of topics (good) but failed to reach consensus on specific aspects of governance (bad). For the record, if anybody's looking for a fabulous parody of UN inaction, I'd recommend this link from last week's Daily Show:

    Ultimately, I think civil society is subject to many of these same problems, but in the Raboy piece, at least, it seems as though there are a few more networking options available, perhaps because of its nongovernmental status.

    At the end of the day, existing technologies have dramatically opened up modes of communication for individuals and groups around the world, creating forums (fora?) for them to voice their opinions and magnifying their influence on shaping the "public sphere." I don't know that I'd go as far as to call the WSIS a failure, but I do agree with you and Raboy that modern civil society has an increasingly influential role in communicating and influencing the global agenda.