Monday, September 28, 2009

International media: Monopolies and

The liberalization and privatization of communication products and services has had a global impact. Everything from the seventh round of GATT talks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN) has played a role in facilitating and creating this global telecommunications system that is known today. In the U.S., the 1996 Telecommunications Act was a major contributer as well.

I want to touch on the monopolistic world known as international media. Global communications has grown tremendously; the satellite industry has benefited the most because a cheaper, faster way to communicate. As comes with the territory of "dominance"there
are a few major satellite companies that "run the globe", so to speak. The Hughes Network Systems is a major supplier of defence services for the U.S. Lockheed Martin is the largest defence contractor in the U.S. Loral & Space Communications, who owns licenses for the orbital slots of Europe, Latin America, and Asia, is another major player in the satellite communication business. These companies provide highly intelligent communications and surveillance equipment, and the positive is that this field will continue to expand as long as human beings' ideas and thoughts do the same. Unfortunately, depending on which end of the stick, these corporations do not allow much room for newcomers due to mergers, acquistions, and regional alliances.

The case study about Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation is a great example! Murdoch's News Corp. has a wide span and reaches millions of people worldwide via newspaper, books, television, and internet. Sounds like great business and a harmless situation..right? Murdoch's News Corp reaches almost 500 billion people throughout the course of a day. The problem that I and many may have with Murdoch's "harmless business" is that some form of regulation needs to occur because the media have a major effect on its audience by telling them what to think about, according to the agenda setting theory of McCombs and Shaw. The media via television also plays a major role in constructing individual's ideas and values, which eventually contribute and mold their cultures. I am not against great business ideas and ventures. (May the best man win!). However, I do agree with the author of chapter one from Global Governance: A Beginner's Guide, corporate media moguls do have a responsibility to ensure the public that their only intent is to provide undistorted, truthful (yes, I know we are human) yet diverse information. With all that being said, it is very hard to regulate media, as explained early in the same chapter; secondly, the definition of governance is "invented" on an international level, according to Raboy on page 64. No one quite has the answer as to how to effectively and fairly reuglate media, but many scholars and researchers alike agree that something must be done. Media is ever-evolving, and media convergence is the future! Therefore, Raboy sums it up best, "...civil society has already moved towards a new paradigm...[what is important is] developing a communication society, reviewing structures of power and domination that are expressed and sustained through information and media structures.

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