Communication Science 3international communication Media, Culture and GlobalisationIntroduction & OverviewLecture 1 Instructor: Mr.T.G. Mokgosi
What is international communication? • The term international communication means every aspect of communication involved in the flow of cultural products across national boundries- from direct satellite broadcasting to individual “reading” of cultural commodities from other countries.
International communication is defined as communication that occurs across international borders. • International communication is also defined as the transmission or transfer of media products (or the media system itself) across national borders.
International communication refers to a more socio-political and economic analysis of communication across national boundaries. • International communication refers to the global dimension across the globe, between nations for the expansion of national (imperial) and corporate (business) power.
Global mass communication Global mass communication is a multifaceted phenomenon that takes a variety of forms. According to McQuail (2000; p.220) these include: • Direct transmission or distribution of media channels or complete publications from one country to audiences in other countries. • Certain international media, such as MTV Europe, CNN International, BBC Word etc
Content items such as (films, music, TV programmes, journalism items) that are imported to make up part of domestic media output • Formats and genres of foreign origin that are adapted or remade to suit domestic audience
International news: items whether about a foreign country or made in a foreign country, that appear in domestic media • Miscellaneous content such as sporting events, advertising and pictures that have a foreign reference or origin.
The Historical Context of International CommunicationReading: Thussu, Chapter 1
Politics, Communication and Power • There are important connections between media, communication and power both in terms of means of communication (Information and Communication Technology) and the content of the information communicated.
The nexus of economic, military and political power has always depended on efficient systems of communication. (D. KissanThussu). • In short, control over communication systems allows such powers to control key messages (for propaganda purposes) and to influence socio-economic development.
i) Communication and Empires • Communication has always been critical to the establishment and maintenance of power over distance. • Form the Persian; Greek and roman empires to the British, sufficient network of communication were essential for the imposition of imperial authority, as well as for the international trade and commerce on which they were based.
Indeed, the extant of the efficiency of communication. • Communications networks and technologies were key to the mechanics of distributed government, military campaigns and trade.
Greater need for international communication • The growth of international trade and investment required a constant source of reliable data about international trade and economic affairs, while the British Empire required a steady supply of information essential for maintaining political alliances and military security.
ii) The Telegraph and 19th c. Imperial Communication • The bottom line is that control of telegraph cables was crucial to maintaining an empire thus, political and economic success
3) International News Agencies • The newspaper industry played an important role in the development of international communication and increases the demand of news. • The establishment of the news agencies was the most important development in the newspaper industry of the nineteenth century altering the process of news dissemination, nationally and internationally.
Commercial newspapers were early adopters of the telegraph. International news agencies were established soon thereafter • 1835 Havas—French, • 1849 Wollf—German • 1851 Reuters—English • All were international, all were subsidized by their domestic government, all services privately owned newspapers
Their effect was to control international information markets • What is important about the formation of international news agencies is that it links content to control over ICTs (telegraph cables) and control over the information circulating through that network, important both for the formation of public opinion, but as importantly for financial markets
1) Propaganda, the Cold War and International Communication • The second world war saw an explosion in international broadcasting as propaganda tool on both sides (communist and capitalist) • Propaganda was also a key battle ground during the Cold War • Radio Moscow vs. the Voice of America/Radio Free Europe
In 1951 the US established a “Psychological Strategy Board’ to advise the US president on the most effective forms of “international anticommunist propaganda”. • Radio Free Europe was set up under its auspices as a part of a broader strategy of psychological warfare in Europe funded by the CIA
The key point here is that there was a clear connection made between the power over communication systems and the ability to alter public opinion and thinking. • From US side, the goal was simple: win the ‘war’ in favour of capitalism, the ‘free market’ and consumerism. • The key battle grounds were the developing world in Asia and Africa and Eastern Europe (Third World).
2) New World Information/Communication Order (NWICO) • Going into the final battle in forming international communication as we know it today, there was one last stand between competing visions of how it might be structured. • The developing word—made up largely of former colonies—had a broad list of demands, including:
An end to the one-way flow of information—from North to South • An end to information ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ • A shift from horizontal flows of information (from the top down, from north to south, etc) to vertical flows • An end to information as commodity subject to market logic • An end to the international information and communication system helping to reproduce international inequality
Media and Development The Mass Media were seen as an important vehiclefor socio-economic development not as a commercial means to ‘entertain’ and sell products
The Mac Bride Commission • The international communication for the study of the communication problems that was established under the chairmanship of Sean Mac Bride by UNESCO occupies a prominent place in the debate regarding the establishment of a NWICO.
The commission report, commonly known as the Mac Bride report, gave intellectual justification for evolving a new global. • The commission was established to study for main aspects of global communication:
The current state of world communication; • The problems surrounding a free and balanced flow of information; • How the needs of the developing countries link with the flow; • How in light of the NIEO, a NWICO could be created, and how the media could become the vehicle for educating opinion about world problems.
