Saturday, October 10, 2009

Analysis Question #2: Global Governance Concerns of the Global Media System

It is clear that how the current world order is perceived varies from theorist to theorist. Some theorists differ by degree while others can be perceived more radically dynamic. Manuel Castells in his article “The New Public Sphere” postulates, “the decreased ability of nationally based political systems to manage the world’s problems on a global scale has induced the rise of the global civil society”. He also argues that we live in a network society in which there is a ‘space of flows’- flows of capital, communication, technology, and media. Daya Thussu argues, in his chapter “Creating a Global Communication Structure”, that there is a clear global shift away from state regulation to market driven policies within the ‘liberalized global communication regime” and transnational corporations are the beneficiaries of this change. Robert McChesney holds that this globalization- deregulation and privatization-of the ‘global media system’ has dangerous international political consequences. While his pessimism about social change is intense, it sheds light on an extremist view of the direction of the world’s economy and civil society.

Given the current international economic crisis, the link between the media and the economy is becoming stronger within the ‘global civil society’, especially as new ICTs are emerging. It is for that reason that nation-states should actively be thinking about revising the global governance of media systems. There needs to be more action for the concern of the vast disparities between in the rich and the poor internationally, and even within regions, nations, and localities. Just as nothing stays the same, global governance should be revised to meet the needs of the citizens of the world. This means that nation-states should be coming to the table with an understanding of what revisions can best improve the quality and content of the media for its citizens. Through the process of glocalization, there is a false sense of what is local news. Furthermore, the increased acceptance of the ‘global civil society’ as an international actor is vital to the revisions of global governance. So much of the global media system is dominated by conglomerate TNCs. It’s for this reason that if a space is not created for the ‘global civil society’ within global governance, it will be ignored in the shadow of the large TNCs dominating the media today.

The global media system is a deregulated and, as such, Castells eludes that there is a growth in global propaganda. I believe that there should be better awareness of the origin of the media and the ideological perspectives being offered from each media source. Education levels complicate this notion internationally, but because so much of the media is dominated by TNCs, increased awareness of ownership of the media is important. It is certainly better to be holistically informed of differing viewpoints than it is to be completely ignorant of them. The West, and its respective TNCs, is guilty of not allowing ‘contraflows’ and a ‘plurality of voices’ has discussed by Cottle and Rai. The global media playing field needs to be leveled and slowly different organizations and companies are attempting to bridge the digital divide. Unfortunately, this process will not be as fast as the global climate demands, but at least it’s happening. I would propose that once there is an equal flow of media coming in and going out of, then maybe there will be better understanding and cooperation internationally.

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