Sunday, September 27, 2009

Media, Regulation, and Culture: A Synthesis

This week’s readings emphasized several aspects of global media that I had yet to consider. After numerous consecutive weeks of reading, I continued to wonder whether media helps to perpetuate or dilute a culture. But, as Siochru and Girard suggest, media may actually create cultures by deciding which aspects to broadcast and emphasize. This suggestion highlights the importance that media has on perpetuating cultures, and, as Raboy argues, the fundamental role that civilians can play in shaping media. This idea also underlines the need for media regulation.

However, the regulation of media should be implemented by a global sphere, or CSOs, rather than through government bodies. In this way, national biases are more avoidable and media becomes more ground for truth. These articles revealed the benefits of the media in salvaging cultures, but failed to truly acknowledge the destruction that media can cause. For example, instances of over-zealous, anti-Western information and images are familiar on Al-Jazeera; the articles failed to recognize that media becomes a vehicle through which terrorism can grow.

Though the debate over media regulation persists, I agree with Siochru and Girard’s argument that “free media” is unfathomable, as there are always barriers to entry that restrict viewing for certain socio-economic classes. However, the authors’ suggestion that media needs to permeate the rural villages and low economic classes is crucial, as the members of these spheres, with little or no access to televisions, radios, or newspapers, are often not considered in the media representation of their culture.

On a separate topic, Raboy’s article mentioned the role of the United States in governing global media. He specifically mentions the United States’ control of media in Latin America. His critiques, along with Kofi Annan’s speech in support of decentralizing America’s role, urge me to wonder: does the United States’ control of Latin American media negatively influence its ability to develop? And, if culture is created by the media, have we, thus, reduced their culture by regulating their media?

1 comment:

  1. If we stick to the idea that culture is created by the media, then yes American dominance of Latino media will reduce their culture by modifying their perception of the American culture. For instance, Latinos may be more apt to replicate desireable behaviors that are unacceptable in Latino culture, simply because they have absorbed large amounts of American culture via television. However, all effects should be considered on a personal level. American dominance of television will not have the same effect on everyone, but over time some form of assimilation will occur.

    In terms of regulation as we read in this week's readings, the word itself and the enforcement thereof is up for debate. When American ideals, principals, and politics are expressed excessively, then their culture is being reduced because they do not have access to other opinions because the U.S. dominates Latino television.