The MacBride Report Report Summary: A democratic communication system is fundamental to both a more democratic social order and human rights.
the MacBride Commission’s Key recommendations • Developing countries needed greater access to information and less dependence on existing communication systems • Democratic communication policies should be a priority for all developing countries • Educational and informational use of communication should be given equal priority with entertainment
Communication systems (i.e. print, broadcasting, and telecommunications) must be developed on a national level • Funding, for such development, can come in part from international initiative • The focus should be less on profits and more on maximizing the free flow of information
Telecommunications should remain under state control to ensure the focus is on the free flow of information, not corporate profits • Finally, both the electro-magnetic spectrum and geostationary orbit—both finite natural resources—should be more equitably shared as the common property of humanity
One specific recommendations was the need to foster non-corporate and non-state media (opening media access to) i) radical opposition in politics ii) community media iii) trade unions • The idea was to establish a countervailing force to the dominant forms of corporate media to make media systems more democratic
Called for a number of Communication Rights and Freedoms • Rights to communicate and receive information-related political, economic, social and cultural rights • Freedoms of the press (from state and corporate control) of expression
Theorizing International Communication Reading: Thussu, Chapter 2 International communication has borrowed and/or adapted theories and paradigms from (sub)disciplines such as international relations and media studies and applies these to discourses related to global communication (Madikiza & Bornman: 2007 pp.11–44)
Two broad but often interrelated approaches to theorizing communication can be seen: The Political-Economy Approach: concerned with the underlying structures of economic and political power relations (roots in the critique of capitalism (Marx), but it evolved over the years to incorporate a wide range of critical thinkers – question of relationship between economic, political and cultural power – examination of the pattern of ownership and production in the media and communication industries)
Cultural Studies: focused more on the role of communication and media in creating and maintaining shared values and meanings (started in Britain in the 1970s with the study of popular and mass culture and their role in the reproduction of social hegemony and inequality – now more concerned with how media texts work to create meaning, and how culturally situated individuals work to gather meaning from texts – discovery of polysemic texts).
Similarities between POLITICAL ECONOMY APPROCH & CULTURAL STUDIES APPROCH • Both seek to identify & critique dominant interests in the media and cultural spheres • Both focuses on power distribution between the working class and the bourgeoisie
1. Free flow of information • The free-flow principle reflected Western (specifically US) opposition to the state regulation and censorship of the media by its communist opponents and its use for propaganda. • The ‘free flow’ doctrine was essentially a part of the liberal, free-market discourse that championed the rights of media proprietors to sell wherever and whatever they wished.
The concept of ‘free flow’ served both economic and political purposes – media organisations of the media-rich countries hoped to dissuade others from erecting trade barriers to their products or from making it difficult to gather news or make programmes on their territories (arguments drew on premises of democracy, freedom of expression, the media’s role as ‘public watchdog’ and their assumed global relevance.
For the businessmen, ‘free flow’ assisted them in advertising and marketing their goods and services in foreign markets, through media vehicles whose information and entertainment products championed the Western way of life and its values of capitalism and individualism.
For Western governments, ‘free flow’ helped to ensure the continuing and unreciprocated influence of Western media on global markets, strengthening the West in its ideological battle with the Soviet Union.
2. Modernisation theory • complementary to the doctrine of ‘free-flow of information in international communication was the key to the process of modernization and development for the so-called ‘Third World’.
The theory arose from the notion that international mass communication could be used to spread the message of modernity and transfer the economic and political models of the West to the newly independent countries of the South. • Modernisation/ development theory is based on the belief that the mass media would help transform traditional societies.
Lerner ()examined the degree to which people in the Middle East were exposed to national and international media, especially radio. – proposed that contact with the media helped the process of transition from a ‘traditional’ to a ‘modernized’ state, as the media is said to enable individuals to experience events in far-off places, forcing them to reassess their traditional way of life.
Schramm (key modernization theorist): saw the mass media as a ‘bridge to a wider world’, as the vehicle for transferring new ideas and models from the North to the South, and, within the South, from urban to rural areas.
3. Dependency theory • aimed to provide an alternative framework to analyse international communication • central was the view that transnational corporations (TNCs) exercise control over the developing countries by setting the terms for global trade – dominating markets, resources, production and labour.
Development for these countries was shaped in a way to strengthen the dominance of the developed nations and to maintain the ‘peripheral’ nations in a position of dependence – to make conditions suitable for ‘dependent development’ • Outcome of such relationships: ‘the development of underdevelopment’
The dependency theorists aimed to show the links between discourse of ‘modernisation’ and the policies of transnational media and communication corporations and their backers among Western governments.
4.Media and Cultural imperialism • Oliver Boyd-Barret defined media Imperialism- is defined as “the process whereby the ownership, structure, distribution of content of the media in any one country are singly or together subject to substantial external pressures from the media interests of any other country or countries without proportionate reciprocation of influence by the country so affected (1977: 117)
The absence of reciprocation of media influence by the affected country combines both the elements of cultural invasion by another power and element of imbalance of power resources between the countries concerned. • The two element of invasion and imbalance of power resources justify the use of the term ‘imperialism’.
McQuail notes that the term implies a deliberate attempt to dominate, invade or subvert the ‘cultural space’ of others and suggest a degree of coercion in the relationship. • The ‘invading’ nation’s cultural and other values are imposed on the audiences of the ‘invaded’ nation.