Monday, August 31, 2009

Behind the Press

After reading these three articles, which all touched upon the significance and origins of communication mediums, I noticed several interesting points. First, I was unaware of the extent to which communication was used, by both the United States and foreign nations, as a tool to manipulate the opinions and actions of developing nations. Radio became a medium less of mediation, and rather of provocation, as witnessed through Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, and Radio Free Asia. I found that the United States exploited this form of communication in order to spread Westernization and democracy. Whether this was an unfair or an ingenious tactic, it remains an imposition on other cultures.

Even today, we continue to witness communication as a tool through which government officials market their opinions, often leading to the suppression of opposing views. In Italy, for example, the popular television stations RAI I, II, and III are controlled by the Italian government, and specifically by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Since these broadcasting stations are controlled by the government, the information broadcasted generally casts a favorable light on the government and Italy, while disregarding facts that may hinder the Italian reputation. For example, RAI almost completely neglected broadcasting the Berlusconi sex scandal, as it would have harmed the Italian government.

Secondly, after reading these articles I reflected on the importance of the printing press. It continues to be a driving facilitator of news in the 21st century, and repeatedly encourages increased literacy rates. When I was living in Kenya, magazines were the most widespread sources of news among my peers. As televisions are often more costly than newspapers, Kenyans were encouraged to read and practice both Kiswahili and English, while obtaining news. However, I would argue that the ability to communicate through television is a powerful tool, which influences both economic and political power. Thus, the lack of infrastructure to support more advanced mediums of communication in developing countries becomes a disservice to these countries, as they cannot express their cultural traditions through this vehicle. The absence of communication in Kenya may reflect older, feudal systems in which the majority of the African population was kept uninformed and ignorant. An uninformed population often reduced peasant uprising, and made the population easier to control. Thus, the lack of communication networks in many developing countries could have subtle undertones of intentional suppression.

Lastly, after contemplating the legitimacy of communication systems, I wonder how much of the truth I am actually receiving from communication networks?


  1. well, to answer your last question: you're probably receiving A PART of someONE's truth. the best solution can be trying to reach out to as many various info sources as possible - without any prejudice (which, in itself if almost impossible, and yet one may TRY) - and then trying to make out what's really going on... or least, make out one's own VERSION of it all. and yes, though time consuming, it's worth it, if you really care... :)

  2. that is what i think Lena. this is what i commented on the other blog. its hard, if not impossible to get completely objective sources.

  3. "Thus, the lack of infrastructure to support more advanced mediums of communication in developing countries becomes a disservice to these countries, as they cannot express their cultural traditions through this vehicle."

    Is it really a disservice? Yes TV has allowed a different way of demonstrating and propagating culture, but has it really expressed our/my (American) culture? When I watch TV, there is so much junk... I understand that the point is these countries are being left out - yet in the strictly cultural sense, I don't know if TV production fundamentally makes any sort of difference. Is cultural expression hindered by the lack of it?
    I suppose that wanders into territory of how then exterior cultures end up monopolizing TV production - but if there were no TVs, would that really be considered a tragedy? I'm not sure I agree...