The debate in International Communications research has been driven by political-economy concerns stemming from government control and goals of international media & technology. The result of these government actions has historically favored larger economies with greater levels of communication control over smaller economies. Political-economy concerns are still valid as there remains a very unbalanced level of control of communications between countries around the world.
The theories that Thussu highlights including dependency, modernization, globalization & hegemony all have their basis in the idea of uneven control models that are still relevant now. Innis’ monopolies of power become a more pressing issue as markets spread around the world allowing monopolies to stretch outside of national borders. All of these theories maintain relevance as communications become more globally integrated and connected.
However, I think that new areas are emerging that researchers and policy-makers should pay attention to as well. One area is the power of corporations and consumerism. What is the impact of global marketing and advertising? How is this form of communication affecting different countries? Transnational corporations are taking more control over media outlets so that they can access larger markets of consumers. Their huge bank accounts and lobbying power allow them influence on government policy as well. In the past, the goal of controlling media was government’s national interest in economic or political gain. Now there is an additional goal of huge corporate profits and increased consumerism.
The political-economy concerns over control of communications continues but as power shifts from government policy to corporate influence, research needs to focus on the changing priorities & goals and the international impact.