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Negotiating Democracy

Media Transformations in Emerging Democracies

Edited by

Isaac A. Blankson Patrick D. Murphy

Negotiating Democracy

SUNY series in Global Media Studies

Yahya R. Kamalipour and Kuldip R. Rampal, editors


Media Transformations in Emerging Democracies



Published by State University of New York Press, Albany 2007 State University of New York All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. No part of this book may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the publisher. For information, contact State University of New York Press, Albany, NY Production by Christine L. Hamel Marketing by Fran Keneston Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Negotiating democracy : media tranformations in emerging democracies / edited by Isaac A. Blankson, Patrick D. Murphy. p. cm. (SUNY series in global media studies) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-7914-7233-0 (alk. paper) 1. Mass mediaSocial aspectsCase studies. 2. Mass mediaPolitical aspects Case studies. 3. DemocracyCase studies. I. Blankson, Isaac A. II. Murphy, Patrick D. HM1206.N44 2007 302.2309172'4dc22 2006100228 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


List of Figures List of Tables Acknowledgments Introduction: Media and Democracy in the Age of Globalization Patrick D. Murphy

vii ix xi 1


1 Media Independence and Pluralism in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges of Democratization and Liberalization Isaac A. Blankson 2 Vestiges of Authoritarianism: Monopoly Broadcasting in Central America Rick Rockwell 3 Emerging Media Transformations in the New Europe: Past and Future Challenges Noemi Marin and Laura Lengel







4 An Awakening in Cambodia: From Failed State to a Media-Rich Society Drew O. McDaniel 5 First Democracy in Chinese History: Medias Role in the Democratization of Taiwan Kuldip R. Rampal 6 Nigeria: Equivocating while Opening the Broadcast Liberalization Gates Chuka Onwumechili 7 Media, the State, and the Prodemocracy Movement in Iran Mehdi Semati 8 Transformations and Development of the Korean Broadcasting Media Doobo Shim and Dal Yong Jin



123 143


9 Reality Television, Politics, and Democratization in the Arab World Marwan M. Kraidy 10 Democracy Sponsored by NAFTA? Mexican Television in the Free Trade Era Kenton T. Wilkinson 11 First Green Is Always Gold: An Examination of the First Private National Channel in Bulgaria Elza Ibroscheva and Maria Raicheva-Stover 12 Globalization and the Privatization of Radio in Greece: Influences, Issues and Consequences Judy Rene Sims Notes on the Editors and Contributors Index




239 259 265



Mass-mediated and Back-Channel Communication among Key Interests and the Public Anti-Televisa Poster, Mid-1990s

201 204 229


11.1. Proposed Programming Distribution for bTV 11.2. Volume of Advertising Revenue for bTV, Kanal 1, and Nova TV for May 2001 through 2005



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6.1 10.1 11.1

Distribution of Licensed Broadcasting Stations in Nigeria Mexicans Media Use for Political Information, Mid-1990s Audience Shares for the Basic TV Channels in Bulgarian for March 2000 Weekday Market Share in Percentages for the Period 20012005 Ratings for the Evening News for Kanal 1, bTV, and Nova TV for the Period JanuaryMarch, 2002

131 203







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We have benefited from the encouragement and support of many colleagues, friends, and family members in completing this book. We would like to offer our deepest gratitude to the contributing authors of this book for their hard work and commitment to the project. We would also like to express our thanks to Yahya Kamalipour and Marwan Kraidy for their assistance and constructive criticism, to Donna Bardon for her professional copyediting of several chapters, and to the staffs of the Department of Speech Communication and the Department of Mass Communications at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for their support. At the State University of New York Press, we would like to offer our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Lisa Chesnel for her careful treatment of the project through its various production stages. Finally, we are very thankful for and appreciative of the uncompromising love and support of our respective families.


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Media and Democracy in the Age of Globalization


Agents of participatory democracy or purveyors of consumer capitalism? Guardians of the public sphere or lap dogs of the power elite? Much of the debate about medias role in the democratization of various societies around the world demands an examination of the implications of such questions. For starters we might consider if mass media engender, as Marshall McLuhan once envisioned, a global village where democracy is encouraged along with universal understanding and the cultivation of a cosmic consciousness. Or is media transformation within new democracies nothing more than a tool of global economic powers to colonize previously untapped social domains via information, entertainment, and new technology? While perhaps seeming to be artificially oppositional in the face of todays complex political and cultural landscapes across the globe, these questions are nevertheless useful points of departure in that they suggest how media might serve to alter, enable, or disrupt the cultural sovereignty of nations and political potency of communities. Indeed, variations of these themes have been at the heart of controversies regarding the scope and legitimacy of regional trade agreements (Galperin, 1999a, 1999b), and within them resides the core issue of in whose interest and benefit are media and new communication technologies being used to reshape nations and democratize the flow of information and capital. In short, what kind of democratic reform is taking place, and how are media involved?


Negotiating Democracy: Media Transformations in Emerging Democracies is an attempt to register and make sense of these questions by looking specifically at the relationship between media and democracy within the broader phenomena of globalization. The book takes as its focus the place of mass media in the political and cultural life of nations negotiating democratization while simultaneously contending with economic liberalization and privatization, the changing role of the state, and the reformation of civil society. In doing so, the collection addresses issues that have defined the challenges and consequences of media transformation faced by new and emerging democracies. These issues include the dismantling of national broadcasting systems, the promotion of private independent and pluralistic media, the clash between liberal democratic and authoritarian political traditions, the proliferation of commercial media channels and programming, the development of new opportunities for civic engagement, the socioeconomic impact of transnational broadcast partnerships and linkages, negotiations about the appropriate broadcast language, the potential for a free press and for freedom of speech, new roles for entertainment media, and the development of new legal and administrative frameworks for broadcasting. While partial, this list nevertheless identifies challenges and tensions that have become consistent enough in a diversity of nascent democracies to suggest core areas for investigation and analysis. Moreover, these points are important because of their intimate connection to the evolving political profile of a given nation-state. Indeed, it is through the media that public discourse about the scope and nature of democracy is circulated, evenor perhaps, especiallyin fledgling democracies. Peruvian communication theorist Rosa Maria Alfaro (2006) asserts that
today the media constitute a crucial source of civic education and legitimization of democratic power. Political elites legitimize themselves or join dissident discourses through their interactions with newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Notions of political authority, political values and general understanding of a nations political institutions are consolidated through the daily programmes of the mass media and particularly via news. The national and international agenda emerge from daily mass media processes of production and consumption. Both the concept and feeling of nation and of the world are also articulated in the production and consumption of media. (p. 303)

It is in this context, therefore, that [q]uestions of media access, diversity, ownership and content regulation define the type and quality of public sphere at work within a nation or region, because the media have become the key scarce resource in the struggle over publicness in contemporary political systems (Galperin, 1999a, p. 629). Additionally, as Hallin and Papathanas-


sopoulos (2002) remind us, the path to democracy is a slow and uneven process tied to historical patterns. It is not simply a matter of lifting censorship and holding competitive elections, but involves the transformation of many political institutionsincluding the mass mediaand of the relationships among political, social and economic institutions (p. 184).


To understand the interrelationships among these dynamics, it is therefore crucial to put them into a broader historical framework by making note that the cultural and economic factors that demark what is now commonly termed globalization (King, 2000; Tomlinson, 1999), and that are informing the unfolding of democratization in various regions, are intimately tied to past waves of transnational and transcultural exchanges and confrontations. Colonialism, for instance, not only involved the physical occupation of the territory of non-Western nations and the extraction of their resources but was also a period of intense cultural syncretism. In fact, one of the most important lessons learned from the colonial period that foreshadowed current processes of cultural hybridization unfolding today was the role that symbolic factors played in social change (Kraidy, 2005). That is, even though colonization was based on control of structural and material relationships and secured through military, economic, and political forces, it took root and made sense (or at least, was made sense of ) through culture and language. That is why even today understanding the colonial ties that many developing countries have is important as it not only tells us about a given nations past, and elements of its deep structure, but also helps us construct a fuller appreciation for how democracy is being elaborated and in relation to what sorts of cultural ingredients (e.g., religion, ethnic minorities, immigration patterns, linguistic groups). The commitment to understanding media and democracy through geopolitical histories also applies for an appreciation for how cold war politics attempted to operationalize modernization in the Third World beyond military and economic power. This agenda centered squarely on the transmission of ideas and technology transfer (Sussman, 2003). Within the push for modernization, communication was perceived of as having a central role in cultivating progress in the Third World (Lerner, 1958; Schramm, 1964), and in fact the UN proclaimed the 1960s as the Decade of Development. Everett Rogerss (1962, 1969) theory of diffusion of innovations, in particular, emerged as a road map for the application of media use that was, by design, meant to engender modernization. Thus for much of the 60s and 70s, communication, progress, and modernization became a Third World leitmotif as both discourse and practice. Importantly, it was an agenda that dovetailed almost seamlessly with what might more broadly be seen as cold war politics


normalization of free world economicsan intervention which has been characterized as an invention of the US that still serves as the mantra of the new globalizing economy (Agnew, 2005, p. 120). But the faith in communication and technology to reshape nations and liberate traditional societies from their fatalism and backward practices was not received without criticism. Leading the charge were critical scholars, who argued that rather than serving as vehicles of progress and tools for overcoming underdevelopment, the newly established media systems were in fact agents of capitalist domination and dependency (Mattelart, 1972, 1977; Schiller, 1971/92; Wells, 1972). Indeed, Johan Galtung (1971) declared that his motivation for publishing his seminal Structural Theory of Imperialism was not only to identify the tremendous power imbalances between center and periphery nations, but more pressingly to offer a theory of liberation to counteract inequality as one of the major forms of structural violence (p. 81; emphasis in original). Importantly, through his theory Galtung stressed that while there was a disharmony of interests between center nations as a whole and periphery nations as a whole, by itself this assertion was highly misleading because it led to the belief that imperialism is merely an international relationship, not a combination of intra- and inter-national relation (p. 84). While developed more than thirty-five years ago, Galtungs emphasis on the combination of intra- and international forces as defining global relations deserves perhaps even more attention today from media scholars, as indigenous (national) cultural industries around the globe have become increasingly linked to and developed in relation to transnational media conglomerates. While the process is not uniform throughout the world, and indeed Galtungs conceptual elaboration of the notions of center and periphery have become increasingly problematic since the work was first published (in no small part, due to technological innovation), global patterns nevertheless indicate that it is unfolding in relation to foreign direct investment, horizontal and vertical integration, joint ventures, and other strategies benefiting from neoliberal reforms (Albarran & Chan-Olmstead, 1998; Galperin, 1999a, 1999b; Gershon, 1997, 2000, 2005; Herman & McChesney, 1997). In fact, it can be said that it is precisely through such collaborative agreements that media have facilitated the deepening of intra- and international relations over the past few decades (Artz, 2003). Specific initiatives that have been identified to promote global-local success by the media industries include language and content adaptations in film and television programming, working with local/country advertising firms, and the use of cable and satellite broadcasting to create regionalized economies of scale (Kraidy, 2002; Strover, Burkart, & Hernndez, 1999). Even unauthorized initiatives that erode the profit margins of corporate interests such as pirate reproduction extend those interests, ideological range, and influence. Needless to say, these initiatives and relationships do not foster the constitution of a transparently global global sphere, as the flow of media between


and among nations is usually asymmetrical. Rather the various strategies and relationships operate through an ongoing and flexible concentration of culture and capital, which interconnects the global with the local and the national. As Hall (2000) asserts, it is a global cultural sphere founded on a
form of capital which recognizes that it can, to use a metaphor, rule through other local capitals, rule alongside and in partnership with other economic and political elites. It does not attempt to obliterate them; it operates through them. It has to hold the whole framework of globalization in place and simultaneously police that system: it stage manages independence within it, so to speak. (pp. 2829)

It is through this embrace that we need to recognize not only the power and presence of global corporate hegemony, but also that nation-states still exercise substantial power and elicit identification in a multitude of ways. In other words, as Artz (2003) has argued, contrary to the claims that capitalist globalization has superseded the nation-state, in each case governments have promoted global capitalism and legalized activity within state boundaries (p. 4). Indeed, rather than disappearing, the nation-state has transmuted into a new sort of structural network, organized across different types of governance with respective institutions interacting at local, national, regional and supranational levels (Zuberi, 2005, p. 107). In the process, nation-states have become less concerned with public service and cultural activities, either abandoning them to the private sector or increasingly working alongside these market interests to modify cultural production and consumption (Zuberi, 2005, p. 107).


In terms of media and communication technologies, many of the structural networks and relationships of capital described above began to surface in different countries around the world in the 1980s, as nations changed their telecommunication structures and polices to eliminate trade barriers, promote competition, and create opportunities for economic development. Gershon (2005) notes that the common motivation for such regulatory and economic reforms was the perceived inefficiency of central planning and government-protected monopolies, which were characterized by poor financial performance, overstaffing and dependency on government subsidies, and poor export performance (p. 20). While exemptions and side agreements regarding the cultural industries abounded in regional trade agreements, marking the tensions between economic initiatives and cultural sovereignty (Galperin, 1999a, 1999b; McAnany & Wilkinson, 1996), the restructuring of


telecommunications markets nevertheless exploded in the 1990s. In fact, to nurture and guide this process, on January 1, 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) was created and tasked with enforcing international trade agreements and setting a global agenda for privatization and liberalization while removing protectionism. The creation of the WTO coincided with an unprecedented number of international mergers and acquisitions among transnational media corporations, which aggressively pursued the opportunities that privatization provided. These transnational developments have largely supported the national and regional dominance of some of the worlds most powerful second-tier media firms of newly industrialized nations, such as Brazils Globo, Mexicos Televisa, Argentinas Clarn and Venezuelas Cisneros GroupLatin American firms that have extensive ties and joint ventures with the largest media TNCs, as well as with Wall Street investment banks (McChesney, 1999, p. 12). The cultural and political power that these media groups weld and the economic integration they enjoy are firmly rooted in the laissez-faire agreements and clientelism established early on with the state in most Latin American countries (Fox, 1988, 1997; Hallin & Papathanassopoulos, 2002). Privately owned and commercially operated, it is perhaps not surprising then that the overriding media model that emerged has been generally supportive of the political parties in power (Fox & Waisbord, 2002). Thus when the state in most Latin American countries eventually sought ways to privatize public services and liberalize their economies, the commercial media were already in a prime position to take an even greater role in shaping the contours of the public sphere. Interestingly, throughout Latin America this dynamic has in large part coincided with an on-going era of democratization. But liberalization was undertaken to create opportunities for big business and relieve government of some of its burdens, not deepen democratic participation. In response to this new climate, media regimes have pursued business, not public service goals, thus extending a broadcasting history defined by a narrow ideological range of ideas, limited opposing voices, and constricted debate (Fox & Waisbord, 2002; Hernandez & McAnany, 2001). Other regional trends, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, parts of Asia, and even to some measure in the Middle East, bare witness to a transition into democratization that has emerged alongside the dismantling of national broadcasting systems and the reformation of the role of the press connected to authoritarian regimes, the promotion of private independent and pluralistic media, and/or the proliferation of new media channels. In sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, during the 1990s internal pressures to privatize mounted at the same time as the IMF and World Bank were applying external arm twisting for the region to liberalize its economies. These dual internal and external forces produced significant tensions in the political and cultural landscapes (Bourgault, 1995; Heath, 2001; Kasoma, 1997). Polit-


ically, the most significant result of these pressures has been a renewed belief in democracy, with a new media climate facilitating the transition. Culturally, a new wave of broadcast languages, cultural expressions, and processes of identification has emerged as an indicator of the power and presence of global culture in the lives of many Africans (Blankson, 2005). As a result, mass media have become one of the most pronounced areas of African society where democracy is being exercised and culture being reinterpreted, as they have served as avenues for public education and discourse on the tenets of democratization, the free market, and consumer culture. The examples briefly sketched out above only trace the outlines of media transformation and democratization in those regions, and the complexity of what is unfolding there and beyond far exceeds what is presented. Still, from a global perspective what they reveal is quite significant; which is to suggest that developing patterns of media ownership, trade practices, and the discourse of democratic promise are beginning to obfuscate the previously more salient markers of the disharmony of interests and global imbalances of media flow and representation (e.g., foreign versus national; north versus south, center and periphery; external versus internal hegemony), despite the distinctions that still exist between and within nations. That is, the media in various nations may look, sound, and feel national and/or regional, but they also privilege certain conceptions of public life that have historically had much more to do with the cultural ethos of the center than the periphery. Indeed, within the emergent mediascapes, what democracy should look like and how it should function is often packaged in terms of consumer choice and the freedom to choose. In other words, in many nations around the world, the contours of democracy are framed by the commercial media systems privileging of the accumulation of up-scale lifestyles and material goods, even in news productions ( Juluri, 2003; LaPastina, 2004; Martn-Barbero, 2006; Murphy, 2003). What is perhaps most troubling about this dynamic is that it links the commercial media structure and content to the formation of audiences assumptions about political practice, suggesting that the kinds of democracies evolving in various locations may be conflated with consumerism (Alfaro, 2006). In many newly industrialized and developing countries such patterns are now quite characteristic. This is due in no small part to the development of a global media market and related commercialization of national media systems, a transformation that provides an informational and ideological environment that helps sustain political, economic and moral basis for marketing goods and for having a profit-driven social order (Herman & McChesney, 1997, p. 10). Thus in the name of democracy, commercial media serve to cultivate the idea that market forces and small government rather than participatory democracy are the stewards of progress and guardians of public interest.



Even with the power and pervasiveness of TNCs, second-tier media firms, and newer emerging commercial media interests, to characterize the hopes and dreams tied to democratization as nothing more than a superficial echo of neoliberal ideology would be to fail to recognize that there also resides a more hopeful sense that transitions from state control to private ownership can foster an open and diverse flow of information and ideas. As such, the potential for media to stimulate democratic participation and engender the creation of civil society are responses worth searching for in any attempt to understand the regional and national negotiations of democratization and media transformation. Indeed, mass media have served remarkably well as a means to globalize the democratic exchange of ideas and issues capable of challenging authority and of fostering an atmosphere of optimism. And while the degree to which a civic discourse has found a way to take root varies, when it does arise it is often in conjunction with citizen-based media. As the efforts detailed by various authors have shown (Cleaver, 1998; Dagron, 2001; Downing, 2001, 2003; Poblete, 2006; Rodriguez, 2001; Santiago-Valles, 2003; Trejo Delarbre, 1994; Wilpert, 2004), the citizen-based media models that have been used to challenge the free market system and that have demanded more voice in the exercise of democracy have emerged largely in spite of the limited political spectrum provided by commercial media systems. These efforts have surfaced in conjunction with a growing grassroots model of radical populism and are performing the normative duties that the watchdog media of the corporate systems is supposed to: break silence, expose corruption and inequality, and demand political reform. Nevertheless, no matter how regionally specific, complex, or contradictory processes of democratization may appear to be, these processes and responses are predicated on global interrelationships that reflect certain economic philosophies, political discourses, and institutional frames. Thus, along with history, structure and ideology (e.g., free market fundamentalism versus democratic idealism) remain important areas for inquiry when we talk about media transformation and political practice in the age of globalization, even if that focus is on public ignorance and the unruly nature of the public sphere (Habermas, 2006), or on deliberate engagements, such as radical or counterhegemonic media activities. Additionally, the promises of democracy rest on the rights and responsibilities of each nations citizens. How these citizens respond to such an opportunity not only is a question of political organization but also has much to do with how they have been encouraged to think about and participate in democracy through the news and entertainment media citizens (Alfaro, 2006). Are media in this dynamic serving as agents of democracy or the free market? That is, are media the Trojan horse


that works to further concentrate capital and accentuate existing globalregional disharmony of interests? Or, are the intra- and international forces of globalization being presented, worked on, and enabled via mass media helping nations carve out a sovereign and productive (and indigenous?) vision of democracy? The chapters that follow in this collection provide a detailed and grounded exploration of these issues and how they have been experienced in specific locations.

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LaPastina, A. (2004). Selling political integrity: Telenovelas, intertextuality, and local electionsin rural Brazil. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 48(2), 302325. Lerner, D. (1958). The passing of traditional society: Modernizing the Middle East. New York: Free Press. Martin-Barbero, J. (2006, forthcoming). A Latin American perspective on communication/cultural mediation. Global Media and Communication, 2(3), 279298. Matterlart, A. (1972). Agresion desde el Espacio. Cultural y napalm en la era de los satelites. Chile: Ediciones Universitarias de Valparaiso. Matterlart, A. (1977). Multinacionales y sistemas de comunicacion. Los aparatos ideologicos del imperialismo. Mexico: Siglo XXI. McAnany, E. G., & Wilkinson, K. T. (Eds.). (1996). Mass media and free trade. Austin: University of Texas Press. McChesney, R. W. (1999, November 29). The new global media. The Nation, pp. 1115. Murphy, P. (2003). Chasing echoes: Cultural reconversion, self-representations and mediascapes in Mexico. In P. Murphy & M. Kraidy, (Eds.), Global media studies: Ethnographic perspectives (pp. 257275). London: Routledge. Poblete, J. (2006). Culture, neoliberalism and citizen communication: The case of Radio Tierra in Chile. Global Media and Communication, 2(3), 315334. Rodriguez, C. (2001). Fissures in the mediascape. Cresskill, NY: Hampton Press. Rogers, E. (1962). Diffusion of innovation. New York: Free Press of Glencoe. Rogers, E. (1969). Modernization among peasants. New York: Holt & Reinhart. Santiago-Valles, W. F. (2003). Responses to media globalization in Caribbean popular cultures. In L. Artz & Y. R. Kamalipour (Eds.), The globalization of corporate media hegemony (pp. 265281). Albany: State University of New York Press. Schiller, H. (1971/1992). Mass communication and American empire. Boulder: Westview. Schramm, W. (1964). Mass media and national development: The role of information in developing countries. Stanford, CA: Standford University Press. Strover, S., Burkart, P., & Hernandez, O. (1999, June). Transnationalism in spaces and places: Global media industries in Latin America. Paper presented at the NAFTA/Mercosur Conference, University of Texas, Austin. Sussman, G. (2003). Informational technology and transnational networks. In L. Artz & Y. R. Kamalipour (Eds.), The globalization of corporate media hegemony (pp. 3353). Albany: State University of New York Press. Tomlinson, J. (1999). Globalization and culture. Cambridge: Polity. Trejo Delarbre, R. (1994). Chiapas: La comunicacin enmascarada. Mexico: Diana. Wells, A. (1972). Picture-tube imperialism? The impact of U.S. television on Latin America. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. Wilpert, G. (2004). Community airwaves in Venezuela. NACLA Report on the Americas, 37(4), 3435. Zuberi, N. (2005). Mixed blessings: Globalization and culture as hybrid discourses. Global Media and Communciation, 1(1), 105120.

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Regional Trends in Media and Democracy

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Media Independence and Pluralism in Africa

Opportunities and Challenges of Democratization and Liberalization


INTRODUCT ION FRICAS TRANSITION INTO democratization and the global free market economy in the 1990s emerged alongside the transformation of national broadcasting systems connected to authoritarian regimes, the promotion of independent and plural media, and the proliferation of new media channels (Bourgault, 1995). A confluence of internal and external factors produced a revival of democratic optimism across the African continent that spawned visible changes in the electronic media. The character and role of the media began to be transformed from state monopoly to an open, independent, and plural media. Prior to the 1990s, the electronic media in Africa were firmly in the grips of their respective states. The last decade, however, has seen the emergence and growth of independent media, particularly radio (Fardon & Furniss, 2000; Panos Institute, 1993; Panos & CREDILA, 1996; Sandbrook, 1996). For instance, the independent media in Francophone Africa started only in the 1990s, 30 years after the various states won independence (Kasoma, 1997). Apart from Angola, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe, which continue



to refuse open access to the airwaves by private broadcasters, the majority of African countries allow the operation of independent media, especially commercial radio (Crawford, 2004). Mali, for example, has over 30 radio stations owned by individuals and groups. Since 1993, the Ghana government has allowed over 50 private radio stations and 5 television stations to operate alongside the state-owned media; although most of the stations are based in metropolitan cities (Blankson, 2000, 2005). The evolving character and role of Africas media are critical to the development of democracy and civil society on the continent. For the first time in the continents history, independent and plural media have emerged at the center of the democratic process and developed the potential to strengthen civil society institutions in Africa. This chapter discusses how Africas entry into the democratic and free market sphere is transforming its media landscape. It investigates the emergence and growth of independent plural media and the collective role they have assumed in their respective societies since the 1990s. The chapter ends with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges facing the emerging media as African states struggle to balance the need for true democratic and liberal polity with media freedom and independence.


Africas media has historically mirrored the level of political and democratic maturity on the continent. It has also been affected by the maturity of that democracy. With regard to media-state relationships, the media traditionally was centralized and controlled by the state. Two distinct factors, colonialism and its legacy and the aftermath of the cold war, are critical in shaping this relationship. African Media during the Colonial Era (before 1960) The evolution of the media in Africa and their relationships with the state and citizenry can be traced to the colonial era. Colonialism in Africa was an authoritarian mode of governance whose nature reflected negatively on African societies and their media (Ansah, 1985; Kugblenu, 1974; Mytton, 2000). In both the British West Africa colonies such as Ghana and Nigeria and the Francophone colonies such as Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast the media took a central political role, a trend that later spread to other parts of the continent. Because of the power associated with the media, politics and the media became complimentary to each other. In Belgian Congo and the Portuguese colonies, the slow development of the media was symptomatic of the brutal experience those countries underwent under Belgian and Por-



tuguese colonial rule (Ocitti, 1999). The African elites who inherited the mantle of colonial leadership continued their predecessors policies of controlling information and the media. African Media in the Post Independence Era (1960s to 1980s) Between the 1960s and 1980s, Africas media landscape experienced an interchange between the authoritarian and the libertarian media models (see Ansah, 1994; Bourgault, 1995; Ochs, 1986; Siebert, Peterson, & Schramm, 1956). It was uncommon to find phases of the libertarian press only to be followed immediately by authoritarian policies and, thereafter, to revert to some form of libertarianism. Ansah (1994) argued that these developments reflected the pattern of political developments in Africa where democratic rule, military regimes, and a one-party system often followed each other interchangeably. The overall trend was indicative of the political situation in respective countries. The achievement of independence in much of Africa in the 1960s affected the media in significant ways. First, there was a need to redefine the functions of the media akin to the norms of the authoritarian and development media models (see McQuail, 1994). The immediate postindependent African governments perceived and targeted the media as a critical machinery of nation building among disparate ethnic groups. The new governments opted for political centralism, assumed absolute power and impunity, and designed policies aimed at promoting nationalism in the new nations (Ocitti, 1999). Heavy emphasis was placed on the social and development role of the media. Consequently, the media evolved in a culture in which governments concentrated their political power and influence over civil society institutions and the citizenry through the enactment of parliamentary bills, legislations, and acts aimed at controlling information flow and free speech. For instance, in Malawi, the Censorship and Control of Entertainments Act, instituted immediately after the country gained independence from Britain in 1964, empowered the government to ban any media material it deemed critical of the government (Takirambudde, 1995). Similar legislation acts enacted in other countries, including Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia. Second, political instabilities and civil unrests in much of Africa during the postindependence period sped up the decline in the quality and quantity of the media. According to Hachten (1993), a total of 70 leaders in 29 nations were deposed through assassinations, coups, and purges during the first 25 years of Africas independence. Out of 41 independent African countries, only 7 allowed political opposition, 17 were one-party states, and another 17 were military regimes. Forty-four nations experienced 20 major wars and 40 successful coups between 1957 and 1981. In response to the high incidences of political uncertainties, governments instituted a variety of state-sponsored



repressive policies against the media. The resultant self-imposed censorship by media practitioners grossly affected the freedom and quality of the media. Finally, gradual economic decline in Africa between the 1970s and 1980s had a huge impact on state media systems. As noted by Ocitti (1999), the number of African countries unable to meet their basic needs increased profoundly by the end of the 1980s. Average incomes fell by as much as 30 to 40 percent annually in the more affected countries. Revenue for the media tumbled drastically as the purchasing power of the public and business community declined. Broadcasting became a very expensive profession because of the decline in commercial advertisements that supported the media. Because of the rising cost of living for Africans, the media became less and less significant in peoples daily lives (Obeng-Quiadoo, 1985). Consequently, the medias impact on politics declined in the 1970s and 1980s since the political situation under military rule and the one-party system gradually became more and more authoritarian. However, Africas entry into the democratic and global free market sphere in the 1990s has had profound transformation on the continents media landscape. The development and growth of private, independent and plural media akin to the tenets of the libertarian media model has become a reality as governments have begun, albeit reluctantly and slowly, to ease their control over the media.


The development of independent and plural media in Africa is a direct consequence of the continents serious efforts toward democratization and liberalization. The processes ushered in a transformation of national broadcasting systems connected to authoritarian regimes, the promotion of private independent and pluralistic media, and the proliferation of new African media channels and programs (Bonnah-Koomson, 1995; Bourgault, 1995; Fardon & Furniss, 2000; Heath, 2001; Kasoma, 1997; Panos Institute & CREDILA, 1996). This transformation began to be most visible in the 1990s when internal pressures mounted at the same time international donor agencies were applying pressure to African governments to liberalize their economies. The internal pressure came from trade unions, students, and the academic community through organized protests and conferences that aimed at putting democracy and freedom of speech on the public agenda. In Ghana for example, the University of Ghanas School of Communication Studies organized a series of conferences in March 1993 and November 1994, which put the need for media pluralism and independence on the public agenda (Bonnah-Koomson, 1995; School of Communication Studies, 1993). The external pressure was associated



with a new era of political pluralism and neoliberal economic policies that swept across the continent in the early 1990s, a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union. After decades of state control of the media, liberal rhetoric that associated democracy with media independence and free market became particularly attractive to the general public and business community (Heath, 1999, 2001). Additional pressure came from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which made democratic and liberal reform a condition for continued loans to African governments (Gyimah-Boadi, 1999). The internal and external forces worked to produce significant conjunctures in the political and media landscapes of Africa. The most significant included a revival of democratic optimism and the emergence and growth of independent media, particularly radio. With the exception of Angola, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe, most African countries currently allow for the operation of independent radio. From single radio stations before 1990, a number of individual African countries currently have over 30 privately owned radio stations (Panos Institute, 2006a; Third World Network Features, 2002). The pioneers include Radio Apam (a rural radio station established by the School of Communications of the University of Ghana), Kayes Rural Radio (established in 1987 by an Italian NGO in Mali), Horizon FM (the first commercial private radio in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso), and Radio One in Banjul, Gambia (the first competitor to Radio Syd, which has been in operation since 1959). In Mali, Radio Bamakan started to broadcast in March 1991 without government authorization. It was followed by Radio Liberty, Radio Kayira, and Radio Tahlae. By 2002 Mali could boast of over 30 independent radio stations owned by individuals and groups (Third World Network Features, 2002). As in Mali, broadcast stations kept multiplying progressively in other countries. For instance, since 1993 the Ghana government has allowed over 50 private radio stations and 5 television stations to operate alongside the state-owned media, although most are based in metropolitan cities (Blankson, 2000, 2005). Also in Kenya, the government awarded eight radio licenses to private broadcasters between December 1998 and March 1999. Similarly in Lesotho, 5 private and 1 Christian radio stations were opened between 1993 and 2004 (MISA, 2005b). Even in Angola where the air waves are still dominated and regulated by the state-owned National Radio of Angola, new stations such as LAC, Canal A and Radio Ecclesia broadcast to city dwellers (MISA, 2005b). These developments stand in stark contrast to what prevailed prior to the 1990s when all of Africas electronic media were firmly controlled by governments. The transformation of Africas media landscape, against a backdrop of democracy and free-market economic reforms, has created new expectations for the emerging media. It has spawned the need to find a set of vocational principles or responsibilities to which the media can address themselves, function and develop new relationships.




Africas emerging independent and plural media have begun to understand their collective sense of responsibility to their respective societies. A sense has emerged that the role of the media should be redefined to allow for media independence and greater involvement in the democratic process. Prior to the 1990s, decades of political instability, state control of the media and free speech, and public disappointments with governments created a culture of silence among Africans. According to Ansah (1994), the public had lost interest in participating in public discourse. For example, a 1985 study of the media habits of Ghanaians reported that they spent an average of two and one-half hours per day listening to their state radio (Obeng-Quaidoo, 1985). However, the democratic and liberal reforms and the development of media independence and pluralism have transformed the Africa citizenry from being passive to what Hallahan (2000, p. 505) described as an aroused public. A new urban populace has emerged and begun to show interest and participate in civic and state matters. Africas emerging independent media have begun to assume center stage in the democratic process and develop into alternative power centers to their respective governments. They exercise this power by encouraging and empowering the public to shed the culture of silence that characterized them for decades. Almost every private radio and television station has developed a variety of interactive phone-in and talk programs that provide the public access to diverse platforms to freely exchange information and participate in civil discourse. They also allow the public to express divergent or dissenting views on civic and political matters without fear of government reprisals. Notable examples include Radio Bamakan in Mali, whose popularity is ascribed to its interactive talk programs broadcast in the Bamanan local language (Senghor, 1996) and Radio Anfani in Niger, whose popular walk-in talk program was featured in the November 30, 1998, issue of the New York Times. The newspaper reported that in order to avoid government harassment of its contributors, the station developed the walk-in talk format to allow any member of the public to openly discuss on air their grievances. Africas emerging independent media have begun to advance the cause of democracy by performing watchdog functions over governments and prevent them from appropriating excessive power with which to abuse the citizenry and the democratic process (Kasoma, 1997). They are performing these watchdog functions in a variety of ways. First, through their reporting and programming, the media are ensuring that politicians stay committed to the democratic process as well as promoting and protecting the principles, processes, institutions, and freedoms that it entails. For example, demands for an opening up of the oneparty state during Tanzanias transition to democracy between 1990 and 1992



emanated mainly from the newly established independent media (Sandbrook, 1996). The emergence of democratic commitment in Cameroon in the early 1990s was also attributed to the intense independent media coverage of incidents of authoritarian abuse by the Biya government (Takougang, 1995). Second, Africas independent media are holding public and private officials to account for their stewardship of the offices they occupy. Their watchful eyes and reporting are ensuring that officials perform their duties in a satisfactory and responsible manner. Third, the independent media are making sure that governments are responsive to all elements of society, regardless of social status. In Kenya, for instance, journalists vehemently opposed proposed legislation by President Moi in August 2001 to ban private radio stations from broadcasting in the countrys indigenous languages. The proposed legislation was seen as the presidents attempt to prevent his political adversaries, the Kikuyu ethnic group, from participating in political matters (CPJ, 2005a). Also in Angola, independent broadcasters were responsible for exposing and pressuring the government to respond to allegations that only black youths and the poor were recruited into the army to fight against the UNITA rebels (Tettey, 2002). Perhaps the most significant watchdog function assumed by Africas independent media in the democratic process is effectively demonstrated through their monitoring and coverage of political elections. In countries that recently had elections, their watchful eyes helped to minimize election malpractices and brought some transparency to the process. For example, during Senegals 2000 presidential election, the independent media reported several cases of vote buying, ballot stuffing, and other irregularities that embarrassed President Diouf and prevented more extensive fraud (Tettey, 2002). Similarly in Ghana, media scholars have attributed the inability of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to rig the 2000 presidential elections, which it lost, to the presence of a large number of private radio stations throughout the country and to the immediacy with which they reported irregularities. Ordinary citizens also used private radio stations to report suspicious activities as captured in this statement by the president of the Ghana Bar Association, Joseph Ebo Quarshie:
On the day of the [2000] elections there was a polling station in Accra where soldiers started destroying voting boxes. Immediately, someone called an FM station and it was reported on the air. . . . Minutes later I got a call from JOY FM. . . . I read over the radio the article in the Constitution which says that citizens had the right to resist interference in a polling station. JOY FM kept playing my interview over and over. A couple of hours later the soldiers were chased off by voters. (Friedman, 2001)

In addition to monitoring the political process, Africas emerging media have become important sources of political education, mobilization, and



advocacy. They are educating African citizens on democratic principles and their constitutional rights and providing them with platforms to diverse political discourses. An example is the Cross Fire program on Ghanas Joy FM station, an adaptation of CNNs Cross Fire, which provides a forum for debate on political issues (Tettey, 2002). Africas independent media are developing investigative reporting capabilities that allow them to expose acts of impropriety within state and private institutions that would have gone unnoticed to the public. Through their reporting, many independent stations are setting the agenda for investigative and statutory bodies to take up cases of corruption, abuse, and social irresponsibility within state apparatuses. A few examples are worth mentioning. In Nigeria, it was through the investigative efforts of Tayo Odunlami of the News in July 1999 that exposed the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ibrahim Buhari, for presenting falsified credentials and academic qualifications to the house. This revelation led to the speakers removal from the house (Tettey, 2002). Similarly in Ghana in 2000, it was a presenter at Joy FM who exposed misappropriation of state funds by Ghanas Social Security and National Insurance Trust (The Guide, January 1925, 2001). Also, in Chad, the investigative work of Daniel Bekoutou, a reporter working in collaboration with human rights organizations, revealed evidence of political killings, torture, and the disappearances of opposition members when the former Chadian dictator, Hissain Habre, was president. His investigations led to the arrest and indictment of the former Chadian dictator by Senegalese authorities in February 2000 (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2002). These incidents demonstrate how Africas emerging independent media are shaping the democratic process and civic engagement. Through a variety of programming formats and investigative reporting, the media are holding officials accountable for their decisions and actions. They are also compelling officials to bring transparency to their stewardship of offices and giving the public the opportunity to participate in the political process, to measure the pronouncements of politicians and officials against their deeds, and to make informed judgments about the future of those individuals.


