Monday, September 28, 2009

Why can't we all just get along?

In this week's readings on Global Governance and Infrastructure, I noticed a central theme of inclusion of different media players and the resulting efforts taken to regulate them all. The NWICO brought to light the exclusion of developing countries as media players and highlighted their sole role as recipient. Since then, efforts have been taken to include more parties outside of major governments in the discussion and implementation of media and communication efforts in attempts to gain a balanced perspective.

The idea of inclusion has resulted in the creation of the United Nations, liberation of the telecom sector, privatization of the satellite industry and more participation by civil service organizations in policy making. Of course, this has all been accomplished with varying degrees of success in equality since large governments and TNC's still control major portions in these areas.

However, the movement towards inclusion of different parties in information and communications brings up an important discussion about how to regulate them and their differing views. In Raboy's first footnote at the end of his article, he uses the UNDP's definition of civil society organizations: 'individuals and groups, organized or unorganized, who interact in the social, political and economic domains and who are regulated by formal and informal rules and law.' Well, who does that exclude? It's a pretty all-encompassing description. How do you regulate and control such a large diverse mass equitably?

An interesting Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post by Michael Gerson, discussed the Internet and how it has become an outlet for racism and hatred that is difficult to regulate because of the First Amendment. ("Banish the Cyber-Bigots" - This is a prime example of Siochru and Girard's ideas of social regulation and the difficulties in establishing a black & white policy on a grey topic.

A simultaneous pro and con of the growing communications industry is that it is putting more and more people in direct contact with each other. With so many diverse players interacting in this evolving landscape, determining how to regulate these interactions will be a critical discussion moving forward.

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