Monday, September 7, 2009

The Truth Within Structural Imperialism

Thussu's article makes it clear that the past century has presented International Communication scholars with a multitude of challenges regarding the transmission of information on a global level.  While modernization and dependency theories are descriptive in helping communicate the deficiencies of the communication systems involving the so-called third world, Johan Galtung's theory seems to have particular merit in conveying the true nature of the West's dominance in the international communication arena.  The relationship between core countries and the periphery countries is intuitively described, overwhelmingly evident in our media communication, and can be seen clearly when traveling within developing countries and observing the extensive reach of western media firsthand.  

Galtung's formulaic explanation of imperialism is only strengthened by his example of feudal interaction.  Given an assumption that communication between developing countries would be beneficial in helping each other's growth, feudal interaction is detrimental to every country involved except that of the imperialist.  If Zambia and Zimbabwe are both on the periphery and both dealing with AIDS related problems across the country, perhaps further intentional communication would be helpful instead of both states acting as "spokes" within Galtung's structural imperialism model and hearing their similar issues with a western slant.  Speaking strictly to the communication pillar of his imperialism model, the information flow within both periphery countries would benefit from being produced by local agencies instead of transnational media outlets in order to bring the news to a personal level which would, perhaps, compel action and further communication across periphery states.

Overall, the "agenda-setting" function of international media is detrimental to the development of so-called third world countries and true improvement is only possible by self-monitoring the information flow to these periphery nations.  The NWICO debate served as a beginning realization of a need to alter international communication policy and I look forward to learning more about the recent developments and seeing how international media fits within the realm of Galtung's structural imperialism in the coming years.

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