The prominent role of the media in the often volatile process of democratization has brought unprecedented challenges to media institutions and practitioners all across Africa. True media independence and freedom remain quite vulnerable in many countries. Media houses and professionals continue to face serious external and internal challenges and constraints as they attempt to redefine their new roles and responsibilities in their new democracies.



External Challenges and Constraints Africas emerging media face major challenges as they deal with the governments. Despite allowing for independent media, African governments continue to place media freedom within their own power positions and the wider context of national unity. They argue that the independent media should be part of the machinery for nation building and not for engaging in critical journalism (Ocitti, 1999). But the reality of changing electoral politics in Africa since the 1990s has signaled a convergence of interests among the independent media, opposition groups, and the public. This has created a sense of fear and concern among ruling governments over the possibility that they could be politically out maneuvered in democratic elections. This concern was evident in a 1993 statement by the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe:
The issue of a broadcasting station that runs parallel to our own is a ticklish point because you do not know what propaganda they are going to broadcast. We are a developing country and cannot afford the danger of sabotage and subversion from a broadcasting station. . . . You will find that the opposition papers in our country go out of their way to try and hunt for those stories that damage the government. (Meldrum, 1993)

In another instance, President Kerekou of Benin, the first African leader to be ousted in a democratic election, blamed his defeat on the media. He claimed, It was because of journalists that everything has turned out so badly (Ocitti, 1999, p. 25). The prospect of losing elections has caused repressive African regimes to tighten the ropes on the independent media. Journalists and media houses that report on the activities of opposition parties or their supporters often risk harassment or arrest, as was the case in Cameroon where President Paul Biya, who was facing elections in 2004, harassed broadcast media that criticized his government (Crawford, 2003). Also in Cote dIvoire, attacks on the media in 1999 were caused principally by the paranoia of the former president, Henri Konan Bedie, about any form of challenge during the run-up to the October 2000 presidential elections (McElroy, 1999). Africas independent media face their governments incessant use of criminal libel and sedition laws in ways that contradict the goals of democratic governance and the constitutional provisions of press freedom. Criminal libel suits have become common as government officials pursue their objective of crippling the medias investigate efforts to expose their corrupt, inappropriate, or inefficient acts (Tettey, 2002). To compound the situation, some governments introduced tough antiterrorist legislation after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, which they use to stifle civil liberties and media freedom. For example, Uganda, which faces rebellion in the north, used its



antiterrorism law in 2003 to close down a number of private radio stations (Crawford, 2003). Other governments have used their power to interpret laws in such a way that allows them to intimidate, punish, or imprison media practitioners who criticize or seek accountability from them. Ethiopia, for example, applied its criminal libel laws religiously and holds the unenviable record of having jailed more journalists than any other African country in 2000 (CPJ, 2001b). In a similar manner, the Senegalese government in 2001 used sedition laws as a pretext to crack down on media that criticized the government of President Wade. The Committee to Protect Journalists (2005a) reports that the number of broadcasters or journalists killed or imprisoned in Africa rose from 13 in 1999 to 26 in 2002 and 21 in 2004. Countries such as Zambia, Cote dIvoire, Cameroon, Namibia, and Swaziland have laws that make it an offence for the media to insult political leaders. In the case of Swaziland, King Mswati III issued a decree in June 2001 that subjects those who insult, ridicule, or bring the king or queen into disrepute to a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years and/or a fine of 50,000 emalangeni (approximately $6,200 U.S.). President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe seemed bent on the same goal when on June 2005 he signed the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Bill into law. The new law introduced stiffer penalties against the publication of falsehoods and made it an offense to make abusive, indecent, obscene, or false statements about the president. Media professionals in the country now risk spending 20 years in jail if convicted on any of these charges (MISA, 2005a). The African continent is littered with acrimonious parliamentary bills introduced by repressive governments to clamp down on critical media. Notable examples include Namibias 1996 Powers, Privileges, and Immunities Act, which grants enormous powers to parliamentary committees to force reporters to reveal their sources of information; Botswanas 1997 Mass Media Communications Bill, which empowers the police to seize any broadcast material conceived by the authorities to contravene the law; and Swazilands 1997 Media Council Bill, which requires all journalists to register with the authorities before practicing and also empowers the government to enforce a code of ethics drafted by the government (Ocitti, 1999). Repressive governments have used such parliamentary bills to clamp down on critical media reporting. In July 2005, the government of Burundi closed down the offices of the independent radio station Radio Publique Africaine alleging that its coverage of the 2005 election was biased and that it had insulted the National Communications Council (CPJ, 2005b). Also in Malawi, three days after the May 2004 presidential elections, armed police raided the community radio station MIJ 90.3 and arrested some of the broadcasters after the station aired a live telephone interview with the opposition spokeswoman. The spokeswoman had accused the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) party of elections malpractices and threatened opposition action if the UDF candidate was



declared president. The radio station was charged with broadcasting news likely to cause a breach of the peace (CPJ, 2005a). Since the rule of law is weak in many African countries, media practitioners who publish information or voice opinions that do not portray officials in a positive or neutral light regularly face threats, raids, attacks, and harassment from governments and the militias. Harassment and attacks are used as tools of retribution and preemptive mechanisms even though there are legal provisions for dealing with cases of unsubstantiated or libelous reporting. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has documented several incidents of harassment, raids, and attacks on media practitioners. An example is the September 2001 arrest of nine journalists by Eritrean security forces under the pretext that they were avoiding military service. Most observers of Eritrean politics believe that the journalists were targeted because of their critical reporting. Also in Morocco, secret service officials persistently hounded Alain Chabod of France 3 Public Television in 2001 to prevent him from investigating allegations made against top government officials (CPJ, 2001a). Similarly, in Burkina Faso, the police, under the orders of the state-controlled Supreme Council for Information (SCI), raided the offices of Horizon FM in August 2000 for broadcasting information from Le Collectif, a group that called for a rally to keep alive demands for a fair inquiry into the death of a journalist, Norbert Zongo (CPJ, 2001c). The journalist was alleged to have been murdered on the instructions of the brother of the president. The SCI justified its action on the basis of the 1993 Information Code, which requires immediate closure of media outlets suspected of compromising national security and spreading false news. Incidents of open assault by militia men and women loyal to governments are also documented. In July 2005, unidentified assailants kidnapped and brutally beat a commentator for the independent Radio Kledu in the Malian capital, Bamako (CPJ, 2005a). It was believed that the assault was linked to the broadcasters work at the radio station. Known on-air as Dragon, he presents a popular program in the Malian language Bambara in which he criticizes alleged abuses of power by local politicians and others. Africas emerging media also have to deal with their governments licensing application and approval process. The often cumbersome and confusing approval process allows governments to refuse, suspend, or revoke licenses of stations at will. Critics have pointed to the abusive use of the licensing regulations and charged that the purpose of the licensing process is to stifle free speech and political expression by those perceived as antithetical to the ruling government (Tettey, 2002). For example, in March 2000 the Liberian government suspended the licenses of two private radio stations, Radio Veritas and Star Radio, for what it defined as security reasons. The stations were accused of being agents provocateurs intent on destabilizing the country. Observers believe that the action was in response to the stations critical reporting and



failure to show unflinching support for the Liberian government. Also, in 2004 the Cameroonian government instituted opaque licensing rules to silence private radio stations that carry reports it did not like (Crawford, 2004). Similarly, Chads media regulatory body, the High Council of Communication (HCC), suspended the broadcasting license of the private station, Radio Brakos in May 2005. The action followed complaints from a military commander and a local traditional leader, whom the station had accused of embezzling funds meant for a development project (CPJ, 2005a). Internal Challenges and Constraints The media in Africa continue to be plagued by a lack of professionalism. Some broadcasters use their newly found independence and the open media environment in ways that stand in contrast to the democratic ideals for which they fight. The manner in which some broadcasters present their views has stretched the bounds of adversarial politics to the point where hatred appears to define the relationship between them and their states. While some push a biased political agenda, others unduly insult or fabricate false stories about state officials and politicians. For example, the independent media in Cameroon often published groundless negative headlines and stories about government officials (Takougang, 1995). The independent media in Zambia also have a habit of referring to President Chiluba as a fool and a bandit. Zambian journalists admitted to fabricating false stories about officials just to tarnish their reputations (Kasoma, 1997). Similarly, the independent press in Malawi often engaged in hate-mongering journalism (Lister, 1996). The animosity that results from such practices gives governments cause to accuse the media of embarking on personal vendetta against the state. It is not surprising that African media critics have asserted that the level of professionalism among the private media in Africa is low (Campbell, 1998; Tettey, 2002). Some African media practitioners compromise their professional ethics for the sake of personal financial gains. The first complaint of many broadcast organizations in Africa is low pay and lack of training (Crawford, 2003), both of which may increase the temptation for media professionals to accept bribes. This practice is exemplified by a case in Ghana, where in September 2001 a reporter with the state-owned Ghanaian Times allegedly demanded a bribe of 5 million cedis (approximately $500 U.S.) from an Indian businessman in order to stop publishing the accusations of assault leveled against him by his Ghanaian employees (Tettey, 2002). There are instances of independent media practitioners resorting to blatant disregard for the rule of law, especially in situations where the courts have been fair and independent. Since 2000, the majority of contempt of court convictions in Ghana have been against journalists or broadcasters for failing to obey court rulings and for defying the rule of law (Tettey, 2002). For instance,



the editors of the Statesman and the Crusading Guide were convicted and imprisoned for 30 days for continuing to comment on a pending civil libel case involving the former first lady, Agyeman Rawlings, despite an interim injunction imposed by the courts asking journalists not to publish any more libelous articles on the case ( Joy FM, August 5, 1998). The lack of professionalism among African media practitioners undermines their assumed position as upholders and promoters of democratic principles. Their actions empower critics of independent media, particularly governments, to question the medias credibility in holding the state accountable. The actions also allow the public to call into question the credibility of the independent media, especially when the views of individual media stations are biased and tainted by narrow political trappings. The potential to deflate the developing confidence of the public in the emerging independent media as credible watchdogs has been recognized. For example, in Ghana, growing public concern about the conduct of some independent media necessitated a meeting between radio station executives and the Ethics Committee of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) in October 2001. The meeting identified the deterioration in professional standards and the erosion of public confidence in the media as serious problems. It concluded, among other things, that the only means of improving professionalism is for media practitioners themselves to sanction colleagues who go against the ethos of the profession.


In spite of the myriad of challenges facing Africas emerging media, there have been significant efforts to strengthen the overall media landscape. First, calls to abolish criminal penalties for media offenses are gathering steam in countries such as the Central African Republic (CAR), Senegal, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Other countries have either repealed their criminal and civil libel laws or applied them impartially to seek redress in circumstances where the media have been construed as having breached their responsibilities. Various agencies, particularly the courts, have been given the responsibility to ensure media answerability and to enforce the regulations. For example, in Kenya, between November and December 2001, the courts fairly imposed monetary fines on several media organizations for broadcasting false defamatory materials against individuals (see http:// stories/200111290083.html). Also, in Ghana, the media-friendly New Patriotic Party government repealed the countrys criminal defamation law in 2001. This was to encourage state officials who believed that a media outlet had incorrectly reported on an issue to state their version through the state media or other commercial media. Togo has also eliminated prison sentences



for most media offenses. Similarly, in 2004, Sierra Leones Truth and Reconciliation Commission pressured the government to abolish the countrys seditious and criminal libel laws (Crawford, 2004). Second, independent media commissions or press councils are being established in several African countries to monitor the performance of the media and address complaints filed against them. Examples include the Botswana Media Council, the Ghana Media Commission, the High Authority for Audio-Visual Communications in Benin, the Uganda Media Council, and South Africas Broadcasting Complaints Commission and Broadcast Monitoring Complaints Commission (MISA, 2005a, 2005c). These regulatory bodies receive petitions from the public about media practitioners or houses and are empowered to adjudicate on such matters and apply appropriate remedies and sanctions. Though concerns about their impartiality and fairness have been raised, the majority of the regulatory bodies have been fair in holding the media accountable for their actions. For instance, Benins High Authority for Audio-Visual Communications condemned the publication LAurore for falsely linking Osama bin Laden to Benins government after the government lodged a complaint against the paper. LAurore consequently retracted the story. Also, Ugandas Media Council fairly reprimanded the editors of the newspaper The Red Pepper for publishing obscene pictures of school children at a beach party (see html). Similarly, the Ghana Media Commission, on two occasions in May 2001, ruled against the private newspaper Ghanaian Chronicle for false reporting on individuals without any substantive evidence to support their claims. Ultimately, the paper apologized to the complainants and retracted the stories (see The growing confidence the public has in these regulatory bodies as a place to go for nonacrimonious restitution and to hold the media accountable is borne out by the increasing number of cases brought before them for resolution. The Ghana Media Commission, for instance, had received over 50 cases by 2002. Twenty-eight of these cases were resolved amicably. Only two cases went in favor of the media (Tettey, 2002). Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the regulatory bodies is constrained by their lack of authority to ensure compliance with their rulings and decisions. Third, African media professionals have shown remarkable courage and resilience in the environment of repressive state policies. While some media practitioners and organizations use peaceful demonstrations and protests to register their discontent to state laws that regulate the media, others openly challenge the constitutionality of such laws. For example, in Burkina Faso, a total of four commercial radio stations staged a seven-hour blackout in December 1997 to protest the governments ban on the retransmission of broadcasts from international radio stations. In Zimbabwe, despite President



Mugabes continued vendetta against the independent media, media professionals defied threats, police brutality, bomb attacks, and a flurry of defamation suits to denounce the presidents support of violence against white farmers and the countrys involvement in the civil war in Congo (Sorokobi, 2000). There have been several challenges to the constitutionality of state laws. For example, the Uganda Journalists Safety Committee (UJSC) in 1997 challenged, though unsuccessfully, the constitutionality of controversial media laws regularly used by the state to intimidate and arrest journalists. A similar action was taken by the Tanzanian Association of Journalists and Media Workers in 1997 when it challenged the constitutionality of the laws against the media in a bid to halt the escalating harassment of media practitioners (Tettey, 2002). Fourth, some private media houses have developed creative ways of using communication technologies to deal with the states oppressive onslaughts. The New York Times (see the November 30, 1998 issue), reported a case in Niger, where Radio Anfani introduced a walk-in discussion program as a way to avoid state harassment of contributors to its programs. Contributors simply walk in to the station to openly discuss their grievances. Also, in response to the Mozambique governments campaign to harass independent journalists, a group of journalists resorted to using fax machines to disseminate their news. The service MediaFAX became the leading source of domestic news and information for diplomats, business communities, nongovernmental organizations, and even government officials. Fifth, Africas media landscape is being strengthened by the activities of organizations seeking to promote media independence and press freedom on the continent. Organizations such as the Panos Institute, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Monitoring and Defense of Press Freedom in West Africa, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Sans Frontiers, and International Center for Journalists continue to develop the infrastructure, provide resources, and/or apply pressure on repressive governments to promote and encourage free speech and media freedom. The activities of the Panos Institute in promoting independent and community radio are worth noting. These include engaging African governments and broadcasters in discussions on how existing and potential broadcasting policies can strengthen the role of radio in development, holding series of broadcaster forums across Africa to support local program making in Africa, and offering fellowships and grants to support radio stations to produce public-interest programs involving public participation. The institute also coordinates a number of partner organizations: the World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC), Panos West Africa, Panos Eastern Africa, Panos Southern Africa, and Panos Paris programs in Central Africa, to promote the establishment of policies, legislation, and regulation for broadcasting that will protect public interest broadcasting, increase the amount of broadcasting aimed at the poor



and at development, and make it easier for communities to set up and run their own radio stations (see Another significant development that has the potential of strengthening broadcasting in Africa is the adoption of the African Charter on Broadcasting during the May 2002 World Press Freedom Day held in Pretoria, South Africa. The charter was intended to serve as a blueprint for Africas broadcast policies and laws. The commission also adopted a Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression, which stresses the fundamental importance of freedom of expression as an individual human right, a cornerstone of democracy, and a means of ensuring respect for all human rights and freedoms (Sorokobi, 2000). In September 2002, West African media practitioners and journalists also attended a meeting by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) in Dakar, Senegal, to encourage members to continue their advocacy and to force African governments to stop media repressions (Sorokobi, 2002, 2003). The activities of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in the southern African region (commonly known as SADC) cannot be overlooked. In addition to other activities, MISA has established a campaign, the Media Law Reform, to repeal laws that obstruct media freedom, independence, and pluralism (see In a conference held in 2002, members of parliament in the SADC region issued a declaration of commitment to media law reform and to pressure their governments into reforming their media laws. The participants also adopted an advocacy program that focuses on mobilizing media institutions to be at the forefront of advocacy work for the protection of media freedom and freedom of expression. Finally, in a highly unusual trend for Africa, many East African media organizations have begun to merge their activities, capital, and audiences. Kenyas Nation Group, a fierce critic of President Moi, acquired Ugandas largest independent daily, the Monitor, and launched Monitor Radio in 2001. Ugandas Capital Radio launched the independent station Kiss FM in Kenya and had plans to expand into Tanzania and Ethiopia. One of Tanzanias private radio stations, Radio One hatched plans for a pan-East African FM radio station after being granted a frequency by the Uganda National Frequency Registration Board. The station broadcasts from the capital city, Dar-EsSalaam, and has relays in Uganda and Kenya (Sorokobi, 2002). These developments mirror the steady economic integration of East Africa, a trend fostered by the East African Economic Community (EAC). In 2000, EAC member states acknowledged the need for a regional media regulation regime that could make it harder for governments to control the media in their respective countries. Media practitioners in other parts of Africa have also begun to push for regional and pan-African declarations of principles that would guarantee media independence and freedom and force governments to update their media laws.




By the early 1990s, Africa opened up to democratization, a process that led to the increasing liberalization of mass media and the growth in competitive, independent, and private media. It was an exciting time of freedom and creativity in which Africans, for the first time, had a choice of broadcast channels and programming. Despite a myriad of challenges and constraints facing the emerging independent media in their often volatile and young democracies, they continue to play significant roles that have made them into viable civil society institutions. While some broadcast stations foster the dissemination and free exchange of information, encourage public participation in civic discourse, and/or promote the development of socioeconomic interests that mitigate traditional political polarities, others demand commitment and accountability of their governments to the democratic process. It is encouraging that the emerging private broadcast stations have not been afraid to disclose government and societal shortcomings and abuses. But in doing so, they have faced the brunt of some governments. In the early euphoria of liberalization, governments often threw open the gates without wondering what sort of broadcasting mix they were letting in and without asking themselves whether any controls were still necessary. In many countries, governments continue to use political and legal systems to curb media freedom and public discourse. Adverse government policies and multifaceted economic woes still undermine the development of Africas media. Independent broadcasting remains a difficult profession in Africa. Though the surge of threats and physical assaults against critical media bodes ill for the continent at large, it is important for Africas media to stay its course and be adaptable to the new demands of the rapidly evolving free market capitalism, democratization, and information society.

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Vestiges of Authoritarianism
Monopoly Broadcasting in Central America




Central America, although radio remains the dominant medium, televisions ascendancy as a popular and dominant medium is raising new concerns. In most of the countries that make up the ribbonlike isthmus connecting North and South America, a dominant television broadcasting entity has risen to prominence. Although a different broadcasting firm has become dominant in each case, this comparative study will show parallels in how the political systems in each country fostered this growth. Such television monopolies or quasimonopolies may often represent strong antidemocratic forces in countries that are attempting democratic transitions after decades of war. What follows is an analysis of what this broadcast trend means for the political development of these countries and their attempts at evolving toward a more democratic ideal. This analysis will also touch upon a variety of trends, such as the concentration of media ownership and vertical integration of media properties. In Europe and North America, where most of the commentary about these trends has been focused, the public service mission of broadcasters has been questioned and some openly wonder if such a mission exists at all in the new century (Leys, 1999). By examining the television industry trends in Central




America, the aim is to show not only how public service has been ignored but also how broadcasters have attempted to undercut efforts to democratize the airwaves and failed to create some real sense a public sphere of communication exists. The effects of highly concentrated ownership for broadcasting and the resulting collusion between the state and broadcast owners is on display for all to see. In Guatemala, a Mexican broadcaster who lives in Miami owns a commercial television monopoly (Rockwell & Janus, 2001). Not only has the Guatemalan commercial television system been used to attack media outlets not aligned with government policies (Smeets, 2000), but the system has been purged of voices critical of the central government or the countrys president (Prensa Libre, February 4, 2000). In El Salvador, a quasimonopoly television system, run by an old-school media titan, has aided a government advertising boycott aimed at its competitors and openly campaigned for an ideological litmus test for journalists at media outlets ( Janus, 1998). In Panama, another country marked with a quasimonopoly television system, the dominant networks were accused of colluding with a conservative government to keep competitors out of the market (Dallas, 1997) and in return critics said television news became slanted in favor of one party (Gorriti, 1998). Also, in Nicaragua, a pioneering broadcast familys return to the country after more than a decade of exile brought a return to dominance of primarily conservative viewpoints on that countrys television airwaves.


This chapter will use the model for Latin American communication proposed by Elizabeth Fox (1997) in her work covering the evolution of broadcast systems in the hemisphere. Fox has spelled out a method for analysis that looks at the intersection of the power of television broadcasting with the political systems in key nations. Although none of the Central American countries are covered in her study, this analysis will use her methods to build a variety of comparative case studies. In addition, the theoretical approaches of other important Latin American media scholars will be used to draw conclusions about the nature of Central American broadcasters. For instance, Argentine media expert Silvio Waisbord (2000) has also commented about the evolution of media systems in areas of Latin America undergoing transitions toward democracy. Likewise, Joseph Straubhaar (2001) in his work on Brazil has sketched how authoritarian systems often work in symbiosis with dominant broadcasting systems. In the following pages, the theories of these experts will be applied to the Central American context. This chapter will also apply the approaches of other media theorists such as John Keane (1991) and Colin Leys (1999). As Leys has noted, the pre-



dominant motivation of broadcasters in the neoliberal communication and economic order is a drive to dominate markets. Seemingly, broadcasters are no longer interested in public service or the need to engage audiences in the democratic process. Nor are they interested in holding governments accountable, in the noble sense, as the media watchdogs about which Waisbord writes. Instead the aim seems to be to pacify audiences in the drive not just for a market niche but for market supremacy. Often to achieve this goal, collusion with the state is necessary. The connections between this broadcasting critique and the reality of Central America will be laid out in the following pages. Keane and Straubhaar both write of an engaged state mechanism that at first either coopts willing broadcasters or fosters one broadcasting entity over others as a way to promote a particular program. This is also an effective means for disseminating propaganda. Inevitably, once the dominant broadcasting entity grows too powerful and independent, the state may move to check its growth or to build countervailing forces to hem in its independence. In such a cycle, Keane also believes the state will invoke stronger measures, such as censorship or other repressive means to control communication if broadcasters become too independent. Although such independence from the state is unusual in the Central American broadcasting systems, this paper will also deal with the case of newly found independence of Nicaraguas primary television broadcasting outlet. Some theorists have argued that the shape of the media matters less than how the audience mediates the message, especially in systems that are democratizing (Straubhaar, Olsen, & Cavaliari Nunes, 1993). In their view, even quasimonopoly systems like Brazils media giant Globo do not seem to be major factors in elections or other parts of the democratic process. This chapter takes a contrary position. Many of the same theorists credit the media with forcing openings in the political system that led to a democratic transition. Now that weak democracies have taken up residence in much of Latin America there appears to be an ideological shift away from crediting or blaming the media for most of the current state of affairs. Such analysis should be reconsidered. How are audiences in these countries to mediate messages if all or most of what is transmitted lacks the vital ingredients necessary to propel these protodemocracies? As Leys and American media critic Robert McChesney (1997) argue, the media must bear some responsibility for the shape of democracy and for connecting elites to voters. In their view, if the media, especially broadcasters, neglect this role as connectors of society, then the only mission of the media is the pursuit of capital. Public-interest broadcasting and civil society are abandoned as the media system shifts to pursue market dominance. This turn away from the needs of civil society plays directly into the hands of strong executive powers in Central America that have not forgotten the ways of dictators and military juntas. The shape of the media, especially the ideologies and connections of the media owners, is an important



factor in determining the effects of the media on a countrys political evolution. Considering the dominant broadcast owners in Central America and their political and corporate connections is one method for demonstrating how important the media are in the current state of democracy in the region.


In Guatemala, Angel Gonzlez Gonzlez, a Mexican broadcaster, owns all four of the countrys commercial television networks. Gonzlez Gonzlezs television career began in Monterrey, Mexico, when he was 19. He learned the basics of television as an account executive for Televisa, the giant, dominant Mexican network. In her work, Fox has characterized Televisa as an undemocratic force aiding the Mexican autocracy. Latin American scholar Thomas Skidmore has also noted how the political machinery of Mexicos long-time ruling party the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party, by its Spanish acronym) was oriented toward manipulating the media through bribery, intimidation, and special concessions to broadcasters (1993). Before his death, Televisas long-time owner had proclaimed himself a soldier of the PRI and his network one of its best tools for maintaining political dominance (Fromson, 1996). Graduating from that system in 1981, Gonzlez Gonzlez bought control of his first Guatemalan television network, with a helpful coinvestment from Televisa. Gonzlez Gonzlez followed a strategy of political accommodation in his dealings with politicians, catering to those in power and supporting politicians on their way up. The Mexican broadcaster accomplished this by giving away free airtime. For instance, in the 1986 elections, he supported the candidacy of Vinicio Cerezo, a centrist Christian Democrat in Guatemalas first free election after the military era of the 1970s and early 1980s. Gonzlez Gonzlez gave Cerezo $650,000 in free advertising time on his network (Inforpress CentroAmericana, 1998). That trend has continued as the Mexican broadcaster backed the successful presidential bid in 1999 of Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo, with a $2.5 million investment of free airtime (Fitzgerald, April 10, 2000). However, the support of the networks controlled by Gonzlez Gonzlez did not translate into a victory for Portillos party during the presidential elections of 2003. Unlike how Televisa operates in Mexico, however, Gonzlez Gonzlez has not tied himself to one party or one ideological movement in Guatemala. In Guatemala, parties rise, fall, and disintegrate with alarming quickness. Since the reinstatement of civilian government, no party has won reelection to the presidency (Rockwell, November 14, 1999), a trend that continued through the 2003 elections. Many successful parties of the 1980s and early 1990s have left the political stage in Guatemala or are in a shambles.



As a foreign owner of major media properties, Gonzlez Gonzlez has found it is useful to maintain close relations with supreme executive power in Guatemala. For instance in 1993, when President Jorge Serrano Elias attempted unsuccessfully to suspend the constitution, the television operations of Gonzlez Gonzlez remained open, and managers did not protest against government censors. At that time, Gonzlez Gonzlez did not control the entire television system, and the government temporarily closed his competitors (Alamilla, Prez, & Taylor, 1996). By 1996 and the election of President Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen, Gonzlez Gonzlez had acquired all the Guatemalan television networks. Despite the protests of news staffers at one network, representatives of the Arzu government were invited to review all news copy before it was broadcast. Also, Gonzlez Gonzlez agreed to broadcast in primetime a nightly governmentproduced program, Avances, which touted the political views of the president and his conservative, probusiness party (Smeets, 2000). Those who disagreed with these policies were dismissed. During the 1990s, the Mexican broadcasting titan also acquired a significant slice of Guatemalas radio spectrum. Gonzlez Gonzlezs radio holdings include 21 stations (Fitzgerald, 2000), including the popular allnews station Radio Sonora. During the 1999 election campaign, one of Gonzlez Gonzlezs radio stations was caught up in a scandal for launching a smear campaign against top journalists at Prensa Libre (Smeets, 2000). Prensa Libre is Guatemalas most popular newspaper, which took a critical stance against the Arzu administration. Gonzlez Gonzlezs campaign against media critics of Guatemalas president would accelerate after the inauguration of President Portillo. Jose Zarco, formerly the top editor at Prensa Libre, at one time anchored an independently produced primetime magazine program, Temas de Noche. During the election campaign, Zarco had been one of Portillos main critics. Once Portillo became president, Zarcos rental agreement with Gonzlez Gonzlezs network was terminated (Rockwell & Janus, 2001). This collusion with the central government increased during the corrupt Portillo administration. (After his term in office, President Portillo was stripped of his presidential immunity and stands accused of pilfering millions from state coffers along with many of his appointees.) Luis Rabb, the brother-in-law of Gonzlez Gonzlez, was the Portillo administrations minister of communication until he was forced out of office in one of the early corruption scandals (Murphy, 2002). Until his government appointment, Rabb managed Gonzlez Gonzlezs Guatemalan holdings. The Mexican media owners marriage to Rabbs sister allows Gonzlez Gonzlez to circumvent Guatemalan laws on foreign ownership (Vanden Heuvel & Dennis, 1995). But within six months of his appointment, Rabb resigned. Not only had he been implicated in



corruption scandals, but he had organized a rock-throwing protest at elPeriodico, one of the newspapers investigating his misdeeds (Bounds, Emmott, & Webb-Vidal, July 4, 2001). In the twenty years since beginning his first television investment in Guatemala, Gonzlez Gonzlez has become a broadcasting force throughout Latin America. Currently, aside from his Guatemalan holdings, he owns six television stations in Mexico and networks in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Paraguay (Bounds, Emmott, & Webb-Vidal, July 4, 2001; Paxman, May 31, 1999). Gonzlez Gonzlez personifies the quest for market dominance. His work to ingratiate himself and his television networks with the political system can be defended from this business standpoint as necessary for survival in a shifting political system. Guatemala concluded a long guerrilla war at the end of 1996, a war that had run for more than three decades. Until the mid1980s, the Guatemalan military had either run the country directly or produced most of the countrys presidents since the infamous 1954 coup, organized with the help of the CIA. Even in the 1990s, the Guatemalan military remained an important yet shadowy political force, an institution where rogue elements were even willing to kill the countrys archbishop if they felt it was necessary (Brosnan, June 9, 2001). The brand of journalism at Gonzlez Gonzlezs networks, where controversy was avoided, censors were welcomed, and authority was respected rather than challenged, seemed to agree with Guatemalas authoritarian foundations. The political actions of the Mexican media owners Guatemalan networks are somewhat predictable when seen through the theoretical prism established by Fox and Waisbord. Waisbord notes that throughout Latin America the transition of communication systems is a slow one of adaptation after eras of oppression by the military (2000, pp. 6364). The transition to democracy does not guarantee an open media system that is aware of its responsibilities of maintaining communication between the various sectors of society to create a sense of pluralism. The rise of a monopoly television system in Guatemala is also predicted through the models of media and political relationships explored by Fox. Fox notes (1997, p. 131) that Latin American systems where broadcasters have sought market dominance in part by making an accommodation with the state run by authoritarian or semiauthoritarian forces usually produces strong monopoly systems. Televisa in Mexico and Globo in Brazil are the dominant, quasimonopoly systems that exemplify this trend. However, as Fox notes, as those political systems evolve, the dominant broadcasters often become increasingly autonomous forces with their own power to influence the political system. As Guatemalas political system attempts to become more democratic, its television system is exhibiting these vestiges of authoritarianism, as critical voices are culled from the airwaves.




In El Salvador, Boris Esersky fills the role as the countrys broadcast media titan. Esersky is one of the pioneers of broadcasting in Central America. Esersky put the first Salvadoran television network on the air in 1950. During the 1950s, Esersky also owned one of the countrys top radio stations YSEB (Alisky, 19551956). Esersky represents one branch of the Araujo Esersky family, which has been considered a part of the Salvadoran elite for more than a century. By 1980, the family as a whole owned 14 separate firms with a combined capital worth at the time of $5.3 million (Dunkerley, 1988). Today, Esersky owns three VHF television networks in El Salvador. Between them, Eserskys networks, known as Telecorporacion Salvadoreo (TCS), snare about 90 percent of the Salvadoran viewing audience ( Janus, 1998). Although he does not own a television monopoly, Eserskys long-time dominance of the broadcast system certainly gives his television operations quasimonopoly status. Esersky also extended his power in the Salvadoran media system beyond TCS. For instance, he owns most of the Salvadoran television cable systems. He also owns most of the countrys leading advertising agencies and public relations firms. Esersky also publishes a variety of specialty magazines, including El Salvadors version of TV Guide. To round out his Salvadoran media portfolio, Esersky also owns chemical labs and photo processing centers and a number of radio stations. The parallels between Esersky and Gonzlez Gonzlez are interesting to consider. First, Esersky appears to be cut from the same cloth as the founder of Mexicos Televisa, the late Emilio (El Tigre) Azcarraga Milmo. Like El Tigre, Esersky is a broadcasting pioneer in the region with strong links to one political party. In the case of Esersky, his allegiances are with the ultraconservative ARENA, a party linked strongly to El Salvadors oligarchy. Esersky has made no apologies for using TCS to promote the party and the various ARENA party presidents who have held office since the late 1980s. So like Gonzlez Gonzlez, Eserskys operating model seems forged in the success between broadcasters and strong centralized executive power, an example set by Televisa and the PRI in the latter portion of the 20th century. Also, like the examples previously cited in Guatemala, Esersky has ordered the news and information programming on TCS to be answerable to Salvadoran government officials. Finally, like Gonzlez Gonzlez, Esersky is known as a source of millions of dollars in free advertising time for politicians. The only difference is that Esersky reserves his support usually for politicians in ARENA, while Gonzlez Gonzlez has supported politicians from various parties in Guatemala. In either case, such aid often contributes greatly to electoral success in both countries for those supported by these powerful media owners.



Esersky has often used his considerable clout to mold El Salvadors media system. For instance, the Salvadoran media titan was one of the forces behind a government-sponsored advertising boycott begun in 1989 ( Janus, 1999). At the time, the ARENA government wanted to purge the media of outlets that did not hew directly to the partys accepted editorial line. TCS, backed by Eserskys advertising firms, threatened private advertisers who appeared in media deemed unacceptable by the party that they would not have access to the TCS audience unless they stopped such advertising. The boycott was aimed directly at El Salvadors TV12 network and the newspaper Co-Latino, outlets criticized for carrying leftist views during the civil war. After enduring eight years of boycott, which lasted far beyond the end of the war, TV12 finally buckled to the pressure and was sold to a consortium of Mexican investors (Inforpress CentroAmericana, 1998). Through his control of the Salvadoran cable system, Esersky has removed other domestic networks from cable distribution ( Janus, 1998). And his political ties have helped him block the sale of government television channels to private investors and stop other incursions of Mexican broadcasters into the Salvadoran market (Inforpress CentroAmericana, 1998). All in all, Esersky has demonstrated that he is willing to use his considerable economic and political power to influence El Salvadors political and media scene, in the classic style of Latin American media moguls of the past. By doing so, he has guaranteed that the television airwaves are controlled by forces friendly to the nations most conservative political party, the military, and the oligarchy.


The dominant television force in Nicaragua is the Sacasa family and its network, Canal 2. The Sacasas are prominent members of the Nicaraguan oligarchy and have produced presidents, politicians, and successful businessmen for most of Nicaraguas history. Although dictator Anastasio Somoza had opened state television in the country in 1955, Octavio Sacasa Sarria was granted the first commercial television license in the country in 1962 (Moore, 1995). Many of the Sacasa family were long-time members of Nicaraguas Liberal Party, which was notable for its support of more than 40 years of right-wing dictatorship under three different Somozas. The Sacasas were more than political allies of the dictators; some members of their family were related to the Somozas through marriage (Somoza, November 4, 1996). Canal 2 became the countrys dominant commercial broadcaster, and it laced its news and information with right-wing rhetoric supportive of the dictatorship (Rockwell & Janus, 2001). That all came to an end with the Sandinista revolution of 1979. The Sandinistas seized the Sacasas broadcast properties, and Octavio Sacasa went into exile in Miami, where he became a



leader in the effort to overthrow the Sandinistas. News reports linked him to backdoor CIA funding operations for counterrevolutionary forces (Chardy, June 24, 1985). In Miami, Sacasa also became friendly with other media moguls, including Gonzlez Gonzlez (Rockwell & Janus, 2001). After more than a decade of waiting, Sacasa would regain his television operation in 1990 when the Sandinistas lost an election and left power. With considerable reinvestment, the Sacasa family brought its broadcasting operation back to a position as the markets powerhouse. Ratings of the Nicaraguan media system during the 2001 elections showed Canal 2 won the lions share of the countrys audience with 78 percent preferring that network to all others, a slight increase from the ratings of 1998 (Universidad CentroAmericana, 2001). Initially, the return of the Sacasas to Nicaragua and Canal 2 meant a return of conservatism to the airwaves. The Sacasas were key supporters of President Arnoldo Alemn, the right-wing standardbearer of the Liberal Party who took office in 1996. In the wake of the Sacasas return to the television scene, conservative Gonzlez Gonzlez also began investing in Nicaraguan broadcast operations, acquiring three networks (Rockwell & Janus, 2001). As a three-station group, the Mexican media owners investments were the second most popular television operations. Together the three stations were the main preference of 12 percent of the countrys audience during the watershed 2001 election period (Universidad CentroAmericana, 2001). However, Canal 2 began shifting away from its overt right-wing stances during the latter portion of the 1990s. This was probably due to two factors: the changing level of professionalism among the media in the country and the excessive corruption of the Alemn administration. After the collapse of the newspaper La Tribuna, a publication that attempted a moderate tone but often took a Liberal Party tack, some of the newspapers staffers migrated to Canal 2, including editor Joel Gutierrez. Gutierrez came from a tradition honed in the United States at El Nuevo Herald in Miami. With moves toward a more objective style in news and information programming, soon Canal 2 was examining the financial practices of the president and his government. During his years in office, President Alemn managed to acquire a large amount of rural property in Nicaragua. Canal 2 and the investigative team at Nicaraguas La Prensa dogged the president about how he had managed to quickly acquire such wealth. Both media outlets probed how government money was being spent to improve the presidents properties and how government workers were being sidetracked to work on paving and other infrastructure improvements to Alemns land (Dye, Spence, & Vickers, 2000). Alemns government responded by aiming time-consuming tax audits at both media outlets. The Sacasas were eventually fined 5 million cordobas, or



about $400,000. A similar fine was levied against La Prensa for 6 million cordobas or about $500,000 (Smeets, 2001). Showing further independence from its strong Liberal Party tradition, Canal 2 also gives airtime to the independently produced Esta Semana, a magazine program. Esta Semana is anchored by Carlos Chamorro, the former editor of the now-defunct Sandinista paper Barricada. Along with the investigative reporting on the Alemn administration and Canal 2s attempts at more objective reporting during the 2001 Nicaraguan election campaign, allowing space for Chamorros program clearly showed a break with the networks right-wing traditions. However, this break with the past did not come without a price. The fines levied against Canal 2 and La Prensa were partially a reaction by the central government against media outlets showing more independence. John Keane predicts this behavior from the state by saying governments tend to want to protect the powers they have accumulated under authoritarian systems. Although arguably, the authoritarian system had been broken by the Sandinista revolution and Violeta Chamorros presidential triumph of 1990, many Nicaraguans felt Alemns corrupt government was actually a resurgence of somocismo (Garvin, September 12, 1999). Inevitably, the state lashes out at forces that would attempt to diminish its control, Keane notes, in an attempt to regain, if not amplify, authoritarian forms of control. Importantly, Nicaraguas dominant broadcast entity, Canal 2, was the only major broadcaster to break ranks with government in the region during this phase of neoliberal democratic transition. The Sacasas and Canal 2 also were the only broadcast targets for a reaction from the state in the form of Alemns tax audits. Although more sophisticated than the heavy-handed censorship of the Somoza era, this approach certainly gave pause to other media outlets, which might have turned to more independent paths in the region.


In this Central American country, again a dominant broadcast enterprise was constructed around the power of an authoritarian core state. In Panama, the dominant television networks are part of MEDCOM, a media holding company run by Nicols Gonzlez Revilla. Gonzlez Revilla was Panamas ambassador to the United States during the dictatorship of Omar Torrijos (Kempe, 1990). A successful businessman and politician, Gonzlez Revilla also had ties to Panamas conservative oligarchy. After his time in Washington, Gonzlez Revilla returned to Panama and established a television network, Canal 13, which supported Torrijos and later Manuel Noriegas dictatorship. After the 1989 invasion by the United States, which ousted Noriega and returned a democratic tradition to Panama, Gonzlez Revilla merged his net-



work with the broadcast operations of one of Panamas pioneer broadcasting families, the Eletas. The Eletas had started Panamas first radio station, RPC Radio, which remains a dominant news and information outlet to this day. The Eletas also had supported the dictatorships. Founded in 1961, the Eleta familys television network Canal 4 was generally regarded as Panamas top TV outlet during the Torrijos and Noriega years. By the late 1990s, the combined operations of MEDCOM (Canales 4 and 13) commanded 72 percent of Panamas viewing audience (Gonzlez Revilla, 1998). MEDCOM also included Gonzlez Revillas monopoly over the Panamanian cable television franchise, the firm Cable Onda (Dallas, 1997). In the latter portion of the 1990s, MEDCOM aligned itself with the government of President Raul Perez Balladares. Perez Balladares had served as finance minister of Panama during the Noriega years and was the leader of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD by its Spanish acronym) the party that had supported the dictators. Perez Balladares is also Gonzlez Revillas cousin. During the Noriega years, Perez Balladares invested in his cousins network, but he later divested himself of his holdings (Barry, Lindsay-Poland, Gandsegui, & Simonson, 1995). To any observer of the Panamanian media there was an alliance between MEDCOM and Perez Balladares. Many in the media began referring to MEDCOM as the monopoly, although it really only held quasimonopoly status in the Panamanian system (Gorriti, 1998). Although Panamanian television provides some of the most sophisticated fare on the isthmus, Panamanian observers said they detected subtle bias in how MEDCOMs outlets covered the Perez Balladares administration (Rockwell, 1998). In return, the Perez Balladares administration protected MEDCOM. When a cable firm in the United States, Cellular Vision Technology and Communications, sought entry into the Panamanian market, the move was blocked by the Panamanian government (Mitchell, April 2, 1997). Gonzlez Revilla has defended the protectionist policies as necessary. He has used globalization and the invasion of regional broadcasters, such as Televisa, Globo, or Gonzlez Gonzlez, as reasons to block more competition. We have very complex reasons for our business plan, he said. We must perfect our joint operations before someone from the outside can come into Panama and take advantage. With the end of the Perez Balladares administration in 1999, which left the PRD out of power, Panamas government seemed less inclined to help protect MEDCOM. This moved MEDCOM into the role of government critic during the corrupt administration of Mireya Moscoso, with the television enterprise leading the charge with investigative revelations. Much as Televisa has adjusted to a new role as not colluding with the state in Mexico, MEDCOM found its new role as a balance to state power but not completely in a democratic fashion. For instance, former president Guillermo Endara complained during the 2004 election cycle that MEDCOM outlets discriminated against him by slanting coverage, limiting his appearances, or



banning him altogether (Piano & Puddington, 2006). With the return of the PRD to power in 2004 with the dictators son Martin Torrijos serving as president, MEDCOM resumed its role as the voice of power in Panama.


Honduras and Costa Rica are not included in this analysis because their systems show some essential differences with broadcasting systems elsewhere on the isthmus. Honduras does have a broadcaster similar to Esersky in El Salvador or Sacasa in Nicaragua. In Honduras, Rafael Ferrari is one of the countrys broadcasting pioneers. In the 1950s, Ferraris HRN Radio was one of the top entertainment and news outlets in the country (Alisky, 19551956). Now, Ferrari owns five television stations, which blanket the country, from their bases in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. HRN Radio is now the flagship of a small fleet of radio stations, Emisoras Unidas. Ferrari has been a long-time force in Honduras Liberal Party, making at least one unsuccessful attempt to become the partys presidential candidate. However, at least two other major television broadcasting groups exist in Honduras, which does not give Ferrari the same market dominance as the monopolies and quasimonopolies in the rest of Central America. Also, one of those other television broadcasters had stronger ties with the Honduran military while that institution held sway during the 1980s and early 1990s. Perhaps Ferrari failed to become the head of at least a quasimonopoly because of a lack of trust between him and the military, an essential part of Foxs model for broadcasters working in tandem with authoritarian governments. Although Costa Rica has a strong broadcasting family, the Picado Cozzas, the makeup of that media system is also different. The Picado Cozzas do have a dominant network, Teletica 7, which gets most of the ratings in the morning hours and more than a third of the ratings in the afternoons and evenings (Rojas, 2000). The Picado Cozzas also own most of the Costa Rican television cable systems. All of their media properties together earned about $34 million in 2000, making the familys businesses the third highest generators of revenue in the countrys media. However, the Picado Cozzas compete directly with Gonzlez Gonzlezs Costa Rican television firm Repretel, which runs four of the countrys VHF networks (Villalobos Quirs, 1997). Repretel also had more advertising revenue than Teletica 7 in 2000. So although Teletica 7 is a dominant network, it is far from the quasimonopolies of El Salvador, Nicaragua or Panama, or the monopoly climate of Guatemala. Finally, Costa Rica has the oldest democracy in Latin America, so any examination of monopoly broadcasting and authoritarianism would seem to be misguided if it included this peaceful nation.




Excluding Costa Rica and Honduras, the four Spanish-speaking countries of Central America examined here seem to display some of the same political and cultural growth in regard to their television systems as Straubhaar (2001) describes in Brazil. In the Brazilian context, the military in the 1960s fostered the growth of a dominant broadcast entity on television as a way to create a sense of nationalism. The military government manipulated the advertising system to give Globo advantages. The result was that TV Globo became a multimedia center of great influence in Brazil and an international broadcast outlet of note. Globos dominance in Brazil has continued after the military era. As Fox and Straubhaar have both noted, when broadcasters working in tandem with authoritarian regimes are eventually judged to be too large a force, the state may move to reduce their influence. Thus after 15 years of help from the military in Brazil, Globo faced new competition introduced by its military sponsors of the past. This chapter has shown a similar evolution among dominant broadcasters in Central America. In Guatemala, the military and protodemocratic forces found it convenient to let a Mexican broadcaster build a television monopoly. In return, Gonzlez Gonzlez became a supporter of conservative politicians and a media defender of the central government. In Guatemala, Gonzlez Gonzlez remains tethered to the state because of his status as a foreigner. However, by lobbying for a position for his brother-in-law in the Portillo government, Gonzlez Gonzlez for the first time formally tied his operations to the Guatemalan state. Likewise, in El Salvador and Nicaragua, strong conservative governments built around military or authoritarian systems with strong ties to ruling oligarchies allied themselves with quasimonopoly broadcasters. The differing results in these two countrieswith Esersky still propping up ARENA and Sacasa taking a sometimes independent path from the Liberal Partymay reflect the different political evolution of both countries. In Nicaragua, the long-time grip of right-wing authoritarianism was broken by a left-wing revolution. In turn, the repressive nature of that regime was also overturned by democratic elections. This transition of governmental forms and the break from broadcasting imposed by the Sandinistas on the Sacasa family are important factors to consider. Likewise, Octavio Sacasas reform at his network and his negative reaction to the return of Liberal Party corruption also are important differences that set the Nicaraguan example aside from El Salvador. Despite corruption in ARENA, Esersky has been unwavering in his support of the party. However, given Eserskys strength in the Salvadoran market, he could arguably take a more independent path with TCS if he wished. With the end of the Perez Balladares administration in Panama, MEDCOM discovered it was still a dominant broadcasting force, despite the loss of



its political patrons at the polls. Forged as it was to support what remained of the one party linked to Panamas authoritarian past, MEDCOMs development also supports Foxs model for the evolution of monopoly and quasimonopoly broadcast systems. Arguably, MEDCOM helped engineer the electoral victory of President Martin Torrijos in 2004, as critics noted how it had spun coverage for the PRDs candidate. In El Salvador and Panama, the quasimonolopy broadcasters have aligned directly with political parties and seem pledged to keeping those parties prominent in the publics mind. Although in Panama the methods are more sophisticated and less direct than in El Salvador, from a party-standpoint, the results have been more effective in El Salvador. ARENA has dominated the national political polls since the mid-1980s in that country and continues to win the presidency with aid from TCS. Like Globo, TCS, Canal 2 in Managua, and MEDCOM in Panama all have benefited from state policies to favor these broadcast forces with special advertising breaks and other forms of protectionism. At times, all have repaid those governments handsomely in the form of controlled communication. In a similar manner, various Guatemalan governments have overlooked how Gonzlez Gonzlez flaunts the laws restricting monopolies and foreign ownership because he has been willing to hand over editorial and programming control of his networks to the state. What is missing in these countries is a tradition of public service and a need to follow an ethical path in service of a transition to democracy. Instead, all of the current monopoly and quasimonopoly systems in Central America were created in the service of authoritarianism, militarism, and conservatism. The goal would seem to be to crush any competition, especially competition that would espouse opposing political views or be a base for a different set of ideologies. As noted in the discussion of Leys critique of the neoliberal communication system, the goals of thesewith the recent exception of Sacasa in Nicaraguawould seem to be pacification of the audience. The drive toward market supremacy in each of these countries has led to a tradition of decades of television serving the authoritarian or semiauthoritarian state first, the market second, and the audience of citizens only as an afterthought.

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Bounds, A., Emmott, R., & Webb-Vidal, A. (2001, July 4). Press finds it a struggle to stay free in Latin America. The Financial Times (London), 3. Brosnan, G. (2001, June 9). Four men convicted in murder of Guatemalan bishop. The Washington Post, A14. Chardy, A. (1985, June 24). U.S. found to skirt ban on aid to Contras. Miami Herald. Dallas, J. (1997, April). Thin bit of America. Multichannel News International, 3(4), 26. Dunkerley, J. (1988). Power in the isthmus: A political history of modern Central America. London: Verso. Dye, D. R., with Spence, J. & Vickers, G. (2000) Patchwork democracy: Nicaraguan politics ten years after the tall. Cambridge, MA. Hemisphere Initiatives. Fitzgerald, M. (2000, April 10). Press freedom in Latin America: A survey. Editor & Publisher, 42. Fox, E. (1997). Latin American broadcasting: From tango to telenovela. Luton, UK: University of Luton Press. Fromson, M. (1996). Mexicos struggle for a free press. Communication in Latin America. In R. R. Cole (Ed.), Journalism, Mass Media, and Society (pp. 115138). Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources. Garvin, G. (1999, September 12). Scandals no problem for Nicaraguan leader: Alemans popularity parallels Clintons. Miami Herald as reprinted in the Houston Chronicle, A30. Gonzlez Revilla, N. Executive vice president of MEDCOM Holdings. Interview with author, August 1998, Panama City, Panama. Gorriti, G. (1998). Associate Editor of La Prensa. Interview with author: August, Panama City, Panama. Inforpress CentroAmericana. (1998, April). Principales Medios de Comunicacin (Honduras, El Salvador y Guatemala) (Principal Communication Media: Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala). Janus, N. (1998). Latin American Journalism Project: El Salvador. Washington: U.S. Agency for International Development. Janus, N. (1999, Fall). Advertising as Economic Censorship of Central Americas Media. The CASID Connection, Vol. 15, No. 1, Center for the Advanced Study of International Development, Michigan State University. Keane, J. (1991). The media and democracy. Cambridge, UK: Polity. Kempe, F. (1990). Divorcing the dictator: Americas bungled affair with Noriega. New York: Putnam. Leys, C. (1999). The public sphere and the media: Market supremacy versus democracy. L. Panitch and C. Leys (Eds.), Socialist Register 1999: Global Capitaliam versus Democracy (pp. 314335). Suffolk, UK: Merlin. McChesney, R. W. (1997) Corporate media and the threat to democracy. New York: Seven Stories. Mitchell, J. (1997, April 2). U.S. slams Panama for investor policies: Cable TV decision spurs America to take action. Journal of Commerce, 3A. Moore, H. E., Jr. (1995). Democracy, the media and politics in Nicaragua. Miami: Latin American Journalism Program, Florida International University.



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Emerging Media Transformations in the New Europe

Past and Future Challenges


INTRODUCT ION HE LAST DECADE of the 20th century constitutes a two-fold revolution for the southeastern, eastern, and central European countries engaging civil society transformation, developing democratic institutions, and liberalizing the media. These revolutionary transformations from state control toward democratic reforms led to dramatic consequences for media systems in existence for decades in these countries. Dismantling of national broadcasting systems, promotion of pluralistic media, new venues for transnational broadcast partnerships, and negotiation of the nature of free press and freedom of speech represent some of the most drastic changes to be found in most emerging democratic nations in the New Europe.1 The impact of media on societies in transition carries recognized potential for democratization and freedom of press in the area. Yet cultural practices and application of policies and challenges of past and present political life reveal the complexity of media transformation in eastern and central Europe. From Communist state-owned media to private and/or independent media, from censored and governmentally controlled to pluralistic and open to civic




dialogues, from rigid to flexible, deregulated media markets, media fills important gaps in social and political communication, serving as a powerful factor of consolidation of democracy (Andreev, 2003). Since 1989, dramatic, rapid changes from Communist to post-Communist politics have created scope for cultural, political, and public transformation on media literacy, information access, and media practices, specific to national and international challenges in global times. The fall of Communism and its consequences created undeniable changes impacting not only citizens of the countries in the region but also scholarship from all walks of academia, in the West and East alike. Nearly two decades later, countries from this area continue to change borders, political systems, and sociocultural dimensions to address democratization and civic participation for all ethnic groups in more open cultural contexts (Marin, 2000). Adding to such dramatic changes, mass media and information and communication technology (ICT), primarily the Internet and technological advances of the last decade of the 20th century, present a complex arena for civic participation in the region. Research on civil society (see, for instance, Blankson, 2002; Kraidy, 2002; Lengel 2006; Lister & Carbone, 2006) suggests that citizens are struggling in their complex negotiation processes in relation to the transformations they are experiencing locally, regionally, and globally. These transformations often occur against a backdrop of relative insecurity, continuing to remain pertinent to the civic and democratic problematic prevalent in the New Europe (Lengel, 1998). In spite of economic instability, ethnic tensions, political turbulence, and human rights threats, citizens living with changes in their societies seek opportunities to develop a new discourse through which a society forms and declares its values and identity (Kluver & Powers, 1999). Media plays a fundamental part in this discovery, serving a crucial role in the process of democratization. Much research has been conducted on the impact of the media on transformations in the New Europe since the fall of Communist rule (see for instance, Andreev, 2003; Boyd-Barrett & Rantanen, 2000; Hammond & Herman, 2000; Koltsova, 2006; Lengel, 2000; Marin, 2000; Rantanen, 2001, 2002). Scholars and media practitioners alike argue that ICT advances intercultural sensitivity, growth in participatory democracy, mutual tolerance, and open, peaceful dialogue. Conversely, like more traditional media, ICT can act as a vehicle for increasing ethnic, cultural and political conflict, particularly in regions historically known for their cultural or political tensions. While most of the countries of southeastern, eastern and central Europe have experienced or continue to experience political transition from communist to post-Communist governance, the issues relevant to media transformation remain somewhat grouped within similar lines of investigation, once the role of media remains within inherently connected to democratic practices. Policy summits, most of which have been associated with the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (UN WSIS), identify the need for



media policies in order to create institutionalized ways to promote civil society and a new global public sphere. Educational programs to promote professionalism and the creation of a new body of media specialists, along with media literacy in the New Europe, are additional components of this complex mosaiclike picture of media transformation in societies in transition. The Balkan war in the 1990s and the dissolution of former Republic of Yugoslavia reveal how challenges due to ethnic conflicts bring yet another dimension of the role of media in new political structures in the area. The European Union accession policies affect directly most countries from eastern and central Europe. By 2004, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland were members of the EU, while Romania and Bulgaria will have made this transition by 2007. These political changes reflect new dimensions and challenges for the media transformation in such countries in transition. What are, then, some of the most important dimensions and challenges reflecting the role of media as it is changing all over the New Europe? How do media systems transition from state-owned to private, independent, free and/or open to free market practices? How do international policies, national institutions, and educational venues reflect the challenging task of a new global media? Carrying a threefold perspective on the media systems as they engage emerging democracies and issues of globalization, the chapter starts by investigating some of the policies developed specifically for the New Europe. This chapter features media transformation in terms of policies relevant to southeastern, eastern and central Europe, along with the relationship between media and civil society organizations required for emerging democracies. Accordingly, the chapter explores the impact of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (UN WSIS) on the region to develop an understanding of some of the challenges of what the UN calls the global information society revolution and its impact on international communities. Looking at how media role changes in New Europe, the chapter features ethnic conflict, education, and media literacy as opportunities for civic engagement via media and ICT, as well as challenges to civil engagement required in emerging democracies. The third part of the chapter also sets Romania as a case study of media systems in relation to the dramatic changes from a state-controlled public arena toward pluralistic and liberalized opportunities for Internet access, private, independent, local, and national media. The focus on media challenges in Romania suggests the fundamental role of media in all societies in transition from this area, engaging complex transformation in order to achieve democratic public life. Hence, the chapter presents a threefold cultural perspective on media systems in the region, namely, the necessary international and national policies to create a new global media and a new global public sphere; cultural and professional challenges most societies in transition face in post-Communist times along with educational programs to create public awareness and to



open information venues for democratic participation. Emblematic for the media challenges in the area, Romania as a case study provides insight into the historic legacy of state-controlled public media while exemplifying new challenges specific to societies in transition.


In his Millennium Report of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan (2000) announced the
central challenge we face today is to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for the entire worlds people, instead of leaving billions of them behind in squalor. Inclusive globalization must be built on the great enabling force of the market, but market forces alone will not achieve it. It requires a broader effort to create a shared future, based upon our common humanity in all its diversity.

Most cultural critics, however, would argue that globalization is anything but a positive force, but rather it is a systemic intersection of social, economic, and political processes that connect the world and world cultures while simultaneously reinforcing hegemonic norms (Bhabha, 1996; Giddens, 1990, 2002; Said, 1994). To examine and critique these concerns, among others, the UN WSIS was organized to provide an opportunity for heads of state, UN officials, industry leaders, media practitioners, and civil society organizations to develop an understanding of the global information society revolution and its impact on international communities. The concept for the UN WSIS began as an initiative of the 1998 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference. Delegates at the conference highlighted the concerns that the gap between information haves and have nots was widening. At the same time, delegates findings confirmed that telecommunications were playing increasingly important political, economic, social, and cultural roles (Burch, 2004). The UN WSIS points toward a new prototype for global governance, fundamentally characterized by information and communication. A keystone element of this paradigm is represented by global civil society (Burch, 2004; Lengel, Ben Hamza, Cassara, & El Bour, 2005; Raboy, 2004, 2005; Selian, 2004, Siochru, 2004; Weitzman, 2004). Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of the more than 6 billion of the worlds population enjoys the benefits brought by the information age (Hogan, 2003, p. 6). The digital divide that threatens the access and flow of information in a world that would be ideally characterized by an inclusive, global information society represents a growing concern



for many developing countries, where particular political and economic situations prevent or delay this innovative process of society/civilization realignment. Many eastern European countries are still experiencing the pain of the economic transition from Communism to capitalism. Apart from the obvious technological and informational discrepancies between the New Europe and more industrialized nations (the so-called West-East digital divide), there is also an East-East digital divide between nations or different groups of populations within certain nations. For example, Estonia and the Czech Republic show comparatively smaller digital divides than Romania or Poland (Husing, 2004). Besides the economic differences across the region, other factors such as cultural heritage, different levels of civil liberties, and users age and educational level also figure into the East-East divide (Balint & Karvalics, 2000; Dimitrova, 2005; Husing, 2004). It is important to acknowledge some influencing factors of West-East and East-East digital divides in Europe that were in place during socialism (Dragulanescu, 2002; Nelles, 2001). The embargo on computer technology acquisition in Communist countries imposed by the West, for example, prevented the Eastern bloc from obtaining Western technology that could be used for military purposes. As a result, bloc countries benefited only from technology manufactured in other socialist countries. Also, governmental policies entirely dictated the use of communication technology. More than 40 years the creation, dissemination, and storage of information fell under strict government control (Dragulanescu, 2002). Other underlying factors that set the digital barriers between West-East, and East-East include lack of adequate financial support for hardware purchasing and prohibitive cost of Internet access, lack of social awareness about the value of communication needs, drastically limited budgets for ICT research and development, and inadequate Web content in eastern European languages (Dragulanescu, 2002). Despite these challenges, there are indicators that attest to the possibility to bridge the informational gap, such as the growing body of tech-savvy youth interested in ICT, the rapid dissemination of new, specialized ICT periodicals, and advanced training programs to familiarize users with the ICT concepts, methods, and models. Finally, philanthropy is a short- and mediumterm solution to the digital gap, enabling the region to receive free or cheap, new or used ICT from western Europe and the United States (Centrul Euroregional pentru Democratie, 2002). In terms of the informational gap between western Europe and former socialist European countries, a more authentic European integration would have a positive effect on the present marginalization tendencies (Nelles, 2001, p. 237). Nelles (2001) contends that communication challenges for the region have historical continuities but are also unique and overwhelming as globalization. Further, there has been neither sufficient public debate on the implications nor sufficient communication research on these concerns (p. 237).



An important part of the UN WSIS has been the participants work to develop an understanding of the global impact of ICT and to create technology policies beneficial for the areas presented. And while access to information is increasingly vital for development and prosperity, the new divide in the world is not just between high-tech countries and low-tech countries; there are also what Tharoor (2002, p. 1) calls no-tech countries, and their prospects are grim. Yet the most striking global divide of today, Tharoor suggests, is information inequality. The new poverty line is drawn this side of the computer keyboard. The UN Index of Human Development indicates poverty is increasing rather than decreasing. Along with the poverty gap, the knowledge gap, about which Tharoor speaks, is evident in the New Europe. To prepare for the first phase of the UN WSIS, which was held in Geneva December 1012, 2003, a Pan-European Regional Ministerial Conference was held in Bucharest November 79, 2002. The conference was organized with the support of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the UN Economic Commission for Europe; participants included representatives of the national government ministries and public administration units of the 55 member countries of the Economic Commission for Europe, as well as international and civil society organizations and the private ICT sector. The Pan-European Ministerial Conference in Bucharest focused on key issues specific to the SEE region, while at the same time addressing global concerns on the knowledge gap (Nastase, 2002). Representatives at the Bucharest meeting also worked to strengthen cooperation between the participating European states and began a common ICT action plan, or Bucharest Declaration, specifically titled, Vision of an Information Society beneficial to all (E-inclusion). The declaration prioritized the following principles: (1) securing access to information and knowledge, (2) promoting universal access at affordable cost, (3) promoting linguistic diversity and cultural identity, (4) developing human capacity through education and training, (5) setting up an enabling environment, including legal, regulatory and policy frameworks, (6) building confidence and security in the use of ICTs, and (7) addressing global issues. The implications of organizing meetings on global information such as the Bucharest Conference in 2002 reveal that an exchange of such knowledge and experience affords smaller countries the opportunity to learn from one another through peer dialogue (Member States of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, 2002). Another benefit for the New Europe is solid regional strategies that can allow for (1) new, larger ICT markets to emerge, (2) increased private sector investment, (3) enhanced business competitiveness for the region, and (4) adoption of new and advanced ICT through the notion of leapfrogging2 (Member States of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, 2002).



Such concerns of emerging marketing and private-sector investment and growth are behind what the Romanian government calls the Transition to Information Society, one of the strategic national goals of the first half of the new millennium. Specifically, the government aims to improve the quality of citizen services and increase competitiveness of the Romanian economy (WSIS-Romania, 2002). Along with specific national goals, the government is also complying with the strategic goals defined in the frame of the eSEEurope Action Plan and eEurope+, an initiative dedicated to countries in process of EU accession, as well as the region-specific recommendations emerging from the Warsaw Ministerial Conference of May 2000. Romanias priorities for the Transition to Information Society include the use of ICT to (1) modernize public administration and services; (2) improve living standards particularly in areas such as health and medicine, transportation, and environmental protection; (3) improve the ICT work force and employment opportunities in not only the ICT but other industries; (4) enhance the educational system and digital curricula. The priority of using ICT to enhance education was also addressed in the Halkidiki Declaration on the Relationship of International Education and Human Rights created in Halkidiki, Greece in October 2002. The declaration was authored by several delegates at the Symposium on the Challenges of Internationalizing Higher Education in South Eastern Europe, a group that included SEE government leaders, and representatives of leading NGOs, and faculty and administrators of institutions of higher education in the region.3 The declaration, the first international instrument that explicitly addresses the linkage between human rights and international education, announces the importance of mutual cooperation in resolving SEE regional issues affecting international education and SEE student mobility. Like the Bucharest Declaration, the Halkidiki Declaration emphasizes the need for pooling knowledge and collaborating to support learning and student mobility in the region (Halkidiki Declaration, 2003). Such initiatives attest the transformative possibilities of media to encourage peaceful global communication and enhance the development of transnational public policies (Raboy, 2004; Siochru, 2004).


Moving from Communist to post-Communist societies, countries in southeastern Europe in particular continue to feature how ethnic tensions and political borders provide implications on civic discourse, on media, and on its transformative powers to assist democratic practices. In an article on the impact of central and eastern European media on ethnopolitical conflicts, Dus=an Reljic (2000) argues, It is not surprising then that ethnic tensions



and separatist demands are on the increase throughout the world. In ethnically diverse communities, the media often serves to reinforce existing differences and thus accelerate a disintegrating effect on the homogeneity of the population. It goes without saying that southeastern Europe is one such region where ethnic tensions have had such a disintegrating effect. Primarily in the last decade, political and civil changes in the region have dramatically altered citizens perspectives on democracy, civic participation, and cultural tensions. Throughout the New Europe, hate speech has been increasingly prevalent online (Gaines, 2000). Racist and nationalistic discourse continues to be disseminated on the regional media. Press, radio, and TV programs all exacerbate already existing tensions (Thompson, 1994; Pech, 2000). George Krimsky (1996), cofounder of the International Center for Journalists, notes that irresponsible and inaccurate journalism (or its nefarious cousin, the hate-mongering media) can fan the flames of violence in ethnic or communal confrontations. Irresponsible journalism has played such a vast role in the increase of conflict in the region, that media practitioner Maida Berbic of Radio Kameleon in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, has announced, The media started the war in the former Yugoslavia; they will have to end it, too (cited in Burton, 2001). Yet, while some media venues embrace the political or cultural language of conflict, which in turn heightens ethnic and nationalistic tensions, there are efforts to link media and education to combat ethnic tension and increase cultural sensitivity and awareness in the region. Lubecka (2000) suggests that the newly empowered local governments show much interest in creating citizens who value and understand democracy, its privileges and duties, and who, because of participatory competencies, help bring reforms. Media provide significant support to create a new awareness of acting civis (p. 37). Polish television series, such as Young People Vote, Civis Polonus, and The River Speaks, are geared to educate youth in the region and raise awareness about civil society in adult as well as youth audiences (Lubecka, 2000; Remy & Strzemieczny, 1997). In the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the television series Nashe Maalo [Our neighborhood] has been reportedly reducing ethnic tension in the nation (IJNet, 2000). Reaching 95 percent of Macedonian households, Nashe Maalo portrays ethnic Albanian, Macedonian, Roma, and Turkish children playing together harmoniously, hence, creating the civic ground to diminish ethnic tensions from the area. Research indicates that ethnic Macedonian children, after viewing Nashe Maalo, were more willing to invite children from the other ethnic identities represented in the program into their homes. In this case, the results speak for themselves, providing a convincing picture on how media can impact conflict resolution in an area torn among too many ethnic and cultural tensions in the last decade (Common Ground Productions, 2002).



Thus, ethnic reconciliation, postconflict recovery, and civil society building are the goals for programs such as Nashe Maalo. They are also components of an on-going vast project established by the Office for Central and Southeastern Europe and the Institute of World Affairs and supported by the Center for Civic Society in South-eastern Europe. The organizations have established three Centar za gradansku suradnju (Centers for Civic Cooperation) in eastern Croatia and the northeastern Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina to ease ethnic tension and facilitate minority refugee return. Each center is overseen by a group of multiethnic coordinators, board of educators, media practitioners, and business leaders who develop programs to raise awareness about ethnic discord and the possibilities of conflict resolution. The centers provide the institutional vehicle through which people can translate good intentions into practical activities (Primorac, n.d.). In their efforts to reach ethnic and cultural groups, the centers set precedence for tolerance and cooperation strategies that are critically needed in southeastern Europe. The Centar za gradansku suradnju in the Bosnia-Herzegovina municipality of Gradac=ac, in conjunction with the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, involves media practitioners in efforts such as the Citizen Action Election Program. Created in response to the Code on Media Rules for Election developed by the Sarajevo-based Independent Media Commission (IMC), the program aims for all broadcast and print media to give fair coverage and equitable access to all registered political parties, coalitions, and independent candidates in elections at any level in Bosnia and Herzegovina (IMC, 2000, p. 1).4 Conflict resolution in the region continues to appear at the forefront of the challenging tasks for media and mediated communication approaches. While some of these examples invoke local access and/or participation to develop intercultural awareness and sensitivity, the overall challenge media is faced in ethnically sensitive southeastern Europe remains an important dimension, providing a forum for civic discourse and more democratic venues in the making.


While media transformation remains a controversial and critical issue for the entire world, for the countries of the New Europe, it is even more important to create media rather than merely critique it. Media literacy and educational programs constitute fundamental factors in empowering more and more participants to the cultural, civic, and global discourse. After all, media and ICT access remain in developing countries key dimensions for civic participation in the world, as the UN WSIS emphasized. Hence, literacy and education programs reveal the importance of the role of media for most countries in transition.



UNITED for Intercultural Action, the European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees, promotes justice through various strategies such as joint training sessions with antiracist NGOs, journalists unions, and schools of journalism. It also posts information leaflets on its website to teach activism and activists how to take action against injustice. The leaflets, designed for easy production and dissemination, offer practical advice to activists on how to communicate and develop relationships with media practitioners, write and send press releases, understanding target audiences, and educating journalists to the mission and goals.5 Another initiative linking the creation of media and education is the Confidence-building Measures (CBM) program, established following the 1993 Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Council of Europe in Vienna. One of the main objectives emerging from the Summit was protection of national minorities. This resulted in the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities drafted by the Council of Europe and the CBM, which was designed to improve tolerance and understanding between the diverse communities of Europe (Council of Europe, 1999). The CBM addresses tolerance and understanding in various areas including the media, human rights, education, culture, and transfrontier cooperation. The program raises awareness about misrepresentation of national minorities by the media. It also provides support for project development by NGOs, local and regional authorities, media, and educational organizations. It funds projects which, in practical and concrete ways, advance knowledge of intercultural communication, media criticism, human rights, democratic citizenship, and provide opportunities for people from different communities to work together towards a common objective (Council of Europe, 1999). Media-related educational projects funded by the Council of Europes Confidence-building Measures are in place in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, Latvia, Bulgaria and Lithuania. Currently, media-related programs record large interest and participation in the region. For instance, journalism programs from Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzgovina, promote education goals directly connected to human rights awareness and the role of independent mass media. Another educational project is represented by 1999 Latvia seminar sponsored by Council of Europe, a seminar engaged to create awareness on the international standards in the field of minority rights. Aligned to the same Confidence-building Measures, Bulgaria contributes media-related programs that feature Roma population, for instance a documentary about the cultural modern identity of Roma people and a program for Roma public relations.6 Realizing that educational efforts need be developed in relation to media, computer mediated communication, and media access to information, various institutions and centers in eastern and central Europe identify as a primary task perspectives that incorporate the above mentioned challenges to democ-



ratic participation. Accordingly, one of the goals of the Centar za grad\ansku suradnju (Centers for Civic Cooperation) in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina is to educate citizens about media and their social and political impact on local, regional, and national audiences. Aligning to similar strategies, efforts such as a Bosnian media development program overseen by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) provide equipment and education for journalists, through training programs in Bosnia and in the United States, and through fellowships to attend American universities. The Soros Media Center and the BBC also provide training and education programs for media practitioners (Burton, 2001). More needs to be done, however, to increase media literacy among nonpractitioners in the New Europe. Further, more needs to be done from within the region. Researchers have analyzed the uncritical adoption of Westernmedia style in emerging democracies. Palmer (2001), for example, suggests that in societies with severe ethnic divides, democratic institutions need to go far beyond standard democratic procedures to ensure adequate ethnic representation and minimize conflict between ethnic groups (p. 3). Part of the media transformation in the area, increasing numbers of organizations link media and education for civil participation in the region. Along with all educational programs in the New Europe during the last decade, dramatic changes within the framework of civil and civic transformations also impact education goals and missions in the region. By bringing to the academic table issues pertinent to a more inclusive intercultural and democratic perspective, the challenges for curricular development in higher education reflect fundamental questions on the processes old and new alike that face students, faculty, and education administrations in their attempts to articulate civic and democratic changes (Marga, 1994; Svejnar, 2000). Since education and its formative processes remain some of the most important issues articulated in terms of ICT available for faculty and students, how can media and ICT contribute to higher education curricula and faculty development? And also, how do these challenges articulate effective strategies to reflect the need for faculty and students alike to diminish ethnic tensions and create more interculturally sensitive participants able to engage in civil and civic discourse in and of the world? Accordingly, looking at some of the challenges pertinent to the transformation of higher education, mediated communication, and intercultural dimensions of participation in the new millennium, this study emphasizes the imperative for more intercultural training and media literacy for faculty, in particular, within academic institutions in SEE. That is not to say that such learning experiences do not exist in the region. On the contrary, there are some important educational programs in SEE reflecting or assessing intercultural awareness and sensitivity in light of media and new technological advances in the world. While the current efforts at bridging media, education



and civic participation in the region are a sound beginning, we argue for more curricular development and training programs for faculty from the region, to advance computer-mediated strategies for intercultural awareness and cooperation as well as further exploring the usage of media pertinent to an open and free(d) world. What are then some of the challenges for higher education in terms of novel political, social, and cultural perspectives defining central and eastern Europe and southeastern Europe? Within the context of transition, the challenges for education in the region continue to be articulated within a large body of literature on the subject (see for instance, Bollag, 1999; Hermochova, 1997; Kuklinski, 1993; Lajos & Szucs, 1998; Mannova, Preston, & Lengel, 2000; Marga, 1994; Marin, 2001, 2002; Svejnar, 2000). Before 1989, a centralized system of education was the prevailing model pertinent to all New European countries, emphasizing more pure theory areas of study and ignoring applied media studies and skills development. Further, university life generally, and university curricula specifically, remained isolated from the world outside Communist rule (Hermochova, 1997). Marga (1994) former minister of education in post-Communist Romania, reminds us that that state centralized all university matters, including curriculum decisions, and maintained a separation of teaching and research. This separation resulted in curricula that did not benefit from new knowledge emerging from research. Also, the state, in its control of university curricula, forbade topics such as media, which it regarded as a direct link to the West. As mentioned, in 1989 not only were the political and social rights for citizens liberated in the New Europe but also in media and the academy a need was sparked to reconstruct and/or create programs and perspectives that feature intrinsic relationships among education, culture, and democracy. It was not easy, however. Funding problems, challenges resulting from privatization, and difficulties with new management structures all played a part to slow or even halt efforts to incorporate novel concepts, new technological advances, and increased opportunities for students and faculty to connect with other communities both within and outside the region. During the complex processes affecting education standards in the more open New Europe, the challenges have occurred in curriculum design, teaching, and research standards as Hermochova (1997) points out. However, there have also been additional conceptual and cultural problems, due to the advances in media and ICT, particularly increased information access through the Web. Not surprisingly, there are numerous educational programs sponsored mostly by international institutions and organizations, aiming to assist all SEE countries in their efforts toward better education and democratic participation in the world. In Europe, organizations and institutions such as the PHARE Democracy Program,7 Centre Europen pour lEnseignement Suprieur (UNESCO-



CEPES) in Bucharest, the European Cultural Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Euroregional Center for Democracy, and the Research Center for Interethnic relations at Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj, Romania, address precisely the problematic of education and civil participation in the region.8 The Intercultural Institute of Timisoara, the UNESCOCEPES, the Higher Education Support Program, and the Euroregional Center for Democracy ( provide important opportunities for citizens in the region to participate in civil society; to become educated in terms of democratic approaches to social, cultural, and political approaches on the tensions and transitions in the area; and to offer increased awareness of media representation.9 An example is the Intercultural Institute of Timisoara, sponsored by the Council of Europe (IIT, n.d.). Targeting civic involvement at the K12 level, The IIT projects carry more than 20 programs, including programs on critical media awareness, such as the Press and Tolerance. Another is Media and Intercultural Communication, a distance learning program offered by Southeast European Media Center in Sofia. The program is free of charge to SEE students, supported by the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe (European University Viadrina, 2002). Most of these programs reflect strategic actions to reestablish tolerance and coexistence in an area where recent wars and social and cultural disintegration contributed numerous interethnic and international conflicts. All such institutes and organizations articulate the imperative for a broader perspective on the role of media while inviting students and academics alike to partake within the problematic of global democracy. Yet, media literacy and media education continue to remain challenging tasks for institutions and media practitioners in societies in transition. The list of challenges remains open, adding to previously mentioned tasks rapid changes specifically related to European Union Integration or Accession in media literacy; e-literacy; drastic changes in media interactions; pluralistic voices of private, independent, and state-owned media; freedom of information and speech; e-practices and global, national, and/or local media policies. Media transformation as part of the future New Europe? Coman (2004b) identifies the phenomena discussing problems that face Romania for the approaching EU Integration 2007:
The challenges of integration imply a complex dialectic between the local and the global, between the traditional and the new, between continuity and discontinuity, between known cultural models and less known cultural models, between the development autonomy not limited by external factors and a development regulated by certain rules, and perhaps, controlled by certain external agents. All these generate . . . certain trends, which sometimes tend to be paradoxical. (p. 212)




Romanias current media system appears to be in direct relation with the dramatic changes from a state controlled public arena toward a pluralistic and liberalized media. Accordingly, opportunities for Internet access, private, independent, local, and national venues along with novel roles and reforms create profound impact on the Romanian media arena, the media arena of a society in transition. The subsection on media policies and global trends features some of the international events held in Romania in the last years, such as the Pan-European Regional Ministerial Conference held in Bucharest, 2002. Another summit hosted by Romania 2005 is the third Summit on Mobile Open Society through Wireless Telecommunications (MOST). The MOST program, set up mostly for organizations and participants from central and eastern Europe, seeks ways and means of building a civic society, improving educational systems, and with implementing efficient ways to foster the flow of knowledge necessary for global times (Oaca, 2005). As most societies in transition from the New Europe, Romania intends to remain in open dialogue in order to take part in the new global governance promoted by UN WSIS, in Geneva 2003, promoting policies for media transformation that reflect cultural, political, and economic changes of the times.


The overall media transformation in Romania pertains to fundamental media adjustments necessary for all societies in transition in the New Europe. Thus, like in most countries from eastern and central Europe, Romanian media engages in complex changes at both the national and the local levels, affecting institutional policies and cultural and professional practices, all in order to achieve democratic public life. Without a doubt, Romanian media transformation features an essential and profound turn. From hosting important global summits on media, creating educational programs for media literacy via NGOs and other venues, developing schools of journalism and new media specialists, Romanian media role changes continuously toward the pluralistic, free of excessive ownership control and censorship, dedicated to open communication channels for high-quality democratic media. Since 1989, and like in most societies in transition, Romanian media transformation covers institutional and professional levels for the entire spectrum of media activities: print, television and broadcasting, new media and media technology. Extensive media analyses and assessment studies by Starck



(1996, 1999), Mollison (1998), Frumusani (1999), Coman (2004a), Petcu (1999, 2004), and Gross (1996, 2002) focus specifically on transformation reflecting on the implications of international, national, and local changes of the country from Communist to post-Communist times. Most researchers agree that the newly developed Romania media system remains a growing process, dedicated to becoming integrated within the European and global mass media system. Mollison (1998) indicates that television broadcasting improved in recent years due to the development of alternative networks, access to Western-style programming and production techniques, the rise of private, independent broadcasters, and the international exchange of broadcast content presenting a detailed picture of the extent to which TV stations had developed in recent years (p. 128). Coman (2004a) also highlights the booming development of media institutions, a process similar yet again to most media systems in the New Europe. De Bruycker (1996) captures the twofold process of media transformation related specifically to television and radio broadcasting. He says that the rapid process of privatization in the Central and Eastern European countries involves both positive and negative aspects: positive, with the multiplication of stations, and the loss of mass media monopoly, as well as the creation of national audio-visual markets by domestic investors; negative, to the extent that the model dominating the privatization process, that of the entertainment television, is based on advertising resources (cited in Coman, 2004b, p. 221). Taking Romania as a case study for the transitions in press systems, Starck (1999) says that in all transitional societies, print media carries a heavy burden, playing a lead role educating and informing the citizenry (p. 32). The trajectory of the Romanian press system is spectacular, overcoming the Communist propaganda-style of writing; economic shortages on paper, capital, modern equipment and trained personnel; along with old habits of Communist practices involving accuracy of information (Gross, 1996; Starck, 1999). After all, a brief historical retrospective of the Romanian press situation prior to 1989 attests to the incredible transformation occurring there:
For the casual observer of the Romanian scene, it is difficult to comprehend the gulf spanning the 5 years from 19891995. During the Ceausescu reign, all typewriters had to be registered with the police who kept a sample page typed from each machine for tracing. In 1989, three editors were sentenced to death when they tried to publish an anti-Ceausescu edition of the newspaper Romania Libera [Free Europe]: the December revolution intervened to keep the death sentence from being carried out. (Stokes, cited in Starck, 1998, p. 32)

However, the Romanian press system did not contribute to the change of the political system in Romania, for it must be remembered that the



Romanian journalists did not contribute to the fall of the Communist regime, as it was the case with other former-communist countries. The Romanian journalists merit was only to accelerate the process of breaking with the Communism immediately after the removal of the representatives of the former Communist political power (Petcu, 2004, p. 236). Only after the Romanian revolution of 1989 did the role of the press overcome its political past. For, with the emergence of democracy and the free market in early 1990, the news organizations become more and more committed to align to more Western models of free, democratic press, thus playing a crucial role in the newly developed public sphere. Both Petcu (2004) and Coman (2004a, 2004b) acknowledge that Romanian political and cultural changes of the last sixteen years owe a lot to press developments, to news organizations, to dedicated press professionals committed to new models of press activities imperative in a democratic society. From Communist to progressive, the evolution of the Romanian press system attests the fundamental structural and professional changes in print media in societies in transition. Petcu (1999, 2004), Splichal (1994), and Gross (2002) acknowledge the development of journalism, journalism programs, and news reporting in post-Communist Romania, a new press, a progressive press, a drastically changed press system able to engage freedom of speech and democracy in the new public sphere of Romania. In 2003, around 2000 newspapers were published in Romania, a number that clearly invokes a thriving presence of print media, an evolutionary process inherently connected to the entire reconfiguration of public life. Romanian press media is developing even more, due to the increasing professionalism of its practitioners and the maturity and sophistication of its audiences (Petcu, 2004).


Such fundamental media transformation in post-Communist Romania does not come without its challenges. Here again, the challenges facing media systems come from both the political and the economic situation, from national and international regulations in place, from education or the lack of educational programs, as well as from professional retraining to assist the entire mass media system to function in novel contexts of a global public sphere. Media values, training of new media professionals, change of mass media regulations in relation to European Union rules, and transitions in the media reflecting economic, social, and political life are challenges that continue to face Romania. The Communist past of southeastern European countries affected not only the ways media had to adjust and address tensions in national arenas but



also ways in which media ethics have to be approached in creating new practices along with the consolidation of democracy. For Romania, the question of how news organizations and professionals are dealing with ethics at a time when the country is experiencing rapid societal transformation remains extremely current. Most scholars investigating media transformation in Romania agree that journalistic and media ethics continue to remain a challenge for the future (see Frumusani, 1999; McCracken, 2005). Starck (1999) asks, [I]n transitional societies, such as those of Central and Eastern Europe, do ethical considerations rely primary on the individual journalist, or are organizations developing institutional mechanisms to deal with ethical matters? (p. 29). Coman (2004a) offers a cautionary perspective on media bourgeoisie and proletariat in postCommunist Romania, as he identifies a new body of media professionals engaged in new power relations to legitimize control over the professional field. Discussing the relative independence of media in post-Communist New Europe, and comparing private-owned versus state-owned media, Andreev (2003) points out that media can be concentrated in the hands of people close to the political regime who do not necessarily aim at improving democratic performance but are primarily profit-driven (p. 1). Analyzing similar tensions in the Romanian free press, Mungiu-Pippidi (2000) writes that the entrepreneurs running Romanians new media appear savvier than the politicians they elect. And the press need not worry about majorities: it can bully whoever is in power. Criticize the media, and how do tabloid entrepreneurs . . . respond? That you cant expect the press to behave any better than its government (p. 99). Such questions remain salient, as Romanian media is marked by contradictory evolutions that result from the reconfiguration of the New Europe. In book-length studies on Romanian press, Gross (1996, 2002) presents how new journalism education calls for transformation of programs, policies, and practices. Several universities, such the University of Bucharest and West University of Timisoara, offer journalism degrees that train future professionals to engage in media dialogue in the global public sphere. And yet, professional preparation, the concept of objectivity, and current practices continue to reflect ills of societies in transition, such as politics, corruption, low salaries, and power relations. Andreev (2003) warns that the present picture of media reform is far from optimistic; and difficult social and political conditions are not altogether conducive to the consolidation of democracy (p. 2). Thus, challenges presented to media systems continue, as new media rules and regulations await Romanias integration process into the European Union. The progress of ICTs in post-Communist countries reflects uneven economic and technological developments, leading to further challenges (Vartanova, 2002). Digital inequality and discrepancies in ICT access to reshape media systems are some of the new challenging perspectives that await post-Communist Romania, along with most societies in transition of the New Europe.




While emphasizing the important role media and ICT play in enhancing civic discourse and democratic participation, this chapter articulates the need for better understanding of the complex relationships created among media policies, education, and practices in the New Europe. The chapter has grouped three critical perspectives on the media systems. First, as they engage emerging democracies and issues of globalization and investigate regional media policies and their specific impact in Romania. Second, looking at how medias role changes in the New Europe, the chapter has analyzed the challenges to civil engagement in emerging democracies and how media literacy generally, and education and awareness-raising programs on ethnic conflict specifically, are opportunities for engaging in civic engagement via media and ICT. Third, the chapter highlighted Romania as a case study of media systems in relation to the dramatic changes from a state-controlled public arena toward pluralistic and liberalized opportunities for Internet access and for private, independent, local, and national media. Overall, the societies in transition in the New Europe continue to offer important questions necessary for all critical approaches on the impact of media on cultural and civic involvement for the new era of global media.

NOTES 1. We define the New Europe as nations in Eastern and Central Europe (CEE), Southeastern Europe (SEE), the Newly Independent States and the Russian Federation. In this chapter, however, we focus primarily on CEE and SEE. 2. Leapfrogging is a situation in which regions with poorly developed technology or economic bases experience rapid progress through adoption of the most current technology systems without going through intermediary steps. For more on this concept see, for instance, Cascio, 2004; Jacobson, 2005. 3. The authors of this chapter are coauthors of the Halkidiki Declaration on the Relationship of International Education and Human Rights created in Halkidiki, Greece, October 1013, 2002. 4. For national election rounds of 2000 (April and October 2000), this program offered a series of ten hour-long phone-in radio broadcasts focusing on election issues, and the local radio station Radio Gradac=ac hosted eight broadcasts featuring local representatives on the importance of voting, electoral laws and procedures, women in politics, democracy, civil society building, education, and human rights in Bosnia-Herzegovina (CGS-Gradac=ac, n.d). 5. In its Working with the Media: Information on Using the Media for Antiracist Activists, UNITED for Intercultural Action suggests media as one of the best tools to change perceptions of the world. Activists may not like the commercialism and sensationalism of many media outlets, but it is necessary to realize that the media



cannot be ignored altogether. They are one of the key pillars of todays society. If you want your organization to have any impact you need to have good co-operation with the media. And in many cases the media also play a very positive role in the fight against racism! (UNITED, n.d.). 6. For a comprehensive list of initiatives throughout the region, see Marin and Lengel (2002). 7. PHARE Democracy Program of the European Union supports the activity ad professional work of NGOs and not-for-profit organizations. Its aim is to contribute to the consolidation of democratic societies in central and eastern Europe. For more on PHARE, see Kubicek, 2003; Piening, 1997; Shraeder, 1997; Weidel, 2001. 8. Across the Atlantic, the Fulbright Program, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACSLS) and the Institute of International Education (IIE) are actively engaged in assisting the educational challenges faced in CEE and SEE, not only in relation to educational outcomes, but also in relation to civic awareness for students and faculty alike. 9. Examples here focus primarily on Romania, where intercultural and national tensions continue to reveal the salience of the issues analyzed in this chapter.

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State Control, Liberalization, and Democratic Reform

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An Awakening in Cambodia
From Failed State to a Media-Rich Society


CAMBODIA IS KNOWN for the agonizing political turmoil of the 1970s

and 1980s, a chaos that prompted even opposition leader Sam Rainsy to label it a failed . . . sovereign democratic nation (Rainsy, 2002). It was marked by civil war, a murderous Maoist government, and then humiliating occupation by neighboring Vietnam. But Cambodias defining moment occurred during the rule of the Khmer Rouge (KR). As KR armies retreated from the capital city of Phnom Penh in 1979, it was left in shambles, and most of its residents were driven to the countryside. In just over three years in power, this radical political movement produced a monstrous calamity. In 1975 when KR troops seized the capital, the national population was estimated at about 7.2 million, a figure that at the end of their rule had been reduced to just 6 million. A huge portion of the nations population perished or forced into refugee camps across the border. During the period, there was a complete economic collapse, with widespread deprivation and starvation. The ghosts of Khmer Rouge still haunt Cambodia so that another generation must pass before recovery can be achieved. The political scene has become more stable through a series of successful though acrimonious elections, and the KR insurgency has finally ended for good. A key factor in the normalization of life in Cambodia was development of its information infrastructure, especially mass communication. Since 1991,




media have undergone a dramatic expansion. By the end of the decade, dozens of newspapers were actively publishing, and operations of government television channel TVK had grown from just a few hours daily to a full schedule. Private radio and television stations proliferatedmost operating from the capital city, by then swollen and sprawling with migrants from rural areas. The following is an analysis of media development in this nationhow the media have played a role in the transformation of a country from near collapse to one with new membership in ASEAN, a slowly steadying government and economy and a rich media menu. Even though media have enjoyed dramatic growth, the corrosive political environment has produced media that function not as channels of information but as voices of political conflict, ones filled with abusive invective. This chapter also examines the ethical abyss into which media have fallen in the postKhmer Rouge erahow efforts to revive the media have taken hold, and how the international community has responded to these initiatives.


Cambodia is a comparatively small country, with a population of perhaps 12 million and an area of about 181,000 square kilometers, about the same size as Greece or the state of Oklahoma. This is a country of low, flat plains dominated by its major rivers, the Mekong and Tonle Sap, both of which flow to the South China Sea at Phnom Penh. Although Cambodias urbanization amounts to just 13 percent, the main cities have experienced a large influx of migration from villages. This is particularly true of Phnom Penh, which has grown to more than 1 million residents. Residents began drifting back gradually only after Vietnamese forces captured the capital. Development of industry near the city has acted as a magnet, drawing hopeful workers into the squatter settlements that ring the central city. Only about 20 percent of the land is under cultivation; the remainder is mostly rainforest or has been abandoned due to landmines. Presently only about 1.8 million hectares are under rice cultivation, down from 2.5 million hectares at the peak of production in the 1960s (Cambodia and IRRI, 2005). Still primarily an agricultural country, the dominant sector has long been used for rice production, accounting for 90 percent of Cambodian GDP until the 1990s even though the countrys per-hectare productivity was the lowest in Asia. In the countryside padi cultivation is practiced much the same today as it has been for hundreds of years. Even today, agriculture and service sectors of the economy contribute more than a third of the total GDP. Roughly one-quarter of the GDP comes from the industrial sector, where garment production has expanded swiftly. In addition, tourism has become a growth sector following political stabilization in the late 1990s. Cambodias chief tourist



attraction is the magnificent temple complex of Angkor Wat in the northwest corner of the country. This sprawling 8th through 13th century construction surrounds the provincial city of Siem Reap, in a radius of about 40 miles. The world heritage site of Angkor Wat is so central to national identity that its five main towers are depicted on the national flag. Unlike most Southeast Asian countries, Cambodias population is comparatively homogenous; minorities constitute only a small part of the population, mostly settled in the somewhat isolated northeast provinces. Ethnic Vietnamese have settled across Cambodia for generations, but no accurate estimate of the numbers seems to be available; they probably represent at least 5 percent of the total population. The Cham, the Muslim descendents of an ancient kingdom based in the southern portion of Vietnam and Cambodia, number about 100 thousand. Small numbers of ethnic Chinese and Thai are resident in the country as well.


Contemporary Cambodia cannot be understood without an appreciation for the damage inflicted during the rule of the Khmer Rouge, the Maoist Communist movement that governed the country from April 1975 until January 1979. The Khmer Rouge arose in the politically charged atmosphere of Indochina following Cambodias independence in 1953. At independence, Norodom Sihanouk claimed power as monarch, and he ruled until 1970. However, the French defeat at Vietnams Dien Bien Phu led to partitioning of Vietnam in 1954. This action set the stage for broader military actions in the 1960s and 1970s that spilled over into Cambodia. Sihanouk, who attempted to avoid taking sides in Vietnam, was overthrown in a military coup by Cambodias premier General Lon Nol. Lon Nols U.S.-backed administration was avidly anti-Communist, and his efforts to suppress the Khmer Rouge set off a civil war. The Khmer Rouge (KR) period began when a defeated Lon Nol fled Cambodia, and Khmer Rouge forces rolled into Phnom Penh. KR ideology considered the capital city a corrupt capitalist invention, and, according to Chandler (1991), cadres referred to Phnom Penh as the great prostitute of the Mekong (p. 247). The city was emptied out almost immediately, its residents sent to villages where they were forced to work on agricultural communes. Living conditions varied according to district; some locations were essentially death camps where insignificant rule infractions were met with a bullet to the back of the head. Cadres had little regard for the lives of workers who were not deemed authentic workers, for example, peasants. They particularly despised those relocated from cities, and many of them were dispatched to the killing fields.



There were enemies KR cadres particularly targeted: the educated, especially intellectuals; former businessmen; Buddhist monks; and anyone connected in any way with the former governments. In the bizarre logic of the KR, simply wearing eyeglasses could be a death sentenceto them it suggested the wearer was able to read and was thus an educated parasite on the state. Those suspected of political views incompatible with KR ideology were sent to interrogation centers, the most famous of which was Tuol Sleng, a former school just outside downtown Phnom Penh. It in this facility, prisoners would be questioned, and, if possible, confessions would be extracted, after which the individual would be executed. Chillingly, the KR kept detailed records of their work, and their archives reveal that about 20,000 individuals were processed at Tuol Sleng in four years, a rate of more than a dozen a day, literally an assembly line of death. Only 6 who entered this prison were known to have survived. Today, this school building still stands, preserved as a museum and memorial to those who died there. The museums walls are entirely covered with photographs taken of each prisoner as part of the processing procedure. Their faces indelibly record the camps horror and its captives appeal for mercy. During this time, Cambodiarenamed the Democratic Republic of Kampuchearetreated from the international scene and became a virtual hermit state. One exception was the relationship it maintained with China, itself just recovering from its own wrenching cultural revolution. KR officials planned to build their economy on rice. They would do this by converting more land to rice cultivation and by greater productivity through increasing the number of crops per year on each padi field. They intended to export the increased rice output to China in return for equipment and other goods on which they could build an industrial base. These were disastrously unrealistic plans. The padi fields were to be cultivated by the populations relocated from cities, but few of them had any training or experience in agriculture, so their fields were not productive. In order to meet export goals, rice was sent abroad in preference to local consumption, and the consequent shortages of food produced widespread starvation, even in districts producing abundant crops. Because physicians and other health care workers were eliminated as politically suspect, illnesses became epidemic. All of this, in turn, reduced the capacity of farmer communes. To escape these conditions and the risks of everyday life under KR cadres, many tens of thousands fled to refugee camps in Thailand. In fact, it was these nightmarish conditions that caused at least one of every six Cambodians to immigrate or vanish. The most authoritative source of information on the history of the Khmer Rouge, the Yale Genocide Project, suggests (The Cambodian Genocide Program, 2005) that 1.7 million lives, amounting to as much as 21 percent of the total population, were lost during the 42 months that this regime ruled the country. In regular visits to Phnom Penh spanning about 8



years, the author has never met any Cambodian whose family was not injured in some important way by privation of the time. Families were torn apart, leaving both literal and psychological scars that persist to this day.


Even when KR troops were flushed from the capital city by Vietnamese armies and Cambodian opposition forces, the torment continued. Pol Pot and his cadres retreated to the mountain jungles along the border with Thailand where they built guerrilla camps. By the end of 1979, most of the country was under control of an occupation force of 225,000 Vietnamese troops (Sharp, 2003). Thereafter followed a protracted low-intensity conflict during which KR forces regrouped to wage guerrilla war against the occupying Vietnamese. The occupation army also had to fend off a separate resistance mounted by Cambodian nationalists, especially ones based in camps across the border in Thailand. Cambodians are divided in their views on Vietnamese occupation; some accept that this was an effort to liberate their country from an oppressive regime, while others simply consider Vietnam an invader bent on making the country into a client state (see Gottesman, 2002). The latter perspective was given credence by the resettlement of many thousands of Vietnamese in Cambodia. Vietnam withdrew the last of its forces in 1989 under intense international pressure. Because many Cambodians never accepted justifications for Vietnamese occupation, relations between the two countries are frosty even today. It is important to note that Vietnamese military control did not end the conflict with Khmer Rouge but rather converted the entire country into a war front with escalated fighting in many locations. The military buildup led to massive stocks of all kinds of weaponry, the worst consequence of which was the laying of many millions of landmines by conflicting parties. Today, it is thought that about 8 million landmines remain in Cambodia. Since 1979, official records have recorded more than 55,000 victims of landmines and unexploded ordinance, and the total still grows at a rate of about 75 persons per month (Landmine Monitor, 2003). It is difficult to exaggerate the severity of this problem; one estimate suggests that 1 of every 236 Cambodians has had a limb amputation due to landmine injury (Facts and Figures, 2005). Achieving a return to peace was not so easy, however. There were continued negotiations in Paris, and finally in 1991 the parties signed a comprehensive settlement that accorded the UN authority to oversee a cease-fire and disarming of forces in preparation for internationally monitored elections. A large UN enterprise was set up to monitor Cambodian repatriation and preparation for elections, essentially serving as a de facto government during the transitional period. Elections in May 1993 gave power to the FUNCINPEC party headed by Prince Ranariddh. But using the muscle of the Cambodian



Peoples Party, Hun Sen forced the creation of a coalition government with himself as one of the coprime ministers. This union of two competitive political parties was never successful. By 1997 the two leaders were no longer on speaking terms, and the political situation was in serious deterioration. In truth, the armed conflict had never ceased. The Khmer Rouge remained in the mountains, a spent force but still mounting occasional attacks. Pol Pot died under arrest in 1998, and the Khmer Rouge officially disbanded not long afterward. The entire movement was succinctly summed up by a KR cadre in an interview with Far Eastern Economic Review journalist Nate Thayer: Because Pol Pot had his problems with national society and international society, he continually led the movement into darkness, into a black hole from which there was no way out (cited in Chandler, 1992, p. 180).


Other KR casualties were mass media, which KR leaders considered not only to be somehow under the influence of intellectuals but also instruments of imperialism and therefore unsuited to an authentic collectivist state. To combat infection by counterrevolutionary ideology, cadres scrupulously managed media content. But the KR cannot be blamed for introducing heavy-handed control over media; this was part of the legacy of colonialism. In Indochina as in most colonized countries, media policies simply served to advance European interests so that issues of balance, openness, and fairness for local peoples were hardly relevant. Under the French there were only four newspapers in circulation, one in Khmer and three in French. Having learned well the lessons on the use of media power from colonizers, postcolonial governments maintained restrictive rules for print media and retained absolute control over electronic media. Mehta (1997) described key players in Cambodian politics as ones who built media traditions after independence, specifically noting that their influence shaped it and some among them, like Sihanouk . . . suppressed [the media] (p. 13). At first, under Sihanouk, print media flourished, and as many as 30 newspapers and magazines were published regularly. But, as Mehta noted, under the Lon Nol regime there was an effort to shut these down so that by 1974, not a single Cambodian paper from the previous decade survived (p. 15). Jennar (1997) also blamed the Lon Nol military dictatorship for suppressing newspapers, suggesting that they were reduced to silence . . . a silence that lasted nineteen years (authors translation) (p. 7). The long lull in media development lasted from 1974 until 1993, through the KR and Vietnamese occupation periods. The KR crushed media by physically destroying presses and by eliminating any publications but their own. This was done despite the fact that KR leadership included a number of practicing journalists, including Pol Pot and Khieu Samphan. Of that time, Khieu Kanharith (cited in Mehta,



1997, p. 129), secretary of state in the Ministry of Information, said that under the KR there were only two newspapers, one magazine, and one radio station. But they were not for everybodyonly for their cadres. The newspaper apparently did not amount to much, as it has been described merely as a pamphlet. When KR forces seized the radio station, broadcasts called for government officials to report to their ministries, after which nearly all were executed. Radios principal function was to disseminate instruction to cadres scattered across the country. At the same time, libraries were destroyed and schools closed, including the university in Phnom Penh. In short, the existing infrastructure for communication, learning, and education was utterly ruined. Under the Vietnamese there was a rebirth of sorts in the media, but it was strictly governed by the Hanoi-installed Heng Samrin government. The new government created four newspapers, a news agency, a radio network, and a television station. All these were state-run under strict guidelines set out by the Communist Party. Kanharith (cited in Mehta, 1997) claims that top government officials, many of them KR turncoats, were suspicious of the media and wanted to limit them as much as possible. Policies restricted foreign media, even expelling all foreign journalists in 1980 for the stated reason that there were no hotel accommodations suitable for them in Phnom Penh. For a lengthy portion of Cambodias postcolonial history, its media were defined by Marxist-Leninist philosophies. In this tradition, mediaespecially print mediawere represented as propagandists. Defined in this way, journalists were expected to engage actively in ideological advocacy and to motivate citizens to accept and work toward objectives set out by party leadership. In the KR and Vietnam occupation periods this view prevailed, leaving a legacy afterward. Most senior personnel of national media were trained in these doctrines, which shaped their attitudes about their work and responsibilities long after Vietnamese forces departed. At least two opposition radio stations operated clandestinely to campaign against the Heng Samrin regime, though it is unlikely either had a significant audience or impact. The KR station, known as the Voice of the National United Army, broadcast from secret locations in the mountains up to the movements end. Its last transmission was recorded on May 12, 1998 (Khmer Rouge Station, 1998). Another station operated briefly in 1983 from the Thai border region. When the Vietnamese army retreated from Cambodia in 1990, after more than a decade of clashes with the Khmer Rouge and other opposition groups, only a handful of newspapers were still in circulation, and only government radio and television stations were still on the air.


Sihanouks return to Cambodia in 1991 brought an end to the Heng Samrin government, ushering in a new phase in politics and media development.



Under UN mandate stipulated by the Paris Agreement of 1991, the country finally began to experience rehabilitation. All media faced a serious lack of public acceptance in the post-KR period, as neither print nor broadcast media had lived up to their potential in addressing the countrys social, political, and economic needs. A number of factors contributed to the medias failure to gain public confidence. Among these were (1) a complete absence of a tradition of free, open, balanced journalism; (2) a lack of properly qualified personnel for media; (3) political interference in the ongoing operation of media; and (4) a lack of adequate financial resources to sustain media. The United Nations mandate, carried out by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) was put in place to provide for a political transition to democracy in preparation for elections in 1993. One of the most interesting initiatives mounted by the UN was creation of a model radio station to inform and motivate Cambodian citizenry for participation in civil societyRadio UNTAC. Z. Mei (1994) characterized the station as a mess when she arrived, but by November of 1992 it was on the air broadcasting daily, and by the middle of the following year it transmitted 15 hours each day. The programming was intended to provide a steady stream of factual information on the election and on candidates for the 120-seat Constituent Assembly, the new Cambodian parliamentary body. Thanks to the donation of radios for the project by the Japanese government, it was possible to extend the coverage across the country, even to the most impoverished villages. Radio UNTAC stayed on the air through the postelection period, finally signing off the air in September 1993. Even five years later, the author found that staff in all media repeatedly cited the importance of this station both in helping to forge successful elections and in providing a model of good journalism. Meanwhile, the Cambodian film industry experienced a curious rollercoaster ride. According to Muan and Ly (2001), although films were produced as early as the 1920s, they were not intended for local audiences but were created by French protectorate officials to promote tourism in the country. Domestic production for Cambodian viewers was minimal prior to 1975, and local theaters mainly exhibited Thai and European films. King Norodom Sihanouk acquired a film camera in the early 1940s and developed a fascination for the medium. He apparently produced a number of small films that were never shown publicly. These consisted mostly of what Mydans (1996) termed vanity productions, simple movies that cast Sihanouk and family in leading roles. After entertainment film production was crushed by the KR, officials brought out a series of films depicting rural workers and industrial sites in an effort to generate support for their development policies. There was little effort to rebuild film production capacity during the Vietnamese occupation period; however, by the late 1980s, a few video cameras found their way into the country, and the industry began to stir. Locally produced movies were unsophisticated, but a hunger for genuine Cambodian content drew



audiences. Shot on location using consumer VHS video cameras and created without the niceties of professional lighting, these productions had a certain nave charm. By 1989, 200 production houses were registered with the Government Cinema Department. Movie output peaked in 1990 when 167 titles were released. From this figure, there was a decline just as rapid as the upsurge, with output falling to just 31 films in 1994. The decline in output of production houses seems to have been caused by several factors: the novelty of local films wore off as time passed, and the shortcomings in production qualities became obvious to audiences. Very few of those involved in production had any training in production and little knowledge of the basics of scriptwriting. As one TV broadcasting official saw it, movies of the period were repetitive: [T]hey fall in love with each other, they walk across the garden, and then they suffer (cited in Mydans, 1996). Another cause of the decline was the lack of commercial viability of the production houses. Even though films rarely cost more a few thousand U.S. dollars, there were sufficient returns from the impromptu movie houses set up in the main cities. This was because there was no enforcement of copyright, so any video released for screening was quickly copied and offered in the local pirate video markets. Finally, in the 1990s, Thai movies began to be screened in Cambodia both on television and in movie houses, and these had higher production values. Rules for media were liberalized so that by the year 2000, the number of newspapers with licenses for publication had risen to 60. While the majority of these publications circulated intermittently, their number was remarkable given the small size of potential readers. Literacy rates were calculated at the 1998 census to be 67.3 percent, thus excluding one-third of the population from newspaper readership (Adult Literacy, c. 1999). Add to this the fact that disposable incomes of the vast majority of Cambodians would not permit newspaper purchases, and the comparatively low newspaper circulation figures can be easily understood. The largest of the newspapers Rasmei Kampuchea claimed a daily circulation of 35,000. Another obstacle for newspapers was the absence of enterprises willing to advertise, something that the editor of Phnom Penh Post Michael Hays termed the absence of an advertising culture (Tenove, 2001). These factors combined to create conditions ripe for abuses. Because the growth in papers was commercially unsustainable, they had to find support elsewhere. What emerged was a system of political patronage in which new private media were owned and funded by political parties or wealthy would-be politicians. There were a few exceptions to partisan journalism: Foreign language newspapers typically presented a balanced diet of reportage and, in the case of Phnom Penh Post, solid investigative journalism. Influential beyond their circulation size, these papers were read mainly by expatriates living in the capital city and a small circle of elite Cambodian intellectuals. One or two Khmer-language newspapers provided somewhat



acceptable coverage; most often mentioned by informants in this regard was Rasmei Kampuchea. Broadcasting commands greater influence in Cambodia than any print medium. By 2000, operations of TVK, the government television channel, offered a complete days schedule of programs comprised of large portions of imported films and video but also including numerous productions from its own studios. The main evening newscast was the highlight of its daily fare. Most observers assume that among mass media of Cambodia, radio is by far the most important because it has a truly national audience and reaches the third or so of the population that is illiterate. In addition, radio is cheap, does not need commercial power, and can be carried wherever people work or travel. Both radio and television have been dominated by the government; the main stations are operated by the Ministry of Information. After the 1993 elections a few private low-power radio stations began transmission, but those aligned with the main opposition political parties were shut down in 1997. The immediate cause was a virtual coup by Hun Sen in July of that year when military clashes occurred in Phnom Penh causing Prince Ranariddh to flee the country. Although promises were made to restore licenses for these stations, it did not happen. Needless to say, the broadcasts thereafter tended to project viewpoints of government, that is to say, the Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP). Political affiliation was determinant of newspapers editorial content. Practically everyone in the media I interviewed at that time spoke of political patronage as the most serious barrier to free and open journalism in Cambodia. It appeared that most newspapers received subsidies from politicians and/or political parties in order to meet operating expenses. Not surprisingly, in exchange for such payments, politicians expected to dictate political coverage of the papers. This was clearly an undesirable tendency, yet it is hard to imagine a totally nonpartisan journalism in the highly charged and politically polarized conditions prevailing then. But the purchasing of patronage had a corrosive effect, undermining public trust in news media while contributing to antagonistic public discourse and to ever more polarized public opinion. Other serious problems in journalistic practice were common. One of the worst was what has been referred to as brown envelope journalismpayment for news coverage, so called because payments are reputedly delivered in plain unmarked brown envelopes. This was reported to have become well entrenched during the 1990s. Such payments are tantamount to bribes; they distort the news to suit interests of those who have money to pay for coverage. This was only one example of a serious corruption problem infecting practically every economic sector of the country. If bribery did not work, those who wish to influence news coverage could always rely on intimidation. Nearly all the journalists I interviewed at that time could describe some type of threat they had encountered in their daily work. At least 6 journalists met their deaths while pursuing their profession between 1994 and 2003. One dis-



turbing example was the March 30, 1997, grenade attack of a Khmer Nation Party demonstration in Phnom Penh. At least 15 were killed and dozens injured in this attack, which also took 1 journalists life and seriously wounded several other news reporters. Following this event and the July 56 events later that year when Sen exercised his military strength, journalists told the author that a chill fell over coverage of sensitive stories.


In many countries journalists associations provide an important means of addressing serious dysfunction in the media by promulgating standards, mediating disputes, and providing training. In Cambodia, the main journalist group, the Khmer Journalists Association (KJA), split apart when pro-CPP journalists broke away in the late 1990s to form their own separate group, the League of Cambodian Journalists (LCJ). This division caused membership in KJA to become predominantly pro-opposition, so the two groups came to mirror the polarized state of national media. After this, the nominal functions of the two organizations became handicapped by their separate and frequently conflicting agendas. Because of their political affiliations, the two organizations normally do not cooperate in activities. One incident illustrates the tenseness of their relationship. At one point in the 1990s, a conference of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Government and Media in Search for Solutions, was to be mounted in Cambodia. Because the IFJs Cambodian affiliate was the KJA, it acted as a cohost. The Ministry of Information was reportedly pressured by LCJ to cancel the meeting because the league could not cohost the conference. Although the effort failed, no LCJ journalist participated in the event. At the root of these organizations problems was the legacy of Soviet journalism copied throughout the socialist world. In the Soviet model, journalists associations were organs of the regime in power. For example, the chairman of Kyrgyzstans Union of Journalists, Abdykadyr Sultanbaev, explained that during the Soviet era, the Journalists Union served the regime faithfully and was used as an ideological instrument, as a form of ruling the journalists (cited in Turdubaev, 2001, p. 1). In the post-Soviet era, the politicization of professional organizations led to factionalism all across the socialist world. I studied this issue in the Kyrgyz Republic immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union and found that no single journalist association was able to attract broad membership. Instead, the organizations most important activities were undermined by squabbling and by ritualistic attention to meaningless codes and procedural details. Because their view of journalism remains rooted in ideology, these associations continue to be political instruments. In effect, the training,



mediation, and other functions of the organizations become distorted by the political forces surrounding journalism. Perhaps the most successful activity of the Cambodian journalists associations has been dispute mediation, especially between journalists and authorities. Members I met cited several successful interventions that had been carried out by their organizations.


Bad habits of the past tend to be sustained in ongoing practice because professional qualifications of Cambodian journalists are on the whole deficient. Few journalists have had sufficient training. Indeed, few have adequate education; one survey (Palan & Sarayeth, 1995) showed that less than 10 percent of journalists had any university level education, and at least 15 percent had not completed secondary schooling. These figures naturally reflect the fact that the Khmer Rouge had dismantled all elements of the educational infrastructure. Through the 1990s the only type of formal training most persons working the media had gotten was in the form of short-term seminars and workshops such as ones offered by the journalists associations. Otherwise, preparation of media staff had been limited to on-the-job training at newspapers and broadcasting stations. The earliest effort to provide structured training was the Cambodia Communication Institute (CCI). The CCI was created under sponsorship of UNESCO in 1994 after years of planning and discussion. The CCI only offered short-term courses and only for working journalists. Training may have been obtained abroad by a few persons, but there does not seem to have been any concerted effort to capitalize on such opportunities. For instance, Cambodia was not a member of the main regional training organization in broadcasting, Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development. One or two journalists I met during the 1990s had been lucky enough to receive university-level schooling, having done their studies in the Soviet Union during the Vietnamese occupation era. One person I interviewed, who had earned a journalism degree from Patrice Lamumba University in Moscow, characterized his education in the field there as useless. Many skills required in the media cannot really be accomplished in shortterm trainingskills such as management, writing, research and analysis, and so on. Thus there was a need for education of a more ambitious nature. The Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) was a logical venue for this, but it begun rebuilding only in the early 1990s, and there was no one to teach appropriate courses and no facilities for media training. To answer this need a joint certificate program in journalism and computer training course was established at the university with funding and instructional staff provided from U.S. sources. This certificate program was never intended to be an ongo-



ing venture but rather to act as an interim solution until a more permanent training program could be established. The Department of Media and Communication was formally created in September 2001 at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. To bring the new academic program to life, funding came from numerous sources including European and U.S. agencies and foundations. As a sign of the pent-up demand for qualifications in the field, there were 1,200 applicants for the first intake, but only 22 could be granted admission to the four-year bachelors degree program. According to department chair Sothearith Im, the programs offerings aimed at creating independent journalism and media management (cited in Borton, 2002). At the same time, the Cambodian Communication Institute was moved from the Ministry of Information to RUPP, to be incorporated in the new communication department.


An interesting feature of Cambodian post-KR rehabilitation was an upsurge in the number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). This occurred mainly after the Vietnamese military withdrawal of 19891990. This concentrated attention of NGOs appeared to reflect an international recognition of the dire condition of the countrys civil society. The NGOs were said to number more than 300 (See Plans for NGO, c. 2004), though the NGO Forum on Cambodia listed only 69 in its membership roster. At the time, most of these NGOs were concentrated in Phnom Penh where they seemed to be on every street corner. More than a few NGOs were devoted to media restoration and to medias use in the development of civil society. To capture the nature and range of their activities, I studied 4 NGOs in the late 1990s: the Womens Media Center (WMC), Khmer Institute for Democracy (KID), Center for Social Development (CSD), and the Cambodia Institute of Human Rights (CIHR). These organizations had varied and sometimes overlapping aims, but each employed broadcast media as a primary means of projecting themselves to the public. The scale of their efforts and technical approach varied too. The CIHR produced many different programs and segments, while KID and CSD originated only a series of programs. The WMC owned a large production facility, while others relied mainly on the production resources of government stations. Of the four NGOs studied, the WMC was the only one having media activities as its primary purpose. The Womens Media Center of Cambodia activities were divided into five subunits or departments, each headed by a director. The Network Program had the broadest responsibilities, and its main role was to work toward improving professional opportunities and conditions



for women employed in the media. It did this by offering training workshops, publication of a newsletter, and direct lobbying in behalf of womens interests. The Network Program also had responsibility for extending WMC initiatives out of the capital to the provinces. Additionally, this unit carried out media monitoring of Khmer-language newspapers and television, issuing reports twice yearly. The Radio Program section handled the creation of a weekly radio series and lent assistance to other divisions in producing radio or audio segments. The weekly half-hour radio program aired on National Radio early Sunday morning and at various other times on five FM stations in Phnom Penh on topics such as womens health, women and elections, women and law, and women and society. The Television Program sections activities closely paralleled the Radio Program division. Its main job was to produce a weekly TV program of ten minutes duration based on themes similar to those in radio. The shows aired at prime time on three Phnom Penh TV stations. Of the other NGOs studied, only the CIHR had media activities that rivaled the scale of WMC. The institute claimed to reach millions of people in Cambodia through its radio and television programs and through its newsletters. The media were only a part of the CIHR agenda; of its nine divisions only one was devoted to television and radio projects. The CIHR maintained four broadcast outreach activities. These were comprised of a series of weekly television shows, a separate weekly radio show, daily quiz spots on radio, and a daily womens program on radio. The four projects were supplemented by other more specific media activities on an as needed basis. All NGOs reported some concerns about maintaining the integrity of their programs in the face of censorship issues, but their strategies were quite different. Censoring of television shows by TVK is a complex procedure involving multiple layers of state bureaucracy. Programs are reviewed by lowlevel television station staff members who, if they encounter questionable content, refer the decision to their supervisors. If their superiors are unable to rule on the content, the matter will be referred progressively higher and higher in the reporting chain until someone is found who can confidently resolve the issue. Unlike television, radio is not censored by the state broadcaster. Nevertheless, producers who push the boundaries with radio program content reported being pressured or warned. For instance, programs produced by the WMC periodically encountered censorship problems. Some staff felt that they faced closer scrutiny because womens issues were deemed sensitive by officials. Two examples of censoring mentioned to me were a piece on violence considered too inflammatory and another in which a womans bare back was seen in a fashion considered too provocative. Although all the NGOs depended on state broadcasters to transmit their programs, they did have alternatives in the private media that actually reached a larger audience in Phnom Penh. Of course, the private stations would be more costly for the NGOs, and they too would have insisted on review of program contents.



This sampling of NGO media activities only scratches the surface. Many other groups had their own initiatives. Taken together, this level of NGO involvement in the local media scene was on a scale unlike anything I have observed in any other country. On the surface all the media activities reported by the NGOs appeared to have merit and, based on their stated objectives and program descriptions, seemed worthwhile. This view was upheld by Him Suong, deputy general director of National Television who stressed repeatedly during my meeting with him that the numerous NGO shows were important during the democratic transition period. He said even these were not enough and promised that his station was ready to cooperate with the NGOs to produce even more programs (Suong, personal communication, December 5, 1997).


Like so many aspects of contemporary media culture, the Internet arrived late in Cambodia. But when it did arrive, it did so suddenly and with unexpected energy. Until the end of the 1990s, there was little attention by government or private enterprises on construction of a network infrastructure, and there seemed to be little awareness of its potential. Mainly the expatriate community expressed eagerness for Internet development, and the author found that it was not easy to gain access to the Internet in the late 1990s. Because of the unreliability of local news media, Cambodian intellectuals were also drawn to the Internet. The spread of Internet access and computer technology was slowed by costs, of course. Leslie (1999) estimated the total number of Internet subscribers at the end of the 1990s at about 2,500. By 2000, the Internet in Cambodia had acquired an unfortunate reputation as a pornography source, after several cases of extremely graphic Websites based in Phnom Penh received wide local publicity. Such Internet uses have proven to be a persistent problem for the country; one report identified Cambodia as a leading source of child pornography in Southeast Asia, second only to Thailand ( Jimenez, 2006). In 2005, authorities joined with the Microsoft Corporation to present a training program for police officers on ways of apprehending and prosecuting Internet pornographers (Microsoft Helps, 2005). The Internet began enlarging its clientele more quickly when it became popular among rising middle-class youth in cities. They could afford the Internet cafes that popped up in the years following 2000, and they were more likely to enjoy some facility in English. However, youth seemed to be less interested in political news from outside Cambodia and more inclined to games, internet messaging, and popular culture fare on the Web. Low-cost computers and new ISPs have entered the Cambodian market, making access to the Web easier and more affordable to middle-class families.



Internet adoption was also boosted when the national economy began to expand following the 1998 elections. New affluence and the desire to taste modernity caused a small boom in Internet interest. A number of initiatives were mounted to develop Internet access for those unable to afford computers. Under USAID funding, community information centers containing Internet and computer resources have been built in every province and municipality. Some of the centers serve hundreds of users each day (Pabico, 2004). Also, in Phnom Penh, kiosks outside secondary schools have been built with the assistance of Indian funding. One of the most enthusiastic online figures has been abdicated King Norodom Sihanouk. He maintains his own website (, where he posts regular messages and offers reference material on the royal family. The interest in new information technology is widely shared among Southeast Asian political leaders (see McDaniel, 2002). Despite a growing interest in the Internet, Cambodia has lagged in access. A report by a consortium including the Asian Development Bank pegged access in the country at just 0.2 percent, trailing all other countries surveyed except Myanmar (Asian Development Bank, 2005). Broadband access has been especially slow to develop. In Phnom Penh in 2006, access to an unlimited DSL service of 64 kbps cost more than USD $200 per month.


As of this writing the transitional period is not yet over, nor will it be anytime soon. The deep depression of Cambodian society is only just beginning to lift; much more healing will be needed to overcome psychological, economic, and political scars, never mind ethical issues in the media. But it is worthwhile to take stock of where things stand today. It is apparent that never before have media been so accessible and so popular, but it is also obvious that serious problems persist. The media have been a frequent butt of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sens barbs. He characterized his countrys newspapers in 2002 as chicken feather wrapping paper and, on another occasion, predicted that it would take 1,000 years for the Cambodian press to gain respect in Buddhism, the nations dominant religion (Kola, 2002). In spite of Hun Sens judgment, the mushrooming growth of media has continued, and by 2003 there were more than 200 newspapers and magazines licensed for publication. The majority of these still publish irregularlyonly about 30 papers issue editions at least once a weekbecause economics hamper development of a consistent pattern needed to build readership. All newspapers are printed in Phnom Penh because that is where most potential readers live, and that is where incomes are high enough to allow routine newspaper purchase. Startup of a newspaper is not costly, about USD $1,000, but adver-



tising earnings sufficient to support regular publication can be gained only by the largest newspapers such as Rasmei Kampuchea and Koh Santepheap. Broadcasting has experienced an expansion like that of print media, growing to a total of 19 radio stations on the air in Phnom Penh as of this writing. Two of these are National Radio outlets, one on AM and the other on FM; the rest are private stations, some commercial and others noncommercial. Television fits into the same pattern with 9 channels available over the air in Phnom Penh. In addition to the TVK channel there are 4 commercial private channels, and the rest have varied ownership. There is one Frenchowned channel and one Vietnamese-owned channel, and two have joint Cambodian-Thai owners. Even more striking than media growth in the capital city is the swelling number of new stations in provincial centers. There are 20 radio stations scattered across the country, including 8 provincial stations of National Radio using a mix of FM and AM frequencies. In television there are an additional 14 television stations on the air from places such as Battambang, Sihanoukville, and Siem Reap, half of which are relays of the national TVK channel (Im, personal communication, September 15, 2003). According to the secretary of state for the ministry of information, Khieu Kanharith, radios coverage extends to 90 percent of the country, and TV reaches about 75 percent (Kanharith, personal communication, September 16, 2003). It appears that there is a large audience for Khmer broadcasts by the Voice of America and smaller audiences for Radio Australia, Radio Free Asia, and Radio France International, among others. In Phnom Penh, rebroadcasts of the BBC World Service can be received 24 hours daily on FM. Across the whole country, satellite reception of CNN and other international television channels is possible, and TVRO setups are common in the cities. The local TVK channel offers imported shows and a smattering of local productions, mostly news and current affairs. A cable service1 is available in Phnom Penh, providing an assortment of international channels. None of these figures means much if readers, listeners, and viewers are not there, which is the problem in Cambodia. Print media are still too expensive for many ordinary Cambodians; subscribing to a daily might require as much as 10 percent of ones income. The cost of each issue of a daily newspaper is about 15 cents, but some newsdealers permit readers to rent a newspaper for about 5 cents. An additional factor is illiteracy, which government officials estimate at about 35 percent (the rate is much higher outside the major cities where the educational infrastructure is not yet rebuilt). For instance, in the northern and northeastern provinces less than 15 percent of adults over 14 years of age have completed primary school (Strategic Analysis, 1999). Circulation figures for the newspapers did not grow much between 2000 and 2005. Most papers do not publicly reveal their circulations, and only the largest two or three have estimated readership as large as a few tens of thousands. The content of newspapers mirrors interests of their elite readership. For example,



a digest of topics generated by Media Consulting and Development, a Phnom Penhbased research firm, tabulated 325 issues of various newspapers in December 2003. In that month, political affairs was the most covered subject. News on the subject amounted to 21 percent of all stories in leading newspapers, with the greatest attention going to the Cambodian Peoples Party. The CPP figured in 47 percent of political stories, but 41 percent of these were judged critical of the party. Police reports constituted 20 percent of the coverage, and development stories were third ranked at 12 percent (Results of Media, 2004). Radio and television audiences are more difficult to assess as research on them has been conducted infrequently. However fragmentary the research, looking at all the available evidence, it is clear that the Cambodian public has been transformed into enthusiastic consumers of electronic media. The Womens Media Center commissioned a major national media survey of its programs that aired on radio and television. This 1997 study was probably the most advanced piece of research on media done during the period in Cambodia and presented a broad view of audience preferences. It found that in Phnom Penh 27 percent of respondents identified local radio as their most important source of information, while 31 percent of them said they preferred local TV. A major surprise in this study was that even in rural areas the WMC found television to be the most preferred source of information. In the countryside 38 percent said local TV stations were their favorite information source, and local radio was named by 29 percent of those surveyed. Local newspapers were named by 16 percent (Palan & Sarayeth, 1997). Evidently, media use frequently occurs outside the home because government census figures indicate that only 41 percent of village households owned a radio. This figure rose to 76 percent in Phnom Penh, however. TV ownership was an extraordinary 20 percent in villages, in all cities ownership was 31 percent, and in Phnom Penh 83 percent of families reported TV ownership (National Institute of Statistics, 2002). According to research conducted by the Cambodia Media Index (2000), the most popular radio stations were Radio Beehive and Municipality Radio. The government station, National Radio, was among the least popular. Research by Mee, Haylor, Vincent, and Savage (2003) concluded that music request shows were the favorite but that both rural and urban listeners particularly value the reading aloud of security-related newspaper articles over the radio (p. 1). Television has gained enormous popularity in middle-class homes. TV 5 or TV Fark, owned by the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and operated by the Kantana group, was one of the most popular in the country, but in the capital city TVK was preferred. Among all television viewers, the favorite programs were serial dramas imported from Thailand or Hong Kong, but news was popular too. The performance of the media and media workers remains mixed, at best. Growth in the media has worsened the shortage of trained personnel, scatter-



ing them across more and more outlets. A general lack of skilled staff keeps the quality of media content at a low level. Many newspapers are filled with gossip and rumor and sometimes nasty personal attacks. The contentious political atmosphere in Cambodia has influenced content of newspapers, causing them to become highly polarized. Lacking sufficient advertising revenues, newspapers still must maintain affiliation and support from political parties and political figures, and thus they are drawn into bitter struggles. Corruption remains a terrible problem throughout all sectors of Cambodian society. The World Bank president, James Wolfensohn, addressing a conference in Cambodia, said the nations top three priorities should be fighting corruption, fighting corruption, and fighting corruption (quoted in Rotten at the Core, 2005). A national study of attitudes on corruption by the Center for Social Development found that 90 percent of those surveyed thought that corruption was a hindrance in the countrys development, but shockingly, 84 percent felt that bribery was the normal way of doing business (National Survey, 1998). In the media, this is most apparent in coverage for payment and brown envelope journalism, both still endemic in Cambodia. There is one bright spot: The practice of assassinating journalists seems to have abated; no one has been killed while pursuing his or her profession since 2000, but several journalists have been jailed for their publications in the early years of the decade. Under Cambodian law there is a presumption of falsehood for every news story, and therefore anyone could be the subject of libel prosecution. If brought to trial, journalists must produce convincing evidence to the court that their reports were factual and accurate. For instance, in 2002, a pro-opposition newspaper, Samleng Yuvchun Khmer, was found guilty of publishing a story about the involvement of two army generals and a wealthy business man in illegal lumber sales. Because the newspaper could not present sufficient evidence, fines were levied against the publisher (Kola, 2002). Thus, Cambodia presents a picture both optimistic and still discouraging. Even in the face of staggering obstacles, tangible gains in the establishment of quality open media are being made every year. There are many new alternatives in the media, which contain an abundance of entertainment and information lacking just a few years earlier. Although the growth in media outlets gives Cambodians extra choices, the diversity in viewpoints they project has not grown as much as one might think. All but a few of the new radio and television channels have been licensed to owners linked directly or indirectly to the CPP, many of whom are personally connected with Hun Sen and his family. Building a professional corps of media workers will take decades, and in the meantime, professional standards are among the lowest in Asia. In the end, media simply mirror the rest of Cambodian society, revealing the gradual transition to a modern democratic state and the slow triumph over its appalling historic tragedies.



NOTE 1. Strictly speaking, this is a wireless cable or multipoint microwave distribution service (MMDS) system.

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McDaniel, D. (2002). Electronic tigers of Southeast Asia: The politics of media, technology, and national development. Ames: Iowa State University Press. Mee, A., Haylor, G., Vincent, S., & Savage, W. (2003). Information Access Survey. Phnom Penh: STREAM. Mehta, H. C. (1997). Cambodia silenced: The press under six regimes. Bangkok: White Lotus. Mei, Z. (1994). Radio UNTAC of Cambodia: Winning ears, hearts, and minds. Bangkok: White Lotus. Microsoft helps Cambodian police to combat sex tourism via Intenet. (2005, October 17). Xinhua News Agency. Muan, I., and Ly D. (2001). A survey of film in Cambodia. In D. Hanan (Ed.), Film in South East Asia: Views from the region. Quezon City, Philippines: SEAPAVAA. Mydans, S. (1996, June 6). Even the love stories couldnt save Cambodias cinema. New York Times. National Institute of Statistics. (2000). Cambodia Year Book. Ministry of Planning. National survey on public attitudes towards corruption. (1998). Phnom Penh: Center for Social Development. Pabico, A. P. (2004, September 15). Technology-Cambodia: The Internet comes to an obscure province. Inter Press Service. Palan, A., & Sarayeth, T. (1995). Women in the media in Cambodia. Phnom Penh: WMC. Plans for NGO activities in Cambodia. (c. 2004), Retrieved March 27 from http: // Rainsy, S. (2002). Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy: Lessons from Cambodia for the world community of democracies. Retrieved March 13, 2005 from http://www. Results of media monitoring activities of December 2003. (2004). Cambodian Press Headlines. Phnom Penh: Media Consulting and Development. Rotten at the core. (2005, February 17). The Economist. Sharp, B. (2003). The banyan tree: Untangling Cambodian history. Retrieved March 19, 2005 from Suong, H. (1997, Decmber 5). Personal communication with Him Suong, deputy general director of National Television. Strategic analysis. (1999). Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport. Retrieved March 19, 2005 from: strategic_analysis/proportion_adults.htm. Tenove, C. (2001). Cambodian media: A mad dog not a watchdog. Thunderbird. 3(4). Turdubaev, T. (2001). Kyrgyzstan: Boom in journalists associations. CAMEL 14.

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First Democracy in Chinese History

Medias Role in the Democratization of Taiwan


INTRODUCT ION HE DEMOCRATIZATION OF TAIWAN, considered by China a breakaway island province off its southeastern coast, in a peaceful manner since the lifting of the 38year-old martial law in July 1987 is without parallel in Chinese history. For the first time in the more than 5,000 years of recorded history of China, a group that was both legal and political was formed outside the chain of command under the head of state. In just over a decade after this development, this opposition political partys candidate came to power in Taiwan in the March 2000 presidential election and again in March 2004 in what is widely regarded as a confirmation of the democratic political process in Taiwan. Voter turnout in the March 2004 presidential election was more than 80 percent, substantially surpassing voter turnout in Western countries. The advocacy and implementation of a democratic political system by the leadership on both sides of the political spectrum and by the approximately 23 million Chinese on Taiwan is unprecedented in Chinese history of dynastic, authoritarian, or totalitarian political rule. The legalization of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 1989 was the consequence of the will of President Chiang Ching-kuo, who



died on January 13, 1988, that Taiwan actively carry forward constitutional democracy without interruption (Taiwan Yearbook 2004, p. 41). His successors, Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian, have taken a number of steps to implement democracy, including six rounds of constitutional reforms with more on the way to build and strengthen a system of checks and balances. The momentum for political freedoms has also been accompanied by freedom of speech and the press in Taiwan. A 38-year-old ban on the introduction of new newspapers was lifted on January 1, 1988. Tight controls on the press imposed under martial law were lifted in 1991. The government also eased its control of broadcasting and made available additional radio broadcasting frequencies to promote pluralism through the airwaves. A cable law enacted in 1993 facilitated competition in cable services, enabling the consumer to have access to a wide variety of news, information, and entertainment programming (Taiwan Yearbook 2004, pp. 25565). This chapter proposes the thesis that the rise of democracy in Taiwan has been made possible by the convergence of several factors: the Confucian humanism movement, political and constitutional reforms, socioeconomic progress, the impact of the communication revolution, and the role of the alternative media. With the emergence of democracy, Taiwans vibrant free press has been instrumental in fostering the growth of democracy and civil society in the country. This chapter examines this thesis through an observational study done by this writer in Taiwan in June 2005. The study primarily took three forms: (1) review of literature on the Confucian ideology and political developments in Taiwan to determine their influence on democratization and freedom of expression; (2) interviews with representatives of print and broadcast media, political parties spokespersons, government officials, and academics to determine their views on factors contributing to political reforms; (3) review of print and broadcast media to determine their role in the emergence and consolidation of democracy in Taiwan (see note). Because political freedom, or lack of it, closely parallels the political and social philosophy guiding a nation, a brief historical review of the philosophy influencing Taiwans political system is given first.


Although Western liberal values have substantially influenced Taiwans democratization, it has also found ideological support from the humanistic interpretation of the Confucian philosophy (Lo, 2005). Confucianism has been a central force in Chinese political and social life for centuries. The traditional Confucian values were seen as providing the ideological framework for political stability, consensus, and conformity, resulting in centuries of dynastic rule and following that in the highly regimented political systems on



the mainland and, until the late 1980s, in Taiwan. The rise of the twin movements of Chinese liberalism and Confucian humanism since the early part of the 20th century, and especially since World War II, are credited for augmenting the ideological framework with considerable success, at least in Taiwan. Metzger and Myers (1990, p. 11) say that both movements have shared a clear-cut ideological emphasis on the autonomy of the individuals conscience and intellect as something not subservient to the dictates of any political party and ideology. The movements, therefore, have steadily strived to legitimize and promote political pluralism. The Confucian humanists, unlike the traditionalists or the legalists, have pictured Confucius as standing for the rights of the people as a check upon the authority of the state and its ruler. They, therefore, have demanded that full democratization be carried out. Let us look at the Confucian ideology and its interpretation in some detail.


Confucius, who lived from 551 BC to 479 BC, was primarily concerned with the matter of human interaction. Taken as a whole, Confucianism is more in the nature of an ethical code or code of honor than a religion or school of philosophy. As such, it is worldly in outlook and rationalistic in approach. The ethical aspects of Confucianism are mostly recorded in The Analects, a book that compiles the dialogues between Confucius and his disciples, and another book titled The Great Learning. In The Analects, Book 12 points to Confucius political theorizing through his doctrine of rectification, which says: Let the ruler be a ruler, the subject a subject; the father a father, the son a son. Liu (1955, pp. 15963) explains that in the mind of Confucius, if the names (and their ensuing duties) of a ruler and subjects are not rectified, and if the relationship between a father and his sons is not righted, then politics in a nation cannot be set on the right track, and people cannot be expected to live peacefully. Thus, the doctrine of rectification is a powerful weapon of political stabilization in orthodox, or legalistic, Confucianism, laying the basis for autocracy. Confucius did not want an immoral autocracy, for he insisted that the basis of politics lies in virtue. As he says in The Analects, Book 2: A ruler who governs by virtue is like the North Polar Star, which remains in its place while all other stars revolve around it. In the same vein, he says in Book 12: To govern is to be correct; if you set an example by being correct, who would dare to remain incorrect? The concept of virtue, according to Liu (1955, pp. 15963), was Confucius greatest contribution to political philosophy because it called upon the ruler to discipline himself by virtue to establish harmonious relations between himself and the ruled.



Confucian humanists have interpreted the rulers duty to be virtuous to mean that his subjects can hold him accountable when he fails to discern the will and welfare of the people, thereby asserting that the subjects would be the true sovereign. This view is well articulated by Mencius, a major Confucian scholar who lived from 390 BC to 305 BC. Mencius observed, The people are of supreme importance; the altars to the gods of earth and grain come next; last comes the ruler (Kung, 1991, p. 31). To Mencius, therefore, a ruler is for the people, and the people always stand at the center of all political affairs. The ruler should listen to the people and be responsible for them. Mencius even encouraged the people to join in a revolution to overthrow an inhumane tyrant. Mencius view that the ruler should be accountable to his subjects is further aided by his position on the question whether human beings are naturally good, an issue that Confucius apparently left unresolved. This question has attracted much debate in political discourse seeking legitimacy for political pluralism or autocracy from Confucianism because only when humans are naturally good can they be expected to wisely hold the ruler accountable. Enlightenment-era philosophers in the West, of course, had faced the same question and asserted that people are naturally good and rational, a belief that has been one of the pillars of democratic political systems. The Confucian humanistic view insists that human nature is good. Mencius says that benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom are not infused into human beings from the outside; they are inherent in the mind (Tu, 1975, pp. 52930). These natural attributes, according to Mencius, would serve as the basis for mans perfectibility through self-cultivation. Education, he said, would help nourish the mind and liberate innate goodness. Mencius tempered this view with a caveat, however. People will be free to do good only if they have the peace of mind that comes from material well-being. Rulers must ensure such security or be deposed, he said. As we will see, the founding father of the Republic of China on the mainland before the Communist takeover, Dr. Sun Yet-sen who was a Mencian in political orientation, took this caveat seriously and could see constitutional democracy only after material needs of the people had been met. Hsun Tzu, another major Confucian scholar (340245 BC), rejected Mencius and took a pessimistic view of human nature. To him, man is by nature selfish and evil (Watson, 1967, pp. 15771). Benevolence and righteousness do not proceed of their own accord from human nature. Civil and religious rites, social conventions, law, and government exist because of human evil. Virtue is not inborn; it is only through moral discipline that men learn to modify their evil nature and acquire goodness. Because mans nature is evil, he must wait for the ordering power of the sage kings and the transforming power of ritual principles; only then can he achieve order and conform to goodness (Watson, 1967). Hence while Mencius sees Confucianism as providing support for a democratic system, Hsun Tzu interprets it as clearly pointing to an authoritarian political system.




Dr. Sun Yet-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China, appears to have been more influenced by Mencius view of Confucianism than that of Hsun Tzu. Educated to be a medical doctor, Dr. Sun became interested in political philosophy and politics in the late 19th century. Alienated by Chinas long history of dynastic rule, he helped form an organization in Honolulu in 1894, the Society for Regenerating China. Dr. Sun and his colleagues overthrew the Ching Dynasty in 1911 to establish a republic. In a series of lectures delivered in Canton in 1923, Dr. Sun enunciated his Three Principles of the People to serve as a basis for the new republic: Nationalism, Democracy, and the Peoples Livelihood, or Socialism. The principle of Nationalism called for the removal of the foreign imperialistic yoke and the establishment of central power based on national heritage. The principle of Democracy aims to provide civil liberties and political power to the people through the right to vote, but it also provides for governing power to the government. The principle of Peoples Livelihood, or Socialism, stressed the need for regulating capital and equalizing land. Metzger and Myers (1990, p. 11) say that the Three Principles doctrine drew on both Chinese and Western political philosophy, synthesizing the teachings of Confucius, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Abraham Lincoln, and John Stuart Mill, among others. The Three Principles were incorporated into the first article of the 1946 Constitution of the Republic of China, with Article 11 providing for freedom of speech, teaching, writing and publication (Constitution of the Republic of China). Underlying his blueprint for a new government was Dr. Suns concept of political tutelage. Eastman and colleagues (1991, p. 19) say that Dr. Sun was committed to the goal of popular sovereignty, but he was also convinced that the Chinese people were unprepared for the responsibilities of self-rule. He therefore assigned the task of implementing a democratic system in China to the political party he founded in 1919, the Kuomintang (KMT), in three phases: the military stage, the political tutelage stage, and finally the constitutional democracy stage. The military stage was considered necessary to unite China by forcing the regional warlords to abdicate to a new, central government. The military stage was completed under the leadership of Dr. Sun and his successor, President Chiang Kai-shek, who had become prominent in the KMT in 1923. The political tutelage stage, in which the KMT alone was responsible for governing the country at the national level and instructing the people in the elements of civics, was carried out under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek, first in China and later in Taiwan after the Communist victory in China in 1949 forced the KMT leadership to flee to Taiwan. Chiang established a provisional government in Taiwan in 1949 and rejected any degree of subsequent electoral competition or the formation of political parties because, in his eyes, these limits on political dissent were needed to ensure stability and



fend off Communist subversion. Under an emergency decree, he imposed martial law in Taiwan in 1949, resulting in tight controls on mass media. The political tutelage stage continued during the approximately 10year presidency of his son, Chiang Ching-kuo, starting in March 1978. Chiang Ching-kuo, who was more democratically minded than his father, did not suppress the opposition liberal Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) formed illegally in 1986 and ended martial law in 1987. Although the DPP was not legalized until 1989, it was already being supported by a newspaper that began publication in 1988, The Independence Morning Post (Hsieh, June 23, 2005). A number of other alternative publications in the 1970s and 1980s were active in advocating political reforms, in spite of repressive press laws, including The Independent Evening Post, The Capital Morning News, The Journalist, The Formosa, and The Eighties (Hsiao, 2005). A significant role in rallying public opinion in support of political reforms during the 1970s and 80s was also played by what Dr. I-chung Lai, director of the Foreign Policy Studies Think Tank in Taipei, calls small media. These media included underground publications and video productions of controversial events by dissidents to expose the public to the excesses of the martial law regime (Lai, 2005). President Chiang Ching-kuo told his people a few months before his death in January 1988 that the time had come to move into a new era of openness and broadened democracy. The constitutional democracy stage at the national level (competition for elections at the local level had begun in 1977) began in the last years of the presidency of Chiang Ching-kuo and has continued through the presidencies of Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian. As a background perspective, it should be noted that the push for democratization is also linked with Taiwans desire to become a model both politically and economically to mainland China in its campaign to remove the Communist regime there. Dr. Hsin-huang Michael Hsiao, national policy adviser to the president of Taiwan and a professor of sociology at National Taiwan University, said that this commitment has been further reinforced as Taiwan strives to overturn international isolation caused by the loss of UN membership since 1971 and termination of diplomatic relations by the United States in 1979. The KMT has long known that only genuine political reforms in Taiwan will help it establish its legitimacy and moral superiority over mainland China, factors that are critical in winning international, especially Western, support (Hsiao, 2005). With the end of martial law, President Lee initiated several reforms to carry out Chiangs will for a constitutional democracy. They include amendment of a 1942 law to create the Civic Organizations Law in 1989, allowing for the formation of new political parties, thereby legalizing the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (Chou, 2005). Temporary Provisions appended to the ROC Constitution in 1948, which had expanded the powers of the president and significantly increased his ability to limit freedom of press



and speech, were terminated in 1991. Lee also pushed for the retirement of representatives occupying National Assembly seats since their election from the mainland constituencies in 1947. In 1991, these members were ordered to resign by a subsequent judicial branch ruling. Before voting itself out of office in 1991, the National Assembly adopted a constitutional amendment permitting free elections (Taiwan Yearbook, 2004, p. 74). For the first time after the KMT moved to Taiwan from mainland China, National Assembly elections were held in December 1991. The new National Assembly also amended the Constitution in 1994, paving the way for the direct election of the president and vice president (Hsu, 2005). The first direct presidential election was held in March 1996, which was won by the KMT candidate, Lee Teng-hui, with 54 percent of the vote. The following year, the opposition DPP won 12 of the 23 county magistrate and city mayor contests to the KMTs 8, outpolling the KMT for the first time in a major election. In the 2001 legislative branch elections, the DPP won a plurality of seats for the first time (Hsu, 2005). In March 2000, DPP candidate Chen Shui-bian became the first opposition party candidate to win the presidency. His victory resulted in the first transition of the presidential office from one political party to another, validating Taiwans democratic political system. In recent years, the party system in Taiwan has consolidated into two coalitions. The Pan-Green Coalition consists of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), and the minor Taiwan Independence Party (TAIP). This coalition tends to favor Taiwan independence over reunification with China. The Pan-Blue Coalition consists of the Kuomintang (KMT), the Peoples First Party (PFP), and the smaller new party (CNP). This coalition tends to favor a Chinese nationalist identity over a Taiwanese separatist one and favors a softer policy and greater economic linkage with China.


Whereas Confucian humanism has provided ideological justification for a democratic system in Taiwan, at least to liberal intellectuals, socioeconomic factors and social movements have given a practical urgency to the need for an open political and media system on the island. Studies by Lerner (1958, pp. 6364) and Nixon (1976, pp. 15556) have long established that a high literacy rate and economic development of a countrys population are important prerequisites to the emergence of democracy and press freedoms. Samuel Huntington and Adam Przeworski and colleagues have noted that democracy becomes quite stable in countries with a per capita income of $6,000. Przeworski and others observe that democracy becomes impregnable at $8,000 per capita income (Rowen, 2001).



Taiwan made democratic transition when it had just surpassed this income range. In the last five decades, Taiwans economy has matured from a primarily agricultural base to a technology-intensive and service-sector economy starting in the 1980s. As a result, the country already had a per capita income of $10,000 and a literacy rate of 94 percent by the time President Lee Teng-hui was beginning to push for constitutional reforms in 1991. The decade of the 1980s saw the rise of several social movements campaigning for labor rights, human rights, consumer rights, environmental protection, and antinuclear power causes, among several others, which received ready support from an increasingly affluent and literate population seeking a higher order quality of life (Yang, 2005; Hsiao, 2001, pp. 162164). The emerging opposition party, the DPP, actively supported these movements and, therefore, established its appeal both at the grassroots level and with academics and intellectuals (Chen, 2005). Alternative and underground media, and even the KMT-affiliated China Tribune magazine to some degree, supported these social movements (Hsiao, 2005). It was no surprise then that the politically enlightened population gave as many as 24 percent of the National Assembly seats to the opposition DPP in the December 1991 election. The publics demand for political participation grew steadily, with 49 percent calling for direct presidential election in a national public poll in March 1992. Only 18 percent of the public supported the existing system of electing the president by the National Assembly in this public poll (GIO, 2005). With a literacy rate of 97 percent and per capita income of $13,995 in 2003, Taiwans politically sophisticated voters have continued to show their commitment to a competitive political system by voting in the DPP twice in presidential elections and supporting it in various other elections (Hsieh, 2005). As the worlds 14th largest exporting nation, Taiwan is a major international trading power with nearly $342 billion in two-way trade in 2004. Of the 102 countries surveyed by the World Economic Forums Global Competitiveness Report 20032004, Taiwan was ranked fifth (DigiTimes, 2005). The outwardoriented economy, increasing affluence and a relaxed overseas travel visa policy since the late 1970s have enabled hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese to travel and observe different political systems around the world. Hsiao (2005) said that these factors have also substantially facilitated the rise of democracy in Taiwan. Several academics and experts interviewed in Taipei have linked democratization to the communication revolution also, which has come in full force as Taiwans drive toward a technology-intensive and service economy continued through the 1990s. They say that the communication revolution has enhanced the flow of attitudes and aspirations, as well as facts. According to the Global Information and Communication Technology ranking released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2003, Taiwan ranked number 9 in the world and number 3 in Asia. Moreover, Taiwan ranked 1st by mobile phone penetration, 4th by broadband Internet penetration, and 5th by fixed telephone



penetration in this report (FIND, 2003). By early 2004, fixed line telephone penetration was approximately 60 percent, and mobile penetration was 100 percent (2004 Asia, 2005). Statistics showed that at the end of June 2004, there were 10.2 million Internet subscribers out of a population of approximately 23 million, with a total of 12.2 million Internet users as of December 2004 comprising 53.5 percent of the population (Internet World Stats, 2005). With terrestrial television reaching almost all households, Taiwan also has one of the highest cable television penetration rates in the world at approximately 59 percent of all households as of December 2003. In some areas, cable penetration is almost 90 percent. Over 70 cable systems were offering their services throughout Taiwan, with a typical fixed package of more than 70 channels, including news and information, entertainment, sports and religious programs. In February 2004, a total of 60 domestic and 19 foreign companies were offering 93 and 39 satellite channels, respectively, including a number of foreign channels as well as groups of specialized, satellite-based channels operated by local media conglomerates (Taiwan Yearbook, 2004, p. 262). In addition, direct satellite television reception has been legal in Taiwan since 1988, which has further enabled Taiwanese to have access to a variety of international channels such as Japans NHK, Chinas CCTV, and others. As a result of this communication revolution, Taiwanese are in the mainstream of international information flow.


Freed of the martial law and Temporary Provisions restrictions, and aided by the evolving democratic political system, Taiwans mass media enjoy a level of freedom that is rare in Asia. The International Press Institute in its 2004 world press freedom review said that Taiwan is certainly one of the Asian countries where journalists enjoy the greatest freedom, and the governments respect for freedom is comparable to European and North American standards (IPI, 2004 World Press Freedom Review). As mentioned earlier, Article 11 of the Constitution adopted in China in 1946 before the Communist takeover and which governs Taiwan protects freedom of speech, writing and publication, although it does not specifically mention freedom of the press. Along with the Constitution, laws and orders regulate mass media in Taiwan, which cover a wide range of areas such as national security, libel, privacy, copyright, obscenity, and protection of personal data. The free-press environment is enabling the media to cover constitutional reforms and other public affairs issues with an unprecedented vigor and candidness. As the discussion in the following sections will show, the range of viewpoints expressed in news columns, in editorials, and on broadcasting stations is so wide and the tone so uninhibited that one is reminded of the American press.



Print Media As soon as censorship of publications was lifted with the removal in May 1991 of Temporary Provisions appended to the Constitution, Taiwans press aggressively began to push for establishing a popular democracy by calling for election of the president directly by the people rather than by the National Assembly. For example, The China News, an English-language newspaper, chided a faction of the KMT Central Committee that supported presidential election by this proxy system. In an editorial on March 16, 1992, the newspaper noted that the faction calls the proposed system a popular election by proxy as if to give the appearance that the president would be chosen by people at large. Why, then, is there opposition to the election of the president by popular vote? the newspaper asked. That was also the position of the other major English-language newspaper, The China Post, which in a thoughtful and well-argued editorial on March 11, 1992, pointed out the flaws in the arguments of KMT members supporting the current system of indirect presidential election. The editorial, responding to a KMT factions argument that direct presidential election will deprive the National Assembly of its most important duty of electing the president, said,
Refusing to revise the government structure just because the structure was established by the Constitution seems pointless. . . . The Constitution needs revision because it was written on the mainland more than 40 years ago to apply to all of China. It must be revised to meet Taiwans present-day political and social circumstances.

Voting to choose the president is a basic right of the people. It would be both easy and convenient for them to perform that right. No delegates are necessary to vote on their behalf. The first direct presidential election in Taiwan was held in March 1996, and the role of the press in bringing this about, both through educating the public and influencing its political necessity, was acknowledged by Dr. Chihcheng Lo, executive director of the Institute for National Policy Research Think Tank in Taipei (Lo, 2005). During President Lee Teng-huis tenure, the press continued its campaign to improve the media and democratic environment. For example, the press as a whole had long regarded the Publication Law, which had been in place since the 1930s, as a tool to curtail freedom of the press and freedom of publishing through licensing. The law also empowered the police to seize or ban printed material considered to be seditious, treasonous, sacrilegious, interfering with the lawful exercise of public functions, or violating public order or morals. The medias strong campaign against this law led to its repeal on January 13, 1999, by the legislative branch (Wang, 2005).



With the reelection of President Chen Shui-bian in March 2004, the Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) began to insist that the next phase of constitutional reforms should strengthen press freedoms. The ATJ called for freedom of the press to be enshrined in the Constitution and said it would watch Chen to see if he delivers on a promise he made that the Constitution would include such a provision. It also called for the enactment of a law allowing access to government documents, revisions to the existing national secrets protection law to allow easier access to government information, establishment of a national communication commission free of political influence, and enactment of a law prohibiting political figures from hosting television talk shows (Central News Agency, 2005). In a clear sign that Taiwans media are gaining clout in influencing continued political reforms, President Chens government was reported to be consulting with the ATJ in deliberations on the next phase of constitutional revisions (Yiu, 2004, p. 3). The ATJs call to revise the national secrets protection law is considered necessary as the current legislation forces journalists to walk a tightrope in balancing press freedom to report on issues of public interest with national security concerns. For example, a journalist, Hung Cheh-cheng, was sentenced to a year and a half in prison in July 2003 for writing a report about military maneuvers. Hung was accused of revealing military secrets in two articles written by him that appeared in Power News, a daily publication in May and July 2000. The prosecution said the articles contained classified information about the countrys military exercises. The articles also detailed the sighting of three Chinese military survey ships off Taiwans eastern coast two days before the May 20, 2000, presidential inauguration. The court granted Hung a three-year suspended sentence, but the source for the article was given a two-year jail sentence for providing Hung with the information (IPI, 2003). Hung insisted that it was a reporters job to dig for information beyond the official sources. Do reporters have to wait for handouts from public relations departments before they can write anything? he asked (AP, 2003). The Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based watchdog organization, said, It is outrageous that Hung Cheh-cheng has been sentenced for reporting on matters of clear public interest (IPI, 2003). Medias push for a more transparent government versus the governments need to protect state secrets was the subject of another celebrated case in 2002. In mid-March 2002, Next magazine ran a cover story titled Lee Teng-hui Illegally Used 3 Billion Taiwanese Dollars, alleging that former President Lee had approved a secret slush fund operated by the National Security Bureau to pay off diplomatic allies in Taiwans diplomatic rivalry with Beijing and to spy on China. Local media suspected the document on which the article was based was leaked by a fugitive accountant, Colonel Liu Kuan-chun, who had embezzled $5.5 million from the secret fund (Reuters, 2002).



The Taiwan authorities considered the leaks so serious that they obtained a search warrant, and on March 20, 2002, the offices of Next magazine were raided by police, and 160,000 copies of the magazine were confiscated. Police also searched the home of journalist Hsieh Zhong-liang, author of the article in question, who was formally told not to leave the island. In response to the allegations, the editor-in-chief of Next, Pei Wei, told reporters that the two secret funds had nothing to do with national secrets so the search was a violation of press freedom and that the public had a right to know about the secret accounts (IPI, 2002). Local media immediately protested the charges citing press freedom and said that the public has the right to know the truth, especially as it pertains to scandals and corruption. The mass circulation China Times, which also ran excerpts from the document, called the government search brutal. The document published by the media is criminal evidence of a scandal in the National Security Bureau. It is not a matter of national security, the paper said in an editorial on March 22, 2002. Yu Chia-chang, president of the Association of Taiwan Journalists, said the case may cast a shadow on Taiwans democracy. Press freedom is actually an important index for democracy, Yu said (Chuang, 2002, p. 3). Ku Ling-ling, a professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at National Taiwan University, said that the raid was an obvious violation of press freedomsomething shameful for a democratic government. Im sorry for this, she said. People have the right to know the truth. Honestly, I cant believe that a thing like this could happen today in Taiwan. I think it goes without saying that media workers should protest against this because it was against democracy (Chuang, 2002, p. 3). The raid drew outcries from opposition politicians also who said it undermined Taiwans hard-won democracy. Our constitution clearly states that peoples freedom of speech is protected, KMT lawmaker John Chang said. He said that the legislature should pass bills on state secrets, government information disclosure, national intelligence supervision, and intelligence archives as soon as possible so that both the government and the media have regulations to follow when arguments over national security and press freedom crop up. People have different definitions of secrets, he said. It will make things easier if there is a manual to follow (Chuang, 2002, p. 3). Taiwans press received support from overseas media organizations. The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists sent a protest letter to President Chen Shui-bian condemning the move. CPJ considers this an important press freedom issue that has serious implications for the health of Taiwanese democracy. The Paris-based Reporters sans Frontieres (Reporters without Borders) said: The use of such practices is unworthy of a democracy like Taiwan. Invoking national security to justify this seizure is very questionable (Reuters, 2002).



Responding to the furore at home and abroad over the government raid on the magazines offices, Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian was reported by The China Post as saying to a group of military leaders in Taipei on March 24, 2002: No one should be permitted to use national security as an excuse to stifle the growth of democracy, or use the banner of national security as an excuse to hamper freedom of the press (IPI, 2002). In January 2003, Taiwans legislative branch passed the National Secrets Protection Law, which may help clarify the issue by setting clearer legal boundaries. The new law that went into effect on October 1, 2003, clarifies three categories of confidential material and sets a penalty of up to seven years in prison for revealing state secrets (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2003). A favorable libel law, which is also civil rather than criminal in statute, is seen as a great aid by the press in democratic countries in its pursuit of watchdog journalism. In both American and European systems, criminal liability for defamation is virtually obsolete. Libel remains a criminal offense in Taiwan as a result of the laws dating back to the 1930s. Plaintiffs often use the threat of criminal prosecution as a tactical ploy to obtain favorable out-ofcourt monetary settlements from news organizations involved, failing which they can pursue the prosecution (Tseng, 2005). Media and other critics of the libel law say that it can have the effect of silencing critical reporting by allowing the imprisonment of journalists for up to two years for what they write. They argue that this criminal code law should be replaced with civil legislation providing for remedies in the form of corrections and payment of demonstrable damages to plaintiffs, as in the West. Some influential figures in Taiwan, particularly the rich and powerful, have resorted to criminal libel suits to threaten, intimidate, and curtail investigative reporting by the press. For example, Huang Chao-sung said that during his eight-year tenure as editor-in-chief of The China Times there were more than 20 such lawsuits (Sinorama, 1998). Handling libel suits has become a major burden for the news media. What is deeply troubling to the media is that the law places the burden of proof on the accused, but at the same time reporters have to protect their sources. Reporters doing interviews are in fact very helpless; they exist in an environment in which they never know what is going to happen. Will the persons involved try to destroy evidence? Huang asked. What is even more worrying to the news media is that fear of lawsuits will cause reporters to become overcautious and censor themselves. Huang Hung-jen, former editor-in-chief of Business Weekly, was twice found guilty of libel. He came to the conclusion that he could not shoulder the burden of the job and became an editorial consultant. As a result of a string of libel lawsuits, legislator Alice Kao, who was formerly a reporter herself, called a public hearing in the hope that she could make things easier for journalists. After consulting legal community opinion, Kao proposed revisions that included adopting the principle of malicious



intent as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court in its landmark 1964 decision New York Times v. Sullivan. In that case the court ruled that to be found not guilty journalists need only to do a reasonable job of gathering evidence and obtaining assurances of truth and show no malicious intent to destroy someones character. Freedom of the press is essential for a democratic society, and its importance goes beyond simply protecting the rights of journalists to do their job, Kao said (Sinorama, 1998). At the time of this writing in mid2005, the media campaign to revise this criminal libel law was continuing. Apart from its campaign to consolidate an open and civil society, Taiwans press also engages in an uninhibited political coverage. When the opposition KMT party chairman Lien Chan paid a trip to China in late April 2005, the first since the party fled to Taiwan in 1949 after defeat by Chinese Communists in a civil war, Taiwan newspapers broadly welcomed Liens trip as a journey of peace. Some in the media, however, were sharply critical. The Liberty Times newspaper, which supports independence for Taiwan, condemned the trip as a failure, saying it was nothing more than an attempt to revive his political career. The KMT is no longer the ruling party and there is nothing to talk about between the two countriesone democratic and the other authoritative. Lien did not represent the ruling party nor the Taiwanese people and the so-called peace journey was only his struggle to continue his personal political life after two major blows, the Liberty Times said. This is definitely a trip of failure, an act of treason . . . collaborating with the communists to oppress Taiwan, (AFP, 2005). Broadcasting Ever since the lifting of martial law in Taiwan, media critics, academics, opposition politicians, and the public have campaigned that politicians should get out of media ownership and management to eliminate the conflict of interest between the politician with an agenda to push and the objective of critical scrutiny of public affairs by the fourth estate. Interviews with academics and think tank representatives reveal that although the issue has been largely addressed in the print media, terrestrial broadcast stations are widely believed to operate under political influence because of their ownership structure. The government, KMT, DPP, and armed forces are the largest shareholder in, or are otherwise associated with, one of Taiwans five terrestrial broadcast television stations. The fifth, Public Television Service, is run by a nonprofit public foundation. Specifically, the KMT, through the party-run Hua Hsia Investment Holding Company, owns a 65 percent stake in China Television Company (CTV) and a 10 percent stake in Taiwan Television Enterprise (TTV). The government owns 47.39 percent of TTV and, through the Ministry of National Defense, owns 75.04 percent of the Chinese Television System (CTS). The governments stakes in both companies long



predate the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration (Ko, 2004, p. 4). Formosa Television (FTV) is affiliated with the DPP (Tsai, 2001, p. 3). The KMT also has a majority of shares in the Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC), which operates radio stations for domestic and international audiences. The BCC accounts for 25 percent of the AM frequency stations and 13.96 percent of FM frequency stations, with a total of 69 stations (Ko, June 24, 2004, p. 3; Lin, 2005). In the run up to the first direct presidential election in 1996, the imbalance in the coverage of the campaign was so obvious that even the Government Information Office was embarrassed. A newspaper survey of a week of television evening news broadcasts in 1995 found that the incumbent president and KMT candidate Lee Teng-hui received on average some six minutes of coverage per night. Other KMT party-related matters would receive between four and six minutes. The opposition DPP received no coverage at all (Eyton, 2003). It was little surprise then that scores of underground radio stations began to broadcast on behalf of the DPP in the 1990s. Pro-DPP Formosa Television was also established in 1997. Politicians involvement in broadcast media has remained a major matter of concern. Asia Times reported in February 2003 that 15 lawmakers, 21 elected officials, and 6 high-ranking military officers in Taiwan have extensive TV interests, while 11 legislators and 9 elected officials have stakes in radio stations (Eyton, 2003). Taiwan Media Watch Educational Foundation reported that 9 legislators were hosting TV or radio talk shows, and 6 lawmakers were serving as chairmen of newspapers and TV stations (Tsai, 2001, p. 3). Tseng (2005) said that as a result of public and media pressures, this problem had substantially declined in respect to national broadcasting stations. News programs on the four commercial terrestrial television stations, however, are widely considered to have a political slant, although the proliferation of independent cable broadcasters has diluted their political influence by giving the public a broader range of programming. PTS is the only television station that enjoys a good measure of credibility among all of the terrestrial and the seven 24-hour cable news channels, although it has only 1 percent of market share (Cheng, 2005). The debate over the collusion of political organizations and media was illustrated by a fight between DPP legislator Lin Chung-mo and independent legislator-elect Sisy Chen in December 2001. Sisy Chen, a former spokeswoman for the DPP, is a popular TV and radio talk show host. She continued to host TV and radio programs after winning a legislative seat in December 2001. The incident turned into a controversy about politicians ability to manipulate the media. Lin accused Sisy Chen of misusing her position as a talk show host to criticize President Chens administration. Incoming DPP lawmaker Lo Wen-chia accused Sisy Chen of benefiting from her double role as a member of the media and a politician. Sisy Chen said that if the government



divested its holdings in TTV and CTS, she would quit her jobs at television and radio stations (Tsai, 2001, p. 3). Media and public concern about the propriety of politicians involvement in broadcasting reached such a critical point that on April 4, 2004, the Star TV satellite channel canceled the contract of the political program Sisys News. Sisy Chen said the decision was politically motivated and accused the ruling DPP of being involved in an attempt to silence opposition voices. The opposition KMT said the withdrawal of Chens program was an attack on democracy. Star TV rejected the charges of censorship and said the decision was taken with the aim of diversifying its programming. Presidential adviser James Huang told the press that the president had not been involved. Chen resumed her program on the KMT-controlled China Television in May 2004, although she did not run for a legislative seat in the December 2004 elections (Hsieh, 2004; Reporters without Borders, Taiwan 2004 Annual Report). Meanwhile, President Chens government had already initiated steps to remove political and military influence from the media. In September 2003, 12 DPP public officials resigned from their positions in the media in compliance with an order issued by Chen. Those who resigned included DPP lawmakers Trong Chai of Formosa TV and Chang Chun-hung of Global TV. Freeing the media from political influence is one of the basic approaches of media reform. The withdrawal of our party members from media operations is a small step, yet a crucial one toward media reform, Chen said (Chang, 2003, p. 3). The DPP also urged the KMT to immediately withdraw from the management of CTV and BCC, but the KMT responded that since the bills requiring the removal of political forces in the media had not been passed, it did not have to comply with the requirement. Within a few months, however, a comprehensive legislation was enacted. In December 2003, the government passed the new Broadcasting and Television Law, which incorporates the 1976 Terrestrial Radio and Television Law, the 1993 Cable Radio and Television Law, and the 1999 Satellite Radio and Television Law. The new law stipulates that political parties, the government, and the military are no longer allowed to own or manage media outlets. Politicians are also banned from investing in broadcasting. The new law also gives radio and television enterprises two years to divest themselves of political party or government-owned shares or face mandatory fines so that they can become autonomous and free of political influence (Tseng, 2005). Government agencies were given six months to draft regulations on how the shares should be disposed of, and an ad hoc commission comprising legislative representatives from various parties and media professionals was to oversee the process. Under the law, politicians, including the staff of political parties, government personnel, and elected officials, are obliged to resign their post as shareholder, owner, or manager in media organizations within six months of the amendments taking effect. The revised Broadcasting and Tele-



vision Law creates a national communications commission to oversee the broadcast media industry. It will take over functions currently undertaken by the Government Information Office and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (Lu, 2003, p. 1). To begin the process of divestiture, the legislative branch began debating a draft bill for transferring official shares of broadcasting enterprises in September 2004. The draft bill will decide the future for CTS and TTV. Yi-hung Tseng, deputy director of the Department of Broadcasting Affairs at the Government Information Office, said that CTS is expected to be integrated into the Public Television Service after the bill is passed (Tseng, 2005). The government was deliberating whether to privatize TTV, its other station. The GIO also called on the KMT to sell its stake in broadcast properties (Ko, 2004, p. 4). The KMT was reported to have started talks to sell its stakes in CTV and TTV, as well as the Broadcasting Corporation of China, Central Daily News, China Daily News, and a movie company in order to comply with the Broadcast and Television Law (China Post, 2004). Dr. Chia-lung Lin, minister in the Government Information Office, said in a speech that overall reform of the media is an extremely important project for the sustainable development of Taiwan. The poor quality of radio and television broadcasting is not inherent; rather, the problem is mainly institutional. Therefore, the restructuring of the media environment and institutions has become essential (Lin, 2005).


It is clear from the foregoing that a variety of factors caused the Taiwanese media to change over time from being a propaganda organ of the martial law regime to the independent, courageous, and aggressive institution they are today pushing for a responsive and accountable government. Just as the Enlightenment philosophy steered the West away from authoritarian politics starting with the 18th century, the twin movements of Confucian humanism and Chinese liberalism, at least in Taiwan, have provided the philosophical justification for abandoning martial law in favor of an open political system in Taiwan. Several other factors have also been responsible for the emergence of a free press on the island. They include an increasingly literate and affluent population pushing for a role in political governance and finding support from alternative and underground media in the last years of martial law and from the diverse and free press of todays Taiwan, the role of the Information Revolution in technology-savvy Taiwan in promoting political pluralism, Western political influences, and the ongoing improvement of laws governing press freedom and media access to information. The transition of Taiwans political system from martial law to a democracy has been, by and large, accomplished in a peaceful manner. This is an unprecedented development in the history of



Chinese civilization. It is true that democracy came to Hong Kong, but that happened under the British colonial rule and even then toward the end of the British presence. Political observers note that since the reversion of Hong Kong to China in 1997, it has lost some of the political and media freedoms because of Chinas administrative pressure. Mainland China and the other predominantly Chinese country, Singapore, remain beholden to the traditional, or legalistic, view of the Confucian political philosophy, which is seen to support an authoritarian, albeit benevolent, political system. Freed of the shackles imposed by the martial law, mass media in Taiwan have not only asserted their freedoms but also used the freedoms to carry the political reforms process forward and make the political establishment more accountable. Taiwans media offer wide-ranging and uninhibited political coverage and commentary. As Wiest (2004), writing for the Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post, said, A free press since martial law ended in 1987 has been instrumental in fostering the growth of fledgling democracy in Taiwan. Only through a well-informed public could the high voter turnout more than 80 percenthave been possible. In an interview, Dr. Szu-yin Ho, professor of political science at Taiwans prestigious National Chengchi University, said that Taiwans media have been a disciplining factor on politics and an educational factor for citizens regarding the workings of the countrys democracy (Ho, 2005). Politicians have to always look over their shoulders now because of a probing press, he added. According to the 2004 surveys by watchdog groups Freedom House, International Press Institute, and Reporters without Borders, Taiwanese media enjoy some of the worlds strongest press freedoms. Investigation into corruption spares no one and editorials are sometimes very critical of the political class, the Reporters without Borders report said. Newspapers published by political parties and the government have greatly decreased. Leftover party-affiliated newspapers, such as the Central Daily News and China Daily News operated by the KMT, are not competitive enough because of their political subjectivity (Taiwan Yearbook, 2004, p. 257). The Broadcasting and Television Law promises to rid radio and television broadcasting of controls and management by political parties and politicians. The media continue their campaign in support of consolidating civil society institutionspromoting a system of checks and balances, securing a balance between governmental transparency and classified information, pushing for freedom of information and sunshine laws to secure the publics right to know, and reforming libel and privacy laws to enable the press to serve as a true watchdog. Although Taiwanese journalists, many having been educated in American journalism schools, take their role models from the United States, significant concerns were expressed by journalists, academics, politicians, and think tank representatives about a lack of professionalism in the media in interviews with this writer in Taipei. Print media performance was given a relatively better rating by them than that of the broadcast media. Dr. I-chung Lai, director of the



foreign policy studies think tank in Taipei, was alarmed to the point of saying that media performance is being counterproductive to the health of Taiwans democracy (Lai, 2005). Lai explained that competitive pressures are forcing the media to create and juice up news rather than offering responsible reporting and in-depth discussions. A Los Angeles Times report on Taiwans press noted that Concerned about medias excesses and ability to ruin reputations and lives, reformers in and outside the industry are trying to stem the sensationalism, partisanship and corruption that characterize the business. Some argue that the media are merely a reflection of Taiwanese society, which is one of the most freewheeling in Asia (Magnier, 2005). Two weeks before the March 2004 presidential election, the Association of Taiwan Journalists held a forum and urged members to be fair, take time to verify information, and avoid becoming either political camps mouthpiece (Wiest, 2004). In an interview, Crystal Hsu, news editor of Taiwan News, said that sensationalism and lack of professionalism in the media are the result of a highly competitive media environment in Taiwan rather than any serious concerns about the education and training of journalists (C. Hsu, 2005). In a market of 23 million people, Taiwan has 7 24-hour television news channels, 4,405 magazines, 172 radio stations, 135 cable TV channels, 602 daily newspapers, and 841 domestic news agencies (Lee, 2005). The desperate struggle for circulations and ratings in this highly competitive media environment is driving media content. A study conducted by the Foundation for the Advancement of Media Excellence in Taiwan in December 2004 said, The lack of professional autonomy of individual journalists in news enterprises demonstrates that the force controlling the media is no longer the public interest but the commercial interests of media bosses (Taiwan News, 2004). According to results of an opinion poll released in September 2004, close to 50 percent of Taiwanese adults were dissatisfied with the performance of the news media over the past year, citing sensationalism, political interference, and commercialism as the most serious ills. Significantly, the same poll showed that journalists themselves had similar concerns (IPI, 2004). The fact that journalists are also concerned about professionalism bodes well for the future of journalism and democracy in Taiwan. Apart from commercial pressures dictating media content, it may very well have been natural for Taiwans press to have gone from being a lapdog in the martial law years to what The Los Angeles Times (Magnier, 2005) calls a mad dog in the formative years of Taiwans democracy because professionalism in journalism is by nature an evolutionary process. Nongovernmental organizations, media groups such as the ATJ, academics, and parents are sponsoring discussion programs and exerting pressure to see that mass media play a responsible watchdog role in the society. But, as Yi-cheng Jou, director of Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, said, even with concerns about media professionalism, the 23 million Taiwanese are better off with the media they have now compared with the compliant media



during the martial law years. Strong criticism of government by the media is a good development, he said ( Jou, 2005). The Los Angeles Times story notes that point in a larger regional perspective. Taiwans media have the reputation of being among the most aggressive in Asia. In a region where print and broadcast reporters are often de facto cheerleaders for governments and billionaires, Taiwans no-holds-barred journalism is alternately seen as a gutsy check on authority and the embodiment of chaos (Magnier, 2005). Joy Wan, a reporter with Taiwan News, pointed out, for example, that media have been quick to expose instances of vote buying by political parties in recent years, and, as a result, the problem has been largely addressed (Wan, 2005). The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy has recommended additional tasks for the media to improve the democratic system and to better serve the people. It says that the countrys media are too motivated by commercial considerations and basically doing the same type of journalism for mass appeal. It wants to see the development of media segmentation, as in the West, to serve varied interests and intellectual levels. It wants the media to campaign for the development of civil society institutions, especially NGOs. It also wants media campaigns asking the political parties to redefine themselves so that they serve various democratic needs, such as labor interests, rather than being all pro-business and being more than either pro or against unification with China ( Jou, 2005). The postmartial law commitment to political and press freedoms remains strong in Taiwan. President Chen Shui-bian said on June 3, 2005, in a meeting with Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The New York Times, that press freedoms are more valuable than national security (Chang, 2005). Chen also said that newspapers are politicians mirrors, and while their stories might not always be palatable, politicians have to accept them humbly. The more closely the media keeps its eye on politicians, and the more scathingly are the criticisms, the better work lawmakers do. When it comes to press freedoms, it is better to err on the side of accommodating them too much than too little, Chen said.

NOTE This chapter is based on research that was supported in part by a grant from the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. I am grateful to this foundation for its support. I am also grateful to Central Missouri State University Department of Communication and the International Programs Office for providing part of the research funding support. The research sponsors are not responsible for the views expressed in this chapter. Eighteen interviews were conducted by this writer in Taipei, Taiwan, between June 22 and June 29, 2005, with newspaper and broadcast journalists and administrators, academics, think tank representatives, representatives of the KMT and DPP political parties, and officials at the Government Information Office.



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Equivocating while Opening the Broadcast Liberalization Gates


INTRODUCT ION SUALLY, BROADCAST MARKET liberalization is associated with a democracy. The broadcast market liberalization effort that moved swiftly throughout the world from the 1980s had its roots in the ideological changes, which began in the late 1970s in east Europe, Africa, and elsewhere. Nations that adopted the capitalist ideologies and democratic governments also adopted the underlying principles of a liberalized broadcast market, which included the key instruments of competition and private-interest participation. Nigeria, however, was remarkably different. It briefly adopted a democratic government from 1979 until 1983 without any liberalization of its broadcast market. Surprisingly, Nigerias broadcast market was liberalized in 1992 under the return of a military dictatorship. This was an anomaly because military dictatorships are usually associated with ironclad decrees that extend state control over broadcasting. In such military dictatorships, state control is often preferred over market liberalization, and broadcast monopoly is preferred over a competitive marketplace. The analysis of this Nigerian anomaly is, therefore, of great interest to broadcast media scholars. It provides an opportunity to find out why a military



dictatorship took the unusual and unexpected step to liberalize the broadcasting market. Furthermore, it provides additional opportunity to assess the impact of liberalization in Nigeria after the country became democratized in 1999. To do justice to this, the chapter shall review the background of the broadcast industry in Nigeria and the subsequent pressures to liberalize it. Additionally, it shall analyze the states responses to the liberalization pressures and its various attempts to maintain state control. These analyses shall also include an evaluation of liberalization under the subsequent democratic system in Nigeria, including detailed discussions on the impact of liberalization and its implications for democracy.


Liberalization of broadcasting brings with it certain expectations, which include the following: competition among diverse media, rapid technological developments, enhanced customer service, and a free press among several other dividends. Thus, the transformation of the broadcast market is often a result of the agitation for the dividends listed above. The question is whether those dividends were realized from the liberalization of the Nigerian broadcast market. In any case, the agitation for change in the Nigerian broadcast market is an integral part of the history of the market itself. This history can be better understood by analyzing some critical issues of importance, including ownership, freedom of broadcast, and technological development.


Broadcasting within Nigeria had always been under state control until the early 1990s when the military dictatorship moved to liberalize it. The first broadcasting station in the country was a radio rediffusion station that was set up in Lagos as far back as 1932 to retransmit radio signals from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to British colonial administrators in Nigeria at the time (Kolade, 1974; Nweke, 2005; Onwumechili, 2003). Shortly afterward, several other radio stations were established in key regional towns such as Kaduna, Jos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, and Ibadan. These stations were under one service that was known as the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS). Upon independence in 1960 from Britain, the Nigerian government maintained its control over the broadcasting stations under a federal system. There were three levels of government in the Nigerian federal systemthe



federal (national), regional, and local. By the early 1960s, state control over broadcasting had grown to include the regional control of television stations in Ibadan and the other key regional towns. The ownership of these broadcasting stations was not limited to the national government as demonstrated above. The various regional governments were also allowed to control their own stations. The broadcasting stations were unabashedly loyal to their owners, and self-censorship and propaganda were rife. Though broadcast ownership split between the national and regional governments, there was limited competition between stations. The types of federal governments in place at a particular time determined the type of competition. For instance, under unitary systems the mode of competition between the national and regional (later known as states) stations was better described as cooperative. This system, exemplified by military dictatorships, dominated Nigeria for 20 of the 32 years preceding the introduction of private competition in broadcasting in 1992. At that time, a very powerful central/national broadcasting system made decisions that had to be implemented throughout the country, including the various regional stations. This was different from the more competitive relationships that existed during the brief periods of civilian rulership that were more democratic and operated under federal systems of government. Under such democracies, competition was only cooperative in cases where the regional/state administration was under the control of the same political party as the central government. If separate parties administered both the state and the federal government, then competition between the state and the federal broadcasting stations was politically and publicly intense. In general, however, the biggest problem was the lack of broadcast freedom. The restriction on freedom was far more acute under Nigerias military regimes, but it was also lacking, in certain cases, under democratic systems. The justification for the restriction on freedom of expression was hinged on what was widely termed as principles for the national development of the country. The prorestriction forces, led by the then ministers for information, argued that there shall be no alternative expression to those of the national government in order to ensure a successful and untruncated national development. Of course, this was based on the notion, long expressed, that the unity of the country was a critical aspect of the national development goals. To this end, the government, particularly under military control, issued several restrictive decrees to ensure broadcast compliance. One of such decrees was Decree No. 29 of 1993 (the Treason and Treasonable Offences decree), which imposes a death penalty on any person who utters any word, displays anything or publishes any material capable of breaking up Nigeria (Ogbondah, 2003). To further ensure compliance, the government controlled all broadcast stations through direct ownership. Clearly, a liberalized broadcast industry was not attractive, at the time, to the military government.



The historic insistence on government ownership of the broadcast media ultimately slowed the technological and programmatic development of the industry. First, the lack of or the insufficiency of competition acted as a demotivation to technological development. Clearly, with the audience having no alternative to the boring and redundant programming fare from the government stations, the stations saw no reasons to change either their technology or programming. The little competition that existed was not driven by the use of emerging technology. Instead, it was driven by political considerations. The paucity of competition meant that the state broadcasters were not discouraged from hiring staff on political rather than creative talent basis. Furthermore, there was also a lack of motivation to train the employees to adopt or manage new technology. Thus, production and the initiative to seek emerging technology were nonexistent (Bonde, Mahmood, & Onasanya, 2002). The first pressures to change did not come until the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the elite began to purchase huge satellite dish antennas, which they used to downlink broadcasting signals from overseas countries. That was the first extensive competition for the broadcasters in both programming fare and the use of emerging technology. A second reason to change was the inadequate funding by the government. Most broadcasters were operating on obsolete equipment and were owed salaries by the government because the allocated funds were often either misused or inadequately budgeted by the government. It was not unusual, for instance, to see some of the television broadcasters with only one outside camera for the on-location shots. When this camera was unavailable it simply meant that outside production had to cease. These dire circumstances forced the state broadcasters to seek other means of funding and led to a period of corporatization of the stations.


The pressure to liberalize the broadcast market had been latent until the late 1970s when those with political and business interests sought to open avenues for the ownership of broadcasting, especially radio stations. The potential for radio was very attractive. Bonde, Mahmood, and Onasanya (2002) report that radio, alone, reaches over 80 percent of the Nigerian population, far more than any other medium reaches in the country. However, it was this very reach that encouraged the federal military government to maintain tight control over radio broadcasting since there was rampant fear, within the corridors of power, that providing ownership access to private individuals would lead to a quick demise of the government. Remarkably, the political and business interest in pressurizing for a liberalized market was not driven by an altruistic goal of broadcast freedom or the development of broadcast technology. Instead, the major drive was the poten-



tial profits (both monetary and political) that would accrue from the private ownership of broadcasting stations. The government was steadfastly unconvinced by the pressure from the political and business class because the intent of these pressure groups was not aligned with the interest of the government. The governments intent was to maintain tight control of the country by using the broadcast media for mobilization, propaganda, and development. However, there were three additional fronts that intensified the pressure on the government to liberalize the industry. It was pressure on these fronts that eventually forced the governments capitulation. Each of the fronts appeared to have a separate interest, but the universal goal was to have a liberalized broadcast industry. The fronts are discussed in the following paragraphs. The most intense pressure came from the consequences of a poor economy. The Nigerian government was building a welfare state by subsidizing several aspects of social life, including several services that ranged from student housing to petroleum. This huge welfarism reached its zenith in the 1970s when the country was experiencing increasing revenues from crude oil sales. However, the global oil prices deflated in the 1980s, and the money available to sustain the welfarism and the building of major projects became scarce. The immediate alternative was to borrow from international financial institutions. By the early 1990s, Nigerias external debt more than tripled, from $8.9 billion to over $30 billion (The World Bank, 1994). There was an urgent need for economic restructuring. Several financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank suggested that such restructuring should include extensive divestiture of several state interests including those in broadcasting. The loans from the financial institutions were to be linked with such forced divestitures. In essence, the dismantling of the Nigerian welfare state had begun. Additional pressure came from broadcast transformations taking place everywhere else. In the 1980s, several broadcasting markets were undergoing major restructuring all over the world. Several eastern European and African countries were turning away from socialism and welfarism and adopting capitalist markets, which led to preferences for internal broadcast market competition. These major changes around the globe encouraged Nigerian entrepreneurs to begin to push their contacts in the Nigerian government to liberalize the broadcast market. They pushed aggressively with the hope of becoming the pioneers in the new broadcast gold search. Furthermore, the states iron control over television and radio signals had begun to wane by the 1980s with the rapid growth of fixed service satellites (FSS), which could not be kept away by geographical borders. The elite in major cities such as Kano and Lagos purchased FSS dish antennas, which they used to pirate satellite signals carrying broadcast and cable television programs from Europe (Bourgault, 1995; Ebesemiju, 1993; Onwumechili, 1996). In the early period of such pirating of signals, the entrepreneurial types videotaped



CNN News and similar programs, and they subsequently sold copies to the less wealthy who were interested in accessing foreign programming but did not have the funds to purchase the expensive dish antennas. This situation made a mockery of the governments steadfast attempt to censor broadcast programming within the country. The option was for the government to either ban the dish antennas, as it later attempted to do, or merely develop policies to better regulate them.


The pressures to liberalize forced the Nigerian government eventually to take action by issuing Decree No. 38 liberalizing the broadcast industry. There was no other alternative, particularly in a situation where the government needed external loans to prop up a collapsing economy. In any case, the military governments decision to liberalize broadcasting was largely because of international lenders pressure and the governments inability to control access to international satellite signals. This, ultimately, created an environment that affected the broadcast market. The reasons for market liberalization in Nigeria were clearly opposed to the reasons that often drive market liberalization elsewherecustomer service, competition, technological development, and free press among others. Satisfying the Pressures The singular move to issue the decree immediately satisfied the yearnings of the various forces that had pressured for liberalization. On the economic restructuring side, liberalization provided the first clue that the government was indeed serious about withdrawing its financial commitments to stateowned broadcasting stations. However, the state retained ownership of its broadcasting stations by corporatizing them before the arrival of the decree. In essence, the stations were expected to source their own funds under their new designation of commercialized stations. However, the stations had deteriorated, and several of them continued to depend on limited government subsidies. The liberalized broadcast markets had brought new wealth to private interests in several countries, and Nigeria was not expected to be any different. Furthermore, those interested in creating alternative programming to the usual dour fare of government protocol and development programming were being provided with the opening. These new interests were largely focused on entertainment programming. In fact, the publics interest in alternative programming was confirmed a few years prior to the issuance of the decree. The number of people accessing foreign programming through satellite downlinking had increased by leaps



and bounds. Anaegbonam (1995) pointed out that for most satellite receivers, any deal that affords them even only one international channel is okay . . . Nigerian television stations offer very little in terms of entertainment and engaging programmes (p. 8). The local stations focused on news and public affairs programming with a sprinkling of entertainment drama such as Ripples, Cock Crow at Dawn, Village Headmaster, Masquerade, Behind the Clouds, Supple Blues, Checkmate, and Adio Family. The videotape market for prerecorded CNN and other foreign programming blossomed (Onwumechili, 1996). The above observation was to serve the private interests very well. These private interests sought to imitate foreign programming when the broadcast market was liberalized. The easy way to do this was to purchase foreign programs at $500 U.S. per hour compared to producing the local Nigerian television drama at $5,000 U.S. per hour (The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission [NBC], 2004). Thus, foreign programs flooded the Nigerian broadcast market from all over the world, particularly from the United States, Britain, India, and Mexico (Nweke, 2005; Onoko, 2001) Governments Reluctance It must be pointed out that the government of military dictator General Ibrahim Babangida did not, on its own, prefer to liberalize. It did so only through coercion from the pressures that we have discussed. The governments reluctance was demonstrated in various ways. For instance, while the government was preparing for liberalization as demanded by international lenders, the then minister of information issued a warning to owners of satellite dishes that they would be arrested for illegally downlinking foreign signals (Akwule, 1992). The governments major concern was not that the satellite dish owners were not paying a fee for the downlinking. Instead, the concern was that the signals that were being downlinked included news and programs that were out of the reach of government censors. Eventually, the government issued the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Decree No. 38 in 1992 to liberalize the broadcast market. A central part of the decree was the establishment of the NBC to regulate all broadcasting in the country. For the first time, private interests were allowed to purchase licenses for both radio and television broadcasting. However, the government, through its Ministry of Information, retained the sole right to determine who or what was licensed and who or what was denied license. The decree made it clear that the NBC serves at the pleasure of the government through the minister of information. In essence, the commission is not an independent regulatory body, but a body that is controlled by the government. The military government of General Ibrahim Babangida wanted to assure itself that the liberalization of broadcasting did not mean the end of government control of broadcasting.



Furthermore, the decree required the commission membership to include both the representatives of the Ministry of Information and the representatives of the feared State Security Service (SSS) (Broadcasting in Nigeria, 2001). In this instance, the SSS was widely used to maintain the states control of broadcasters. For instance, in 1996, the SSS was central to the arrest and the detention of a Radio Rivers producer, Okina Deesor, for broadcasting the Ogoni national anthem1 (Nigeria: Abachas Media, 1997). Deesor was accused of attempting to subvert the nation. Deesors arrest was one of several similar cases, particularly under the military rule of the late General Sani Abacha. The government also began to apply a mixture of both overt and not so overt control. Decree No. 38 was designed to ensure a subtle but continued government control of broadcasting. For instance, no private-owned national broadcaster has been licensed to compete with the government-owned national broadcaster. The military reserved a nationwide signal reach for only the state-owned broadcasting systems such as the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). It tacitly allowed the NBC to award licenses to broadcasting systems with signal reach that was often localized. However, even the broadcasting systems that were localized had to practice self-censorship in order to maintain their licenses.


It is apparent from the above discourse that the relationship between dictatorial leadership and broadcast liberalization is problematic. For instance, we have shown that broadcast market liberalization under military dictatorship in Nigeria was not driven by the expected goal of competition, improved customer service, free press, or rapid technological development. Instead, it was driven by pressure from external financial institutions and the governments realization that it could not control satellite broadcast signals that were easily accessible to Nigerians. In addition, the grudging implementation of broadcast market/liberalization reforms by the military clearly presented obstacles. However, military rule in Nigeria came to an end in 1999 with the election of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Ordinarily, the change from a military dictatorship to a democratic environment should portend positive changes in the broadcast liberalization environment. For instance, a democratic environment is expected to support competition, improve customer service, and ensure free press among other improvements. Nigeria has developed several democratic institutions and practices since 1999. These include the rapid growth of civil society and the increased freedom for the press including broadcasters. Prior to democracy, there were fre-



quent and many arrests of broadcast and other journalists. Media Rights reported that when repressive legislation failed to effectively muzzle the press, General Abacha positioned his security operatives to attack and abduct journalists . . . before General Abachas sudden death on June 8, of 1998, the government was owing media houses and journalists over N28 millions being judgment debts over illegal closure (and) . . . detention of journalists (Nigeria Nexus, undated; Attacks on the Press, undated). However, the freedom to broadcast remains under siege. In 2004, the broadcast regulator announced that it will begin to enforce an obscure section 5 (1.4) of Decree No. 38 which bars broadcasters from the live transmission of foreign news citing the danger (that) broadcasts pose to (our) national interest (Aihe, 2004, Nigeria: Regulator Bans, 2004). More disturbing events include the shutdown of broadcasting stations by the NBC because of broadcasts that the regulator considers antigovernment (Ajani, Amaize, Ehigiator, & Oyadongha, 2005; Nigeria: Broadcasters, 2005; Nigeria: Private Broadcasters, 2005; Nigeria regulator, 2006). The stations that have been shut down include Freedom Radio in Kano, AIT and RayPower FM, and Glory FM of Yenagoa. In a sense, it is a case where a supposedly democratic administration is taking advantage of censorship laws that had been promulgated by the military dictators to curtail the benefits of market liberalization. There is still no nationwide license awarded to private interests in radio. However, the NBC announced that it would soon auction licenses for a national network of private stations (Aihe, 2005). The number of newer licenses awarded for both radio and television has increased, but members of the ruling party (the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria) and their friends own a substantial number of them.2 The number of broadcast stations is at 155 at the time of this writing (NBC Homepage). A large number of these stations remain government owned. Table 6.1 shows the distribution of broadcast stations in Nigeria. One would have thought that the high number

TABLE 6.1 Distribution of Licensed Broadcasting Stations in Nigeria

Type of Ownership Type of Station Radio Television Total Private 32 16 48 State/Region 11 46 57 Federal 11 39 50 Total 54 101 155

Note: This table does not include stations broadcasting through MMDS, which are widely known as wireless cable stations



of civil organizations in the country and increasing number of young, wealthy individuals would have led to a significant increase in the number of new owners. Some may point to high license fees associated with entry, high rejection rate for applications, and financial problems associated with early licensees as explanation for the less than expected growth of independent or private stations.3


Since 1992, broadcast liberalization has made and continues to make an impact in Nigeria with implications for democracy. It did not require much to make an initial impact on a market that was essentially moribund because the government-owned media continued to regurgitate the same programs for years with a focus on protocol coverage. It is also important to note that while a significant part of the impact had come under a democratic environment, several had developed even before then. In any case, the impact of broadcast market liberalization has come in the areas of source diversity, community broadcasting, access to foreign media, access to foreign markets for Nigerian media, improvement in broadcast freedom, diminished popularity of government-owned media, and the effect on culture. Not all of these are positive, but each impact is associated, to a significant extent, to broadcast liberalization and the furtherance of democracy. Each of these areas of impact is discussed separately in the following paragraphs. Source Diversity Prior to industry liberalization in 1992, there were several government-owned broadcast stations in the country. In fact, almost all administrative states or regions had their own radio and television station. Separately, the federal government had its own radio and television stations. However, these multiple stations did not mean that there were diverse voices in Nigerian broadcasting. In fact, the opposite was the case. Both the federal and state-owned stations focused on similar types of programming, including a heavy dose of protocoltype programs, which could be observed in the news, magazines, talk shows, and documentaries. In essence, everything seemed focused on the ruling government and its activities. It was not surprising that most of the broadcasting journalists were assigned beats that concentrated on the governors quarters and government agencies. There was little news reported about and from elsewhere. Government justified its focus on this type of protocol programming by classifying it as development news. The government merely saw radio and television as instruments for public mobilization and dissemination of devel-



opment reports. However, this agenda appeared to ignore news from the ordinary people and provided the general audience with relatively little entertainment. The entertainment programming was largely drawn from pirated videotapes of shows obtained from the United States and the United Kingdom. These included The Cosby Show, Soul Train, Fame, Scooby Doo, and Bernie, among several others. The few homegrown shows included Masquerade, Cock Crow at Dawn, and The Village Headmaster, which were earlier mentioned. Liberalization changed most of the dour nature of programming by bringing in fresh ideas as a result of competition. On the radio side, there were changes. Some of the private stations began to focus on a younger adult audience by focusing on entertainment with a heavy dose of American music such as pop and rap. These stations such as RayPower FM, Cosmo FM, and Cool FM suddenly became popular with this type of music programming. This was a remarkable change from the programming that was provided earlier by the governmentowned radio stations that focused largely on governmental activities. In addition, some stations created a special interest niche in their programming. Key examples are Brilla FM, which is focused on sports, Spectrum FM, which is focused on news, and Atlantic FM, which has a license to broadcast in French. These special interest radio stations are the first of their kind in Nigeria. The impact on television was even more significant. The introduction of private ownership seemed to invigorate television. Television channels multiplied almost overnight. Previously, Nigerians were restricted to a single television station in most parts of the country where the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) appeared to be the only choice. The exceptions were places such as Lagos and a few major cities where there was more than one television channel. In such places, the state government owned a separate channel from the federal government. Just as we had mentioned above with radio, there was very little true diversity with television. However, the introduction of private television stations brought diversity, at least, because such stations offered an alternative to government-protocol programming. New television stations such as African Independent Television (AIT) and Minaj Broadcasting System (MBS) provided a variety of entertainment programming, both local and foreign, mixed with more serious fare. Significantly, there were more options provided to the consumer in terms of the means through which a television program could enter the consumers home. A new option included wireless cable, which offered consumers as many as six television channels, a far cry from the past, when most consumers could only access one or two channels at best (Onwumechili, 2003; Onwumechili & Nwokeafor, 2000). Community Broadcasting Liberalization has had some impact on community broadcasting. In 2005, the NBC publicly announced plans to focus attention on licensing community



stations, which would be strictly designed to run as nonprofits with participation from members of the local community. However, since the liberalization of the industry in the early 1990s, the NBC has approved very few community stations. The only such station of note is the 103 FM owned by the University of Lagos, which received a license in 2004. The NBC has consistently denied licenses to several applicants for community broadcasting. Among those denied are applications for academic stations by Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and the University of Maidugri (Nigeria: Broadcasters, 2005). In any case, it is clear that the liberalization of the industry was a plus because of the creation of community broadcasting. While the impact on this type of broadcasting appears minuscule at the time of this writing, it is expected to become significant in the coming years. Access to Foreign Media Nigerians had access to foreign broadcast media before the liberalization of broadcasting in Nigeria. In fact, we have discussed how such access became a critical factor in the push for liberalization. However, the preliberalization access to foreign media was restricted to the wealthy elite who had considerable funds to purchase FSS dish antennas. These antennas were required in order to downlink foreign satellite programming prior to 1992 in Nigeria. All of that changed after the market was liberalized. It was no longer necessary to purchase the expensive FSS dish antennas. Instead, access was provided through subscription services. In the new environment, more Nigerians, including the less wealthy middle-class families, were economically able to access such programming by spending less to subscribe to wireless cable service. Access to foreign radio programming had been available to Nigerians long before 1992. Due to the prevalence of short-wave radio sets in Nigeria, there had always been access to a few foreign radio broadcasting stations, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Moscow, Deutsche Welle, and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), as well as broadcast signals from neighboring countries, including Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana. However, these foreign stations did not offer stable broadcast signals, and they are only accessible at certain times of the day, usually in the late evenings. At other times, attempts to access them led to static atmospheric disturbances. It is also important to note that clandestine broadcasting by Nigerian-managed radio stations, which are often prodemocracy, operate just like the stations mentioned above. They also broadcast by using short-wave signals and are, therefore, susceptible to atmospheric interferences, particularly during the day. Among these clandestine stations are the Voice of Biafra International, Radio Freedom Frequency (Radio F and F), Radio Democrat Nigeria, Radio National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), and Radio Kudirat (Ilgradios, undated). The location of each of those stations was



unknown, and the government did not license any of them. Those radio stations were active during the era of military dictatorships, particularly under the late General Sani Abacha. The Voice of Biafra International continues to broadcast through the purchase of time from existing foreign stations whose broadcast signals transverse Nigeria. The station continues to advocate for the secession of the Eastern Igbos of Nigeria. In essence, until recently, Nigerians were largely able to access only the local government-owned and privately owned radio stations for most of the day. The liberalization of the radio broadcasting market has not changed this situation. However, it is clear that the advent of satellite digital radio broadcasting from foreign nations will change this in the coming years. Access to television signals from foreign nations was a relatively recent phenomenon. Its first known case was late in the 1980s when elites in the urban centers, particularly in Kano and Lagos, began to downlink satellite television signals. They were able to view regularly programming from CNN, Music Television (MTV), and Euronews, among others, with this technology. The activity was illegal because the receivers did not subscribe to the service. As we pointed out earlier, the government was not amused by these activities that threatened the governments iron control of news and broadcasting. Liberalization came afterward, and its main effect was to widen the Nigerian audience for the foreign television channels. Several regulated providers of foreign channels such as Multichoice and TrendTV emerged. The providers mixed the foreign channels that they offered with AIT, Africa Magic Channel4 and BOP Television for local and African flavor. People can now pay just N2000 to N8000 to receive a wireless cable package of 6 to 20 channels each month. This subscription rate, which is equivalent to $15 to $60 U.S. per month, is within the reach of some middle-class Nigerian families. The channels included in most provider packages are Hallmark (a movie channel), BBC, CNN, Cartoon Network, Entertainment Sports Programming Network (ESPN), and several others. In certain cases, a channel may begin with cartoon network programming earlier in the day and then change to ESPN later. Access to Foreign Markets The impact of broadcast liberalization has been felt not only in terms of increased access to the foreign media in Nigeria but also Nigerian media having access to foreign markets. Television, particularly, has spread its audience reach beyond the Nigerian borders through the use of communication satellites. The first Nigerian television station to reach foreign-based audiences, far beyond Nigerian borders, was Minaj Broadcasting Systems (MBS) in Obosi, which began to broadcast to countries such as England in the late 1990s. Minaj Broadcasting Systems service to England was, however, short lived as MBS faded away from the scene shortly after it transitioned from being a free



cable service to a premium subscriber cable service. Prior to Minajs service to England, broadcasting from Nigeria was restricted to inside the nations borders except for the Voice of Nigeria (VON) radio, which broadcast its signals wide around Africa. It is doubtful that a Nigerian television station would have sought to broadcast beyond Nigerias borders without the introduction of a liberalized market in 1992. In fact, the formal goals of the governmentowned television stations, which monopolized television prior to 1992, were focused internally and not externally. Today, the African Independent Television (AIT) broadcasts live to the United States on Telstar 5 satellite, and the NTA is available on a Comcast digital cable package. The demand for AIT in America is growing, particularly among the hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who live there and continue to be interested in news and sports from the motherland. In 2005, AIT signed an agreement with a major cable television service provider in the United StatesComcast Cable (Figler, 2003). This agreement will lead to AIT joining NTA on the list of channels offered to millions of Comcasts subscribers nationwide. Broadcast Freedom The impact of broadcast market liberalization on broadcast freedom has been largely moderate. Prior to liberalization, freedom was nonexistent because both the federal and state governments wielded strong control over their broadcast stations. News and programming were widely censored to prevent any criticism of the government. More important, the government often appointed its sympathizers to the broadcast media management boards. This ensured self-censorship by the media. Broadcast access to government critics was strongly denied. This strong control of the media was very high under military rule. As argued earlier, liberalization did not immediately increase broadcast freedom in Nigeria. Instead, state control of broadcasting became subtle as the military government, particularly under the late dictator General Sani Abacha, used all sorts of means to quell the opposing voices. Private broadcast radio and television avoided politicking in order to escape Abachas wrath. The only broadcast of opposing and nongovernmental voices came from the foreign media or the clandestine radio stations that broadcast signals from outside the country into Nigeria. At the height of Abachas reign, The Vanguard newspaper reported that Abacha had planned to nationalize the popular private broadcasting stations AIT and RayPower I and use both of them to campaign for civilian presidency (Nigerian Multimedia Industry, 1999). The report further noted that the two media outlets would be a stumbling block to the self-succession plans of General Abacha. The only way to ward off this threat [was the] . . . acquisition of a 51 percent stake in RayPower and AIT [which] would have given controlling shares to the government.



Private broadcasters continued to largely avoid national politics even after the introduction of democratic government in 1999. However, AIT and a few other privately owned stations have begun to widen access to civil society organizations and critics of the government (Nigeria: Private Broadcasters, 2005). However, the government-owned stations have remained as uncritical of government activities as ever. Popularity of Government Media Consequently, government-owned broadcast media, both television and radio, have lost market share. Their audience has been largely restricted to the poorer group of Nigerian viewers who are unable to afford the more expensive subscription television. Invariably, the attraction of the government-owned media has not been the quality of their programming but the low or no cost associated with them. A number of private televisions often come as part of subscription television. However, it is important to note that a large number of Nigerians still look to the government-owned NTA for the late-night national news and live coverage of major sporting events (Bonde, Mahmood, & Onasanya, 2002). In fact, even the private broadcasters often broadcast both the NTA late night news and NTA sporting events to their audience. The NTA news, to its credit, has transformed from protocol news to more professionally executed news. Customer Service The extent of customer service is best measured through several indices of customer satisfaction, which include the availability of choices, affordable pricing, and quality of the product. The liberalization of the broadcast market in Nigeria has gone a long way in enhancing customer service by addressing the indices outlined above. There are now far more choices of both radio and television stations in Nigeria than ever before. Customers now have access to 6 to more than 20 television channels instead of 1 (i.e., the state-owned NTA), as was the case in the past. The choices not only are represented in the mere number of broadcasting stations but also in the diverse programs that they offer to their audience. Most of the issues here have been discussed in more detail in the earlier section titled Source Diversity. Television access remains affordable even though the cost of access has gone up for customers. Prior to the introduction of subscription services, broadcasting service was essentially free over the air minus the cost of purchasing the receiving set. Liberalization brought subscription to cable services. The cost of subscription is essentially about $15 U.S. each month, which is affordable to the middle and elite classes.



Moreover, the quality of broadcast programs has improved. In the past, broadcasting was largely focused on government activities. Presently, the private television and radio stations offer far more variety in entertainment, news, sports, talk shows, and much more. In addition, wireless cable packages offer foreign television programming to supplement the local packages. Cultural Impact Several scholars, including Onwumechili (2003), have recounted the cultural impact of broadcast liberalization. It is important to note that the impact is recorded not only in scholarly documents. The effects are now observable in everyday life in Nigeria. Several of the new radio stations including Cosmo, RayPower I, and Cool FM blare American pop music to their youthful audiences who often dress like their American counterparts with blue faded jeans hanging below their belt line. Gangs, widely known as cults, in Nigerian universities have copied the American gangs, which are widely reported in movies shown on Nigerian television and foreign television channels available in Nigeria. Most shocking is that a few years ago one of the cult groups that was banned by the Nigerian government was named KKK (the same acronym used by the racist American group, Ku Klux Klan).The Nigerian group was not a white cult group but one that was made up of Nigerian youths! They had copied the obnoxious acronym with very little knowledge about the American organizations raison detre. Clearly, the foreign influence on Nigerian culture did not begin after liberalization in 1992. However, it is important to note that while such cultural influence was ongoing before 1992, it was hastened by broadcast liberalization. The prevalence of Western cultural symbols, through the broadcast media, has had the enduring effect of shortening the distance between the local Nigerian culture and Western culture. In essence, Nigerians now wake up to, live through, and sleep in the midst of what was erstwhile a foreign culture. Most of the private media do not feel the obligation to counter the influence by actively projecting the local culture as the government-owned media had done prior to 1992. Bonde, Mahmood, and Onasanya (2002) point out that 95 percent of the government-owned and once dominant NTA programs are locally produced. However, the decline of the NTAs market share has forced it to shift attention to foreign programming in order to compete (Onoko, 2001). The NTA began to show the foreign Touched by an Angel in its Sunday prime night slot. Onoko adds that foreign programming is not only in movies but also in cartoons, comedy, and sports. Additionally, local programs began to mimic successful foreign programs. For instance, NTA recently launched Rising Star to imitate American Idol, a music talent discovery show that is popular in the United States (Rising Star, undated). In contrast, the audience for private broadcasters has been on the rise. Satellite television ownership has reportedly risen, and a University of Maidugri professor



of communications was cited as stating that 65 percent of northern Nigerian households choose to listen to foreign radio service such as BBC, VOA, Deutsche Welle, Radio China, Tehran, and Cairo (Nigeria: Broadcasters, 2005). Comparatively, most of these privately owned stations are struggling to satisfy the regulatory requirement of at least 40 percent locally produced programming (Onwumechili, 2003). The private broadcasting media, particularly television, strive to provide whichever program is less costly and yet entertaining. That almost always means the use of American programming that could be obtained easily and less expensively, or sometimes through illegal videotaping. The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) decree of 1992 had sought unsuccessfully to curtail the foreign influence by insisting on a minimum percentage of local programming content. However, several stations have circumvented this requirement with impunity. Nigeria: Liberalization and Its Relationship to Democracy As noted in previous sections, broadcast liberalization presents several implications for democracy. It surely introduces diverse voices, community participation, a free market of ideas, and civil society. The Nigerian case has shown that broadcast liberalization is certainly an essential aspect of democracy, but it is not necessarily an outcome of democracy. In Nigeria, a dictatorship initiated the liberalization of the industry, while a democracy opened it up to further competition. This demonstrates that there is a dual effect between democracy and broadcast liberalization. In essence, while democracy furthers liberalization, liberalization in turn has tended to expand the process of democratization by creating or enhancing the diversity of voices, expanding community participation, and helping to develop civil society. However, it is important to realize that a struggle continues to exist between increased democratization of broadcasting and the antithesis of that, which is reflected in reregulatory pressures. Thus, the relationship of broadcast liberalization and democracy in Nigeria has not been one of unassailable success but remains tenuous at best. The industry regulator NBC reminded Nigerians of this in 2004 by announcing plans to ban the retransmission of foreign signals by terrestrial stations. This can be interpreted as a sign that the democratic government may well be looking for means to reduce or prevent wide broadcast of any foreign criticism of the state.


Nigeria liberalized its broadcast market in 1992, and the result has been remarkable in spite of several hiccups. The most surprising element of Nigerias liberalization has been the fact that the process was initiated by a military



dictatorship. This is an anomaly because market reforms such as broadcast market liberalization have usually been initiated by democracies. Perhaps, because of this anomaly, there were numerous obstacles toward achieving the dividends of full broadcast market liberalization. It was clear that the military, having been forced into broadcast market liberalization, resorted to a covert strategy that was designed to slow liberalization. The election of a democratic government in Nigeria has largely extended the dividends of the broadcast market liberalization. For instance, it has led to an improvement in broadcast freedom in spite of some lingering problems. In addition, the overall impact of liberalization has been felt in the areas of source diversity, access to foreign media, Nigerian media access to the foreign markets, diminished popularity of the state-owned media, improved customer service, and the foreign influence on Nigerian culture. Not all of these have been positive. However, they demonstrate the far-reaching market effects of the broadcast market liberalization of 1992 and the extent of these effects under both dictatorial and democratic administrations.

NOTES 1. Ogoni is a minority ethnic group that occupies the area where most of Nigerias crude oil is located. The Ogonis consider themselves marginalized, and they continue to fight the national government in a bid to create a separate state or at least win significant development concessions. 2. PDP financier Emeka Offor owns the private television station Choffan Communications (Chrome TV) in Awka, and Senator David Mark owns Joy FM in Makurdi. The Enugu State PDP governor, Chimaroke Nnamani, reportedly owns an interest in Cosmo FM in Enugu. 3. The NBC approved only 15 licenses out of more than 400 applications in a recent licensing period. In addition, government-owned stations pay N2.5 million ($20,000) for a five-year license, while private owners pay between N7.5 and N20 million ($56,000$150,000) for a five-year license. 4. Africa Magic Channels programming is 80 percent focused on Nigerian movies drawn from a movie industry that was recently valued at N30 billion ($230 million) annually according to the NBC (2004).

REFERENCES Aihe, O. (2004, April 7). HI-TECH: NBCs reforms attract sharp reactions from industry operators. Retrieved from Aihe, O. (2005, Feb. 9). NBC to introduce network broadcasting this year. Retrieved from



Ajani, J., Amaize, E., Ehigiator, K., & Oyadongha, S. (2005, December 1). Bayelsa radio shut. Retrieved from Akwule, R. (1992). Global telecommunications: The technology, administration, and policies. Stoneham, MA: Focal. Anaegbonam, W. (1995, June 9). Wrangling on cable television front. Daily Champion, 8. Attacks on the press in 1998. (undated). Retrieved from http:// www. Bonde, B., Mahmood, W., & Onasanya, A. (2002, September). Media dialogue in Nigeria. Baltic Media Center. Bourgault, L. (1995). Nigeria. In L. Gross (Ed.), The international world of electronic media (pp. 233252). New York: McGraw-Hill. Broadcasting in Nigeria: Unlocking the airwaves. Report on the framework for broadcasting and telecommunications in Nigeria. (2001, February). Retrieved from http://www. Ebesemiju, B. (1993, June 21). Private broadcasting: Licenses in hand, taking off is next headache. The Guardian, 33. Figler, A. (2003, October 27). ICN adds a channel, but gets squeezed. Retrieved from Ilgradios international broadcasting web directory. (undated). Retrieved from http: // Kolade, C. (1974). Anglophone West Africa: Nigeria. In S. Head (Ed.), Broadcasting in Africa: A continental survey of radio and television (pp. 7889). Philadelphia: Temple University. Media Rights Agenda. Government grants 21 broadcast licenses. Retrieved from http: // Nigeria: Abachas media crackdown. (1997). Retrieved from docimages/. Nigeria: Broadcasters condemn government control over radio stations. (2005, April 5). Retrieved from Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Homepage. Retrieved from http://www. Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC). (2004). Nigeria broadcast regulations impact analysis. Retrieved from Nigeria nexus. (undated). Retrieved from http://www.mediarightsagenda.Org/report/. Nigeria: Private broadcasters forced off-air after reporting on deadly plane crash. (2005, October 24). Retrieved from Nigeria: Regulator bans live relay of foreign news broadcasts. (2004, April 4). Retrieved from Nigeria: Regulator lifts restrictions on Freedom Radio. (2006, April 25). Retrieved from Nigerian multimedia industry. (1999, March 21). Retrieved from http://www.panosist. org/productions/. Nweke, O. (2005). Contemporary broadcasting icons and pioneers in Nigeria. Abuja: Osita Black Ventures.



Ogbondah, C. (2003). State-press relations in Nigeria (19931998): Human rights and democratic development. Ibadan, Nigeria: Spectrum Books. Onoko, O. (2001, June 1). The NTA sell out. Retrieved from Onwumechili, C. (1996). Privatization of the electronic media in Nigeria. The Howard Journal of Communications, 7(4), 365372. Onwumechili, C. (2003). Reform, organizational players, and technological developments in African telecommunications: An update. Lewiston, NY: Mellen. Onwumechili, C., & Nwokeafor, C. (2000). Predicting Nigerian mass media in a democratic era: An escape from Pandoras box. In R. MBayo, C. Onwumechili, and R. Nwanko (Eds.), Press and politics in Africa (pp. 185206). Lewiston, NY: Mellen. Rising Star: The race is on. (undated). Retrieved from The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Decree. (1992). Decree No. 38 (24th August, 1992): Supplement to the Official Gazette Extraordinary No. 33, Vol. 79, 4th September 1992Part A. Lagos, Nigeria: Ministry of Information and Culture, Printing Division. The World Bank. (1994). World development report: Infrastructure for development. New York: Oxford University Press.


Media, the State, and the Prodemocracy Movement in Iran



THE ONGOING CONFLICTS in the Middle East and the Iraq War have

recently highlighted the importance of the Middle East to international affairs and to the global economy vis--vis the world energy supplies of oil and natural gas. They have also highlighted the need to study various societies in the Middle East. Irans significance to the extant political equations in the Middle East is readily apparent. Its role in the world energy sector, its political and economic relationships to various states in central Asia, its close ties to the emerging political system in Iraq, its antagonistic relationship to the United States, its complicated foreign policy postures, and the ongoing dispute regarding its alleged interest in developing nuclear weapons all underscore Irans strategic significance on several grounds. Since the toppling of the American-backed monarchy in the 1979 revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Irans relationship to the United Sates has been adversarial. The image of Iran in the Western popular and political imaginary and in the official discourse of the present American administration is far from ambiguous. Iran is often described as a theocratic or a fundamentalist society. Its rulers are described as dictators and mad mullahs. United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a former academic with expertise in the Soviet Union no less, recently referred to



Iran as a totalitarian state. President George W. Bushs infamous labeling of Iran as a member of the axis of evil raised the political stakes even higher. Attempts by various American administrations and the European governments to contain the Islamic Republic have failed. In spite of those attempts, or perhaps because of them, the Islamic Republic remains stronger than ever. We have to ask, why? The domain of culture and media provides us many opportunities for explanations that have hitherto eluded the political analyses of Iranian society. Moreover, the image of Iran as a theocratic or a totalitarian society might be easily problematized by a study of its media and cultural output. There are presently about 30 Persian satellite television networks available in Iran. While ownership and sale of satellite equipment are illegal, the government intentionally has made no serious efforts to enforce the law. The growth of Internet in Iran is among the fastest in the world. The number of Persian-language Weblogs has surpassed 100,000, and that number continues to grow. Iran has a vibrant newspaper industry that continues to play a significant political role even in the face of state restrictions. Iranian cinema is recognized as one of the most innovative national cinemas in the world today. The image of Iran as a theocratic society, however, conceals the complexity of Iranian society, politics, and the ways its media operate in that context. That image of Iran persists partly because it ideologically serves those who oppose the Islamic Republic of Iran, but it does little to explain the complex political, social, and cultural realities of Iran. In this chapter, I argue that Iranian media have embodied contradictory tendencies in their functions as institutions of civil society, as an extension of the state, and as the voice of the opposition. I argue that Iranian media, in the absence of formalized political parties and sanctioned oppositional organizations outside the state apparatus, play a significant political role. The present Iranian media system, aided by the processes of globalization and communication technologies, and operating under constraints and possibilities peculiar to the Iranian political system, compels us to rethink our available media theories to explain media and democracy in the developing world. Studying Iranian media allows us to recalibrate our understanding of the relationships among media, state, and society by providing components for future comparative media analyses. In the first section of the chapter, I present an analysis of the postrevolutionary Iranian state. I introduced a tripartite framework that serves as an analytical tool to study postrevolutionary Iranian politics and media. In the second section, I discuss postrevolutionary media in Iran. The focus in this section is on broadcasting and print media as they relate to the indigenous democracy and reform movement in Iran. In the third section, I discuss satellite television and the Internet as agents that have facilitated a set of transformations in the Iranian society and the implications they might have for the democracy movement in Iran.




In order to appreciate the importance of Iranian media and their role in fostering a democratic politics, we need to understand the current political system in Iran. The 1979 popular Iranian revolution overthrew a pro-Western and friendly monarchy that had ruled Iran ruthlessly for decades. That revolution inaugurated an Islamic republic, a theocracy that combines elements of a democratic system with authoritarian rule. The Iranian constitution clearly embodies these opposing tendencies. The electorates elect the parliament (Majlis), the president (who appoints the cabinet members), and the Assembly of Experts, which is made up of clerics whose function is to oversee the appointment of the supreme leader. The position of the supreme leader assumes the pinnacle of power in the Iranian political structure. He appoints, among other things, the head of judiciary, the head of the national radio and television system, and the clergy members to the influential Council of Guardians. The Council of Guardians is made up of six theologians appointed by the supreme leader and six jurists appointed by the judiciary. The Council of Guardians is a powerful body. It approves the constitutionality of all bills passed by the parliament, and their adherence to Islamic law. Furthermore, it has veto power over the slate of candidates for president, parliament, Assembly of Experts, and various local council elections. Iranian society has recently produced an indigenous democracy debate and a nascent democracy movement (Gheissari & Nasr, 2005; Milani, 2005). The democracy debate in Iran is indigenous because it is neither a Western import nor a concession to the West, nor is it the project of the state or the elite foisted on the masses (Gheissari & Nasr, 2005). The democracy debate in Iran grows out of demands for greater freedoms and democratic politics by what might be broadly characterized as two camps (Gheissari & Nasr, 2005). One camp seeks to make the Islamic Republic more pluralistic and to open the existing political system to a wider democratic participation. The other camp seeks to move beyond theocracy and the Islamic Republic by separating religion from politics within a new constitutional framework of a secular democracy. How did this democracy movement in Iran come about? In the immediate aftermath of the revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, Saddam Husseins Iraqi army invaded Iranian border regions, which dragged Iran into a bloody eight-year conflict with Iraq. With the end of the war in 1988, and the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in 1989, the revolutionary era ended. In the postwar years, the presidency of Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (19891997) led Iran through an era of recovery and reconstruction. With the election of Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami as the new president in May 1997, Iran entered a period of political reform. In June 2005, Mahmoud



Ahmadinejad was elected as the new president. With the inauguration of Ahmadinejad as the new president, Iran has just entered a new era. Commentators and scholars of Iranian politics view these developments in postrevolutionary Iran as important milestones that have shaped Iranian politics and society (Bashiriyeh, 2001). These three eras of revolutionary fervor, (economic) reconstruction, and political reform have been referred to as the three republics (e.g., Aras, 2001). Such a periodization allows us to identify contingent sociopolitical turning points and historical-political frameworks that made possible the emergence of the indigenous democracy movement. These developments might be briefly outlined as follows. In the first period of postrevolutionary years, a devastating war with Iraq consumed Iranian society. In this period, the revolutionary fervor fueled by the Islamic ideology sustained the war efforts. The primary preoccupation of the emerging Islamic state was the mobilization of the masses to support the war efforts. Ayatollah Khomeinis formulation of the concept of Governance of Supreme Jurisprudent (Velayat-e faqih) and its implementation meant that under the theocratic system it was the unelected religious authority of ulama that the constitution engendered. In the same period, it was common to hear the rhetoric of exporting the Iranian revolution throughout the Muslim world. The end of the war and the passing of Ayatollah Khomeini marked the beginning of the second period. The state here made a transition from mass mobilization to an attempt at governance. The need for economic reform and ending Irans international isolation, the demands for political participation, and attempts at reforming the theocracy to a rational and working government were at the core of the politics of change at the beginning of this period (Ehteshami, 1995; Gheissari & Nasr, 2005; Keddie, 2003). Out of this context came the pragmatists who sought to rationalize the theocracy and ease the pressures on it vis--vis modest economic and political reforms. Another product of this context was the reemergence of lay Islamic intellectuals (e.g., Abdolkarim Soroush) who sought to provide a more progressive Islamic framework for the Islamic Republic. Such attempts, however, do not address the fundamental problem of power imbalance that is a feature of the existing power structure involving the parliament, the office of the president, the judiciary, and the supreme leader. The election of Khatami as president in 1997 inaugurated the third period. For the first two years of his presidency, Iran enjoyed an unprecedented level of social and political openness. His election as president was a watershed moment in that it highlighted the importance of free electoral politics even within the confines of a theocracy. More important, it embodied the popular will of the electorates. Khatami was elected in a landslide victory on a platform that promoted, among other things, civil society and the rule of law.1 The middle class that had been sidelined since its participation in the 1979 revolution now asserted its presence. Its vote was a protest against the theocracy and a



demand for political participation. In a way, Khatamis supporters overwhelmed the followers of the pragmatists and lay Islamic intellectuals. Their demand for democratic politics was not necessarily tied to reforming the Islamic Republic. Although Khatami never fundamentally challenged the pillars of the Islamic Republic by demanding a secular democracy, his platform energized the secular Iranian middle class with allegiances to secular democracy. With his inability to deliver on his campaign promises and his failure to reconcile the demands for change with the reality of the Islamic Republic, Khatami relinquished control of the democracy debate to voices outside the regime (Gheissari & Nasr, 2005). The collapse of the reform movement at the end of his presidency is likely to ensure that the upcoming struggle for democracy will not be rooted in any Islamic framework. This tripartite framework for explaining the Iranian state and its political contexts provides a useful framework for exploring Iranian media, state, and the burgeoning prodemocracy movement in Iran.


Although I address the media of the other two periods briefly, the media in the third period are the focus of the following discussion of media and democracy in Iran. It is in the third period, the era of the government of reform (Dowlat-e eslah-talab), that the voice of the Iranian middle class begins to be heard and an indigenous democracy movement begins to emerge. In the immediate aftermath of the revolution and continuing into the early 1980s,2 the emerging state pursued its revolutionary goals by transforming various entities in the Iranian society, including its media. That entailed largescale eradication of symbols of the monarchy and all that was associated with its rule. Iranian broadcasting is the most visible example. Irans only national broadcasting body, National Iranian Radio Television (NIRT), was subjected to such a cleansing (pak-sazi). Many of NIRTs experienced and qualified staff members were summarily dismissed, while some fled the country. Several of its offices were closed, research and programming development came to a halt, and all materials carrying the emblem of the monarchy were destroyed.3 NIRT was renamed Voice and Vision of the Islamic Republic (VVIR), and became an instrument of the state in propagating its brand of Islamic ideology. Islamicization became the overriding political and cultural policy of the state. Notwithstanding the initial and fleeting burst of a dynamic cultural sphere and a pluralist ethos, all voices that did not espouse the states Islamicization program were silenced. The Iran-Iraq War during this period created an environment in which producing propaganda for the purpose of mass mobilization held a certain tenor of inevitability. A population that had to struggle to meet the necessities of daily life during wartime tolerated this situation.



It is in the second period that we find the origins of the reform movement (Brumberg, 2001; Milani, 2005; Sadri, 2002; Takeyh, 2002). In this period the media began to play their roles in the political struggles that gave rise to a full-fledged reform movement. The print media performed a modest but crucial role, foreshadowing their role as a potent and indispensable weapon in the hands of the reformists in the third period. To the extent that the broadcasting outlets are controlled by the conservative forces associated with the office of the supreme leader, it is not surprising that the older commercial print media emerged as the space for articulating demands for democracy and political participation. The story of the reform movement, individuals associated with it, and the democracy movement in Iran is a story of the postrevolutionary media in Iran. The reform movement was initiated largely by former revolutionaries who had become rather disillusioned with the turn of events in the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq War. These individuals become involved with the media in one form or another. Writing on the reform movement in Iran, Sadri (2002) has pointed out that the ideal typical member of the reform public intelligentsia in fin de siecle Iran was a journalist who had left a high or sensitive post in the apparatus of the Islamic Republic around the last decade of the century. His exemplars include Abbas Abdi as Radical Reformer: The Ex-editor, Akbar Ganji as Muckraking Reformer: The Investigative Journalist, and Saeed Hajjarian, Political Reformer: The Inveterate Editorialist. A closer examination of the print media during the second postrevolutionary period demonstrates the degree to which the reformers used the print media to launch their campaign. Jalaipour (2000) has argued that during this period, before the election of Khatami as president in 1997, reformers were organized in three groups, or circles (halgheh).4 The first gathered around Abdolkarim Soroush. The second was associated with the Center for Strategic Studies (markaze motaleate strategic). Individuals who are widely viewed as critically important to the reform movement were associated with this group, which includes Saeed Hajjarian, Alireza Alavitabar, and Abbas Abdi, all involved with the print media. The third group was a broad collection of individuals who had left Iran after the Iran-Iraq War for postgraduate education abroad (Australia, Canada, France, and the UK). Upon their return, they became involved in the reform movement. Mohammad Reza Khatami (the brother of former Iranian president) and Mohsen Mirdamadi, who became involved with the reformist press, belonged to this group. The unofficial publication of the first circle was Kiyan, under the editorship of Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, an influential journalist who would go on to edit a number of important reformist newspapers. Kiyan, an influential monthly magazine established in 1991, became a critical forum for the reformers with revolutionary credentials to articulate their vision. Kiyan and its contributors came to be known as the Kiyan circle for their influential



role as opinion-leaders. It featured articles that covered topics such as political theory, philosophy, and religion. Abdolkarim Soroush, one of the most distinguished theoreticians of Islamic philosophy, was a regular contributor. The role of Kiyan is particularly important in two ways. First, it provided a forum for religious intellectuals who would articulate demands for democratic reform within a framework compatible with Islam and the established religious culture. Second, and more important, the Kiyan circle often functioned as a link between religious intellectuals and thinkers who were ultimately imagining a secular democracy for Iran. Before its closure in 2001, Kiyan had become, in Tabaars (2005) words, the intellectual engine of the reform movement (p. 63). As examples of the ways the second group used the print media to advance their campaign, we could cite the following individuals and the publications with which they were involved. Saeed Hajjarian and Alireza Alavitabar became the managing editors of Sobhe Emrouz (This morning), a reformist newspaper. Abbas Abdi became the editor-in-chief of Salaam (Hello) and later Mosharekat (Participation). Members of this group expounded their views in monthly publications, such as Rahbord (Persuasion) and Asre Ma (Our era), and other newspapers, such as Hamshahri (Fellow citizen), Iran, and Salam. The third groups importance is wider in scope. What is particularly important about this group, as Khiabany and Sreberny (2001) point out, is its role in injecting Western ideas into the heart of the reformist movement (p. 204). Hamid Reza Jalaipour, who became involved with the reformist press himself, belongs to this group. Morteza Mardiha, a member of the editorial board of the newspaper Asre Azadegan (Age of free people) and an outspoken liberal reformer, is another member of this group as well. With the election of Khatami as president during the third period (in May 1997) a part of the Iranian state became involved in mobilizing media for reform and democratic institutions. As stated earlier, Khatamis platform for presidential election advocated civil society, rule of law, democratic institutions, and greater freedom for the media. Such political views were consistent with his previous record. His liberal inclination is believed to have been the reason for his resignation in 1992 as the minister of culture and Islamic guidance in Rafsanjanis cabinet. His previous experience in that post had shaped his views on the importance of this post. It is the job of this ministry to issue licenses for publications. Once he became the president, Khatami appointed Ataollah Mohajerani, a left-leaning academic with training in Iranian history, as his minister of culture and Islamic guidance. This appointment was a calculated move since Khatami anticipated that in order to advance his reformist agenda he needed to maintain the popular support that had elected him. In order to achieve this objective he needed media outlets to mobilize that popular support. Moreover, since the national broadcasting system, now



renamed Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), was under the control of the supreme leader and his conservative allies, he needed other media outlets to counter the conservative voices in the pubic sphere. Mohajerani wasted no time in furnishing such outlets in print media. Among the licenses issued by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance between 1998 and 1999 were 2 annual publications, 53 quarterlies, 59 monthlies, 27 weeklies, and 7 daily newspapers.5 By granting licenses for publications, he made it possible for a wide range of opinions to be expressed in a wide range of publications. Although we should not overstate Mohajeranis accomplishments in this regard, his policies were quite instrumental in providing the reformists the media outlet to voice their views. As Khiabany and Sreberny (2001) argue, Mohajeranis policies, even encouragement, were quite important in paving the way for a flourishing print environment of numerous newspapers and journals, which in the absence of legal oppositional political parties play an important role in informing the public of alternative views and organizing alternative social movements (p. 207). In the factional world of Iranian politics, newspapers with affiliations to different factions and power centers function as stages upon which partisan politics is conducted. The newspaper industry in Iran is a commercial press. This means the press can theoretically function within a civil society framework as an intermediary institution between the state and society. The reformists have certainly been able to deploy the print media in that capacity. However, other considerations and arrangements complicate this picture, arrangements that are unique to the Iranian context. The (uneven) government subsidy of much of the newspaper industry, the politics of press laws and licensing, and the control of the national broadcasting system (IRIB) by the state exclusively are among factors that complicate a binary division between state and civil society in a context such as Iran (see Khiabany, forthcoming). It should also be pointed out that the political context in Iran is fluid, riddled with contradictions and paradoxes. The print press in the hands of the reformists has been effective in raising political consciousness, reflecting popular discontent with the status quo, and embodying oppositional tendencies. However, the conservative forces within the state have responded forcefully. During the last five years the state and its conservative judiciary have closed down over 100 newspapers with reformist political orientation. The reformist newspapers have also fought back by reemerging with new titles, often under the same editorial team. During the third postrevolutionary period, the control of the press was clearly one of the main battlefields for the factional political struggles in Iran. Moreover, the struggle between the conservatives and the reformists is at the same time a struggle over the definition, the role and the control of the media.6 The democracy movement in Iran is the larger context for these battles.




In this section, I discuss the current pressures for change and the demands for democratic participation that come from two other sources: transnational (Persian) satellite television and the Internet. Within the last five years, overlapping with the third postrevolutionary period, the Iranian state has faced global communication technologies in the hands of its opponents, technologies that inherently defy containment and control. Prodemocracy movements in various regions of the world have deployed these technologies. Satellite Television and the Iranian Political Scene Iranians started using satellite television in the early 1990s during the second postrevolutionary period when various postwar economic reconstruction projects got underway. In addition to the economic context, the social and cultural conditions were ripe for the arrival of this global communication technology. Iranian audiences who had lived through a long bloody war and a restricted social space embraced a technology that provided glimpses to the outside world. Satellite technology entered public discourse when satellite dishes appeared on the rooftops in affluent northern Tehran. Satellite television had already been available in the border regions in the northwestern and southern parts of Iran, where geo-linguistic proximity had made the content of certain satellite television networks (in Turkish and Arabic) accessible.7 It is only when satellite dishes arrived in Tehran that the technology entered public discourse and became the object of conservatives scorn. As satellite equipment gained more visibility, the conservatives attacked its presence as a sign of cultural invasion by the West. Their objective was to pass legislation to ban its use. The reformists saw the technologys potential and defended its use without endorsing any particular content. They argued that satellite television could be used in modernization projects, in science, technology, and educational settings. Furthermore, banning satellite equipment, they argued, is ineffective in preventing people from using such technology. The conservative forces prevailed, and a law was passed in 1995 that made the use of satellite dishes illegal. The reformist presidential candidate in 1997, Mohammad Khatami, made this law a part of his campaign and promised to revisit the issue. Once again, communication technologies and media embodied the larger political struggles between the conservatives and the reformists over demands for greater social, cultural, and political freedom. With the arrival of Persian satellite networks from outside Iran the dynamics of debate and issues changed from cultural invasion by the West to political agitation by forces that oppose the Islamic Republic of Iran. Over the last few years, there has been an explosion of satellite networks that broadcast



content in Persian. The number of Persian satellite television networks reached 28 by early 2005. The contents for 23 of these networks originate in the United States by Iranian diaspora. Many of these networks offer entertainment programs such as variety shows, music videos, and films. Many others, however, offer public affairs programs, mostly devoted to political developments inside Iran or international affairs related to Iranian politics. Thirteen of these networks broadcast content that is political in orientation and are opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The networks that offer political programs tend to be used as platforms by groups or individuals who actively oppose the Islamic Republic. Satellite television, like the Internet and other communication technologies, has opened up the social, political, and cultural spaces of the nation to transnational forces and actors. The power of the state to limit access to those spaces has met its own limits in the form of technologies that defy national borders and state control. However, in contrast to other states where the government has made strenuous efforts to limit citizens access to new technologies (e.g., Internet in China), the Iranian state has chosen not to enforce the law banning satellite television. In the absence of a will to enforce the law, or inability to restrict access, Iranians are exposed to alternative political views and philosophies, including those espoused by democracy advocates and the opponents of the Islamic Republic. Plausible explanations for a lack of will to enforce the law banning satellite equipment in Iran are worth pondering. First, it could be argued that the state is not technically and physically capable of enforcing the law. Occasional attempts at jamming8 satellite television signals notwithstanding, interfering with satellite signal requires resources, capital, and technical expertise. Confiscating satellite dishes entails rooftop inspections and other grossly intrusive steps by the state. Second, it could be argued that the reformists have been able to work from within the state to limit the willingness of the state to take such drastic measures. The unique political situation in Iran has put one part of the state (the president and many members of the parliament) against others (the office of the supreme leader and other conservative entities). The conservatives, one might say, have had to choose their battles. Third, it could be argued that the state has exercised political expediency in paying lip service to the principle of banning satellite television but has chosen to ignore the violation of the law. The political volatility in Iraq, the growing military presence of the United States in the region and in Iraq, the states inability to reduce unemployment and provide better economic conditions, and a young population9 that loathes cultural repression are among the factors that prevent the state from taking steps that might produce a particularly restless population. Regardless of the reasons for the state to choose not to enforce the law, exposure to satellite television networks in the long term is perhaps welcome news for those who advocate democracy in Iran insofar as



Iranians become aware of alternative views, political systems, and norms. The impacts of satellite television in the political and the cultural registers must therefore be examined in terms of their implications for the prospects of democracy in Iran. That satellite television has become a political factor is not unique to Iran, as it is has mushroomed in the Middle East recently (Sakr, 2001). The unique features in the case of Iran are the active diasporas and exile groups that oppose the Islamic republic via satellite television. We can analytically specify how satellite television has a transformative power in the political domain in several ways. Loss of legitimacy of the political system that governs Iran or its rulers is among the notable consequences of long-term presence of satellite television. Both entertainment programming and commentaries on the political networks that are critical of the political system in Iran contribute to the loss of legitimacy. Entertainment programs contribute to that loss by lampooning political leaders, political norms, and institutions, and political practices that sustain Iranian politics. One of the areas in which entertainment programming becomes a political factor in the cultural arena is through weakening the aura that has traditionally surrounded religious authority and personalities in the Iranian culture. Although programs with political orientation on Persian satellite television networks lack sophistication and are often unprofessional and uninspiring, they do contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the Iranian political system on those rare occasions when their informed political commentary questions the legitimacy of the ruling class in Iran. Furthermore, the presence of satellite television networks (Persian or foreign-language) that depicts free speech and freedom to criticize political decisions and personalities, political norms and institutions, places the current political system in Iran in an unfavorable comparative framework. For an urban, young, and educated population it becomes easy to be frustrated with their social, political, and cultural contexts when they see citizens in democratic societies outside Iran enjoy freedoms that they are denied. Persian satellite television networks have become an extension of the Iranian social space for the middle class in urban centers of the country. They have the potential to act as a surrogate for Iranian civil society. Moreover, when the opposition groups in exile are successful in addressing effectively the shortcomings of the Iranian government and challenging its legitimacy without fear of reprisal, they play the role of oppositional political parties inside Iran. The Persian satellite television networks have demonstrated that they can act as organizing elements for the oppositional forces outside Iran with the power to cause political unrest and entice demand for change. An infamous case in point that received considerable press coverage in the West is that of Ahura Pirouz Khaleghi Yazdi, a television personality from the Rang-a-Rang television network. In repeated broadcasts on his television show in 1994, he



proclaimed that the end of the Iranian rgime was near and that he was going to form a government after the fall of the theocratic government. He claimed he was on his way to Iran to head an interim government and invited Iranians to protest. A headline by BBC News reported, Exile call prompts Iran protests. The report stated, A call from a US-based Iranian TV personality has prompted thousands of Iranians to protest for more freedoms.10 The same report stated that thousands of Iranians participated in protests in Tehran and other major cities in response to Yazdis invitations. Not surprisingly, none of the claims by Yazdi came true, including his trip to Iran. Yazdi was widely ridiculed in Iran, and his actions angered the exile groups for his fanciful claims.11 The incident is worth noting because it sheds light on several important points of interest to the arguments of this chapter. The episode demonstrates the potential and power of satellite television as an organizing element in the hands of the proponents of democracy in Iran. Moreover, it shows that some Iranians with access to satellite television embrace what promises to be a change in their political context and that they are willing to take action in order to make that change. Finally, the fact that Yazdi was widely ridiculed by commentators and the observers of Iranian politics demonstrates that Persian satellite television networks have a long way to go before a wider audience takes them seriously and before they become a more effective force for the proponents of democracy in Iran. The incident involving Yazdi raises an important point. Such episodes should not lead us to overstate the political impact of individual satellite television networks or the personalities they introduce to their audiences. Neither should we expect that satellite television networks are going to be a major factor in the Iranian political life in the short term. It is likely, however, that they will have a cumulative effect in the long term. Such effects will be contingent upon a stronger professionalization of television production and a slate of public affairs programs staffed with informed commentators who do not lack credibility with their audiences. The best the proponents of democracy in Iran could hope for now is that exposure to satellite television networks in Iran informs the audience of alternative political perspectives, norms, and cultures. Such exposure, at least in the long term, carries with it the possibility for audiences to acquire a different political vocabulary and to imagine an alternative political destiny, one in which individuals are seen as citizens endowed with rights. It is clear that international communication technologies have begun to contribute to such positive outcomes. In the next section, I argue that the Internet in Iran is making its own contribution. The Internet and Iranian Society The Internet in Iran provides another example of communication technologies with the power to introduce change in the cultural and the political reg-



isters. The proponents of democracy in Iran, the state, and those who oppose it have all embraced the technology. The Internet first appeared in Iran at the Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics in Tehran in 1992. Although it was merely an academic tool until the mid-1990s, Internet has had a phenomenal growth in Iran, faster than in any other Muslim country in the Middle East.12 A recent estimate puts the number of Persian Weblogs (bloggs) at 100,000, which means Persian is tied with French as the second most common language for blogging after English.13 By 2005, there were 1500 Internet cafes in Tehran, and a growing number in other major cities. According to an estimate by Nasrollah Jahangard, President Khatamis special envoy for IT and ICT affairs, there are 3.5 million regulars and 3.5 million irregular users of the Internet in Iran. Internet-use in Iran is expected to continue its growth.14 The presence of the Internet and its rapid growth are potentially positive developments for advocates of democracy and a troubling trend for all authoritarian states. This trend is particularly significant in the case of Iran because of its unique population demographics and other characteristics. According to recent statistics, the literacy rate for adults over 15 years of age is 77 percent. Of its 69 million population 67 percent live in urban areas.15 More important, Iran has a very young population: 62 percent of Iranians are 29 years of age or younger, with no memory of the 1979 revolution that led to the creation of the Islamic Republic.16 Added to this context are the vast number of students and the rapid growth of the number of university students with easy access to the Internet.17 The appetite for the new technology is at once a reflection of the demographic realities and other transformations in Iranian society. The technology-savvy (urban) youth with access to information and an affinity toward global cultural trends is a force that no state can afford to ignore. The issue is why the state has not been more forceful in restricting access to the Internet. There are some parallels to the case of satellite television. One reason for the states limited attempt at restriction is technological. The state lacks the necessary resources and technical expertise to restrict access. Moreover, the Internet in Iran owes its expansion more to the commercial and educational actors than the states planning or initiatives. Complicated arrangements amongst ISPs (Internet service providers) and Iranian PTT (Post, Telegraph, and Telephone), and a telecommunication industry that has managed to grow and become commercially viable without the state are among the factors that have contributed to the states inability or reluctance to interfere with the development of the Internet and access to it. Additionally, the state has embraced the technology for its own purposes: it has used the Internet to advocate e-government and to reach the followers of its revolutionary ideology inside and outside the Iranian borders (Rahimi, 2003). This is not to suggest that the state has relented or that it has made no attempts at censorship of certain content. Beginning in 2003 the state started



using filtering technology and pressuring ISPs to filter specific Websites. The state also started arresting bloggers and journalists with online presence. The conservatives have recently intensified their efforts in silencing bloggers, shutting down Websites, and restricting access to certain areas of the Internet. However, to the delight of the proponents of democracy and the dismay of the conservatives, these efforts might not be successful in the long term for several reasons. Shutting down individual Websites is not a structural solution to the threat posed to the state by the Internet. Defying detection and control is easy in a network system that was designed to defy hierarchy and centralized architectures and control. The state cannot remove the Internet altogether not only because it needs it for its own purposes, but also because the national network was built on the links and networking capabilities that were external and global from the outset. In short, the extraordinary culture of the Internet that has developed in the past decade cannot simply be removed. The explosive growth of the Internet took the conservative elements of the state off guard partly because they did not appreciate its complexity and significance initially. If it does not take drastic measures, it is because the state is aware of the political risks involved in doing so. For a population that is largely young, urban, and literate, the Internet has become a part of their everyday life. For some, it has become an alternative form of expression from the taboo to the mundane subjects (e.g., the vast number of diaries and other forms of online journals). For others, the Internet has allowed them to be a part of the global youth culture (e.g., online rock music festivals in Tehran).18 Many have used the Internet to engage in new forms of socialization that take place outside the sphere of official culture (e.g., chatrooms, online communities such as orkut). For many families the Internet has furnished new ways to maintain contact with their loved ones who live abroad (e.g., Webcams, e-mails, affordable Internet-based phones, digital photos). Finally, the Internet has allowed new forms of political expression and political mobilization. Weblogs have become the preferred medium for the voice of the dissidents, especially as traditional print media make easier targets for conservatives.19 These are only a few visible examples of the ways in which the Internet culture has introduced transformations in the Iranian society that might be irreversible.


Iran has experienced a tumultuous history in the past three decades. The overthrow of the monarchy through a popular revolution, the establishment of the Islamic republic of Iran, a protracted hostage crisis, a devastating war with an enemy that was supported by the West, and an antagonistic relationship with the United States are among the events that make up that history. In spite of



these developments, Iran has managed to achieve major development objectives that are notable by any standards. A political system that combines elements of a democratic system with authoritarian rule has led to a political context in which competing political factions, elements of a civil society, and an indigenous democracy movement are struggling to assert themselves in a volatile coexistence. The reformists and other proponents of democracy in Iran might have experienced a setback in the latest presidential election. The yearning for a more democratic society, however, cannot be easily suppressed. Although we should guard against producing a discourse that bestows undue power upon the media in a social system such as Iran, it would be equally problematic to ignore the power of culture and media in that system. In societies where formal political organizations are weak, where institutions that mediate the power of the state against the society, the scope of politics is wider. In such contexts, culture is politics by other means. An impetus behind the objectives of this chapter is the belief that analyses of culture and media provide clues in explaining the survival of the Islamic Republic, its transformation, and perhaps even its ultimate fate. The 1979 Iranian revolution that led to the creation of the Islamic Republic was facilitated by low-tech communication technologies (e.g., audiocassettes and photocopy machines). The path to a more democratic future, and perhaps a transformation of the state in Iran, might be facilitated by high-tech communication technologies of today.

NOTES 1. See Kamrava (2001) and Mohammadi (1999) for an analysis of the discourse of civil society in Iran. 2. A more comprehensive treatment of the immediate aftermath of the 1979 Iranian revolution that would enter into greater details regarding the brief period of the governments of Mehdi Bazargan, Abdolhassan Banisadr, and Mohammad Ali Rajai is beyond the scope of this chapter. For a more detailed analysis of media in this period that includes a discussion of a brief Tehran Spring ( JanuaryMay 1979), which entailed extraordinary cultural production and freedom, see Sreberny-Mohammadi & Mohammadi (1994). 3. See Mohammadi (2003) for more details and an assessment of the changes that NIRT experienced after the revolution. 4. The title of this article by Jalaipour (2000), cited in Khiabany & Sreberny (2001), is quite telling: Three years of reform movement on presss shoulder. 5. Khiabany & Sreberney (2001) provide these and other statistics in a paper that addresses the newspaper industry and the discourse of civil society in Iran from 1998 to 2000. See Khiabany (forthcoming) for a comprehensive treatment of the press and civil society and their relationship to the state in Iran.



6. See Khiabany (forthcoming) and Samii (1999, 2001) for more on the newspapers and the struggles between the reformists and the conservatives as they relate to the wider political struggles in Iran. 7. Unofficial estimates report that between 20 and 30 percent of Iranians own satellite television equipment. For a more comprehensive review of the satellite technology market in Iran, the status of Persian and non-Persian satellite networks in Iran, and their impact, see Alikhah (forthcoming). 8. See a report by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a U.S. government entity, on jamming satellite signals by Iranian authorities at cfm?articleID=127&mode=general. 9. See note 17 in this chapter for references on demographics in Iran. 10. See Saba (2004) for the BBC report. 11. See Johnson (2005) for a Washington Post report on Yazdi and reactions to his claims. 12. See Slavins (2005) report in her USA Today article addressing Internet in Iran and its political impacts. 13. See Swifts (2005) report on Iranian bloggers and politics. 14. See the IRNA report of October 2, 2003, in Columbia Universitys G2K archives, entitled Over 7 million regular, irregular Internet users in Iran at http: // 15. These statistics are from 2004. See the country profile for Iran, as provided by The World Bank, at 16. See the population summary for Iran in the international data section of the U.S. Census Bureau at 17. According to Rahim Ebadi, the head of Irans Youth Organization, there are 16.5 million pupils, and 1.7 million university students in Iran (as of 2003). See the report by Payvand News at See Mousavi Shafaees (2003) discussion of Internet in Iran as it relates to the crisis of legitimacy and the state. 18. For more on rock music and its relationship to youth culture in Iran see Nooshin (2005). 19. See Swift (2005). See also the report in Persian by Jami (2005), filed for BBC.Persian, reflecting on the presidential election, weblogs, and Iranian politics.

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Brumberg, D. (2001). Reinventing Khomeini: The struggle for reform in Iran. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ehteshami, A. (1995). After Khomeini: The Iranian second republic. London: Routledge. Gheissari, A., & Nasr, V. (2005). Irans democracy debate. Iran Nameh, 22, 12. Retrieved December 12, 2005, from ol21iss4/1234567891. Jalaipour, H. R. (2000). Three years of reforms movement on press shoulder. Goonagoun ( June 29), 2, 69. Jami, M. (2005, June 15). Weblagestan dar astane entekhabat, Retrieved January 13, 2006, from 04/050417_mj-iran-election-web-logs.shtml. Johnson, D. (2005, February 1). The Iran channel. Washington Post. Retrieved December 12, 2005, from 2005Jan31.html. Kamrava, M. (2001). The civil society discourse in Iran. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 28(2), 165185. Keddie, N. R. (2003). Modern Iran: Roots and results of revolution in Iran. New Haven: Yale University Press. Khiabany, G. (forthcoming). The Iranian press, state, and civil society. In M. Semati (Ed.), Media, culture, and society in Iran: Living with theocracy and globalizaion. Khiabany, G., & Sreberny, A. (2001). The Iranian press and the continuing struggle over civil society 19982000. Gazette, 62(23), 203223. Khiabany, G., & Sreberny, A. (2004). The womens press in contemporary Iran: Engendering the public sphere. In N. Sakr (Ed.), Women and media in the Middle East (pp. 1538). London: Tauris. Milani, A. (2005). U.S. foreign policy and the future of democracy in Iran. The Washington Quarterly, 28(3), 4156 (The Web edition). Retrieved December 12, 2005, from Mohammadi, A. (2003). Iran and modern media in the age of globalization. In A. Mohammadi (Ed.), Iran encountering globalization: Problems and prospects (pp. 2446). London: Routledge Cruzon. Mohammadi, M. (1999). Iranian civil society. Tehran: Nashr-e Markaz. Mousavi Shafaee, S. M. (2003). Globalization and contradiction between the nation and the state in Iran: The Internet case. Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, 12(2), 189195. Nooshin, L. (2005). Underground, overground: Rock music and youth discourses in Iran. Iranian Studies, 38(3), 463494. Rahimi, B. (2003). Cyberdissent: Internet in revolutionary Iran. Middle East Review of International Affairs, 7(3). Retrieved January 13, 2006, from http://meria.idc. Saba, S. (2004, December 27). Exile call prompts Iran protests. BBC. Retrieved December 5, 2005, from



Sadri, A. (2002, February 4). Still alive: Varieties of religious reform in Iran. The Iranian. Retrieved January 17, 2006, from 2002/February/Reform/index.html. Sakr, N. (2001). Satellite realms: Transnational television, globalization, and the Middle East. London: Tauris. Samii, A. (1999). The contemporary Iranian news media, 19981999. Middle East Review of International Affairs, 3(4), 110. Samii, A. (2001). Sisyphus newsstand: The Iranian press under Khatami. Middle East Review of International Affairs, 5(3), 111. Slavin, B. (2005, June 13). Internet boom alters political process in Iran. USA Today. Retrieved November 23, 2005, from Sreberny-Mohammadi, A., & Mohammadi, A. (1994). Small media, big revolution: Communication, culture, and the Iranian revolution. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Swift, L. (2005, November 28). Irans war on weblogs: The new voice of dissidents. Telegraph. Retrieved January 23, 2006, from main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/11/28/wblog28.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/11/28/ix newstop.html. Tabaar, M. A. (2005). The beloved Great Satan: The portrayal of the U.S. in the Iranian media since 9/11. Vaseteh: Journal of the European Society for Iranian Studies, 1(1), 6378. Takeyh, R. (2002). Irans emerging national compact. World Policy Journal, 19(3). Retrieved November 25, 2005, from wpj023/takeyh.html.


Transformations and Development of the Korean Broadcasting Media


INTRODUCT ION HE KOREAN BROADCASTING industry has experienced tremendous change in both scope and scale over the past two decades. The oligopolistic structure of the two public broadcasting networks existed in the 1980s with the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) and Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC). The Korean broadcasting industry, which was composed of only four television channels (KBS1, KBS2, the UHF channel KBS3, and MBC) in the 1980s, rushed headlong into a multichannel television era in the 1990s with 9 new commercial terrestrial broadcasting channels and 117 cable channels. In 2002, Korea also launched digital satellite television, which airs programs on 97 channels. Several significant political economic elements have expedited the transformation of the broadcasting structure. With democratization in the late 1980s and the rapid adoption of neoliberal economic and media policies in the 1990s under the pressure of the Uruguay Round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) trade negotiations (198694) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Korean government has come to embrace deregulation, liberalization, and privatization in the broadcasting system. Moreover,




the swift growth of the cable and satellite broadcasting system in Korea should be understood against the background of the development of information technology and communications. These are the sectors that the Korean government promoted by acknowledging that they were significant forces for economic growth (Shim, 2002). In this chapter, we explore the transformation of the Korean broadcasting media within the context of the democratic reforms and changing political-economic environments in Korea. We examine the history of Korean television broadcasting to understand this transformation, because the relations between the state and television broadcasting in the 1980s and 1990s can be traced to the broadcasting policies of the 1960s. We also discuss the ways in which Korea has embraced reforms in the broadcasting media sector as a result of wide-ranging sociopolitical democratization and the rise of the neoliberal global economic system since the late 1980s. We then discuss the growth of the cable and satellite broadcasting industries and the impact of new communication technologies including cable, the Internet, and satellite television on media environments in Korea.


Television broadcasting in Korea began on May 12, 1956, when the Korea Office Radio Corporation of America (RCA) Distributor (KORCAD) (with the call sign HLKZ) beamed television signals in Seoul at an output of 100W.1 It has been estimated that there were about 300 television sets in the country at that time; in order to have a larger audience, KORCAD had to install 31 television sets in 22 spots on the streets of Seoul (Kim, 1992). It was only the 15th television broadcast in the world. From June 1, 1956, KORCAD-TV began two hours of regular broadcasts every other day. From November 1, 1956, it increased its broadcasts for up to two hours every day except for Fridays, when there were no broadcasts. With little advertising sales, however, KORCAD-TV was soon in the red. In May 1957, an up-andcoming Korean newspaper company called Hankook Ilbo bought out KORCAD, renaming it Daehan Broadcasting Corporation (DBC-TV). In early 1959, however, a mysterious fire broke out in the DBC-TV station, destroying much of the broadcasting facilities. DBC-TV barely managed to keep afloat; it relied on the facilities of the U.S. military station American Forces Korean Network (AFKN), for its 30 minutes of broadcasts each day. An affiliate of the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS), AFKN began television broadcasts in 1957. It targeted a 60,000strong audience of U.S. military personnel, civilian employees, and their dependents in Korea. It also had limited influence on the Korean shadow audience, which watched the channel either to learn English or to satisfy a desire for American popu-



lar culture. DBC-TV ceased broadcasting in 1961 by relegating its television channel to KBS (Kang & Kim, 1994; Kim, 1992; Shim, 2006). In 1961, army general Park Chung-Hee2 rose to power through a military coup, and the Korean economy entered into an era of development with export-oriented industrialization based on tight cooperation between the state and the economic sector. The Park regime understood the critical role of broadcasting in diffusing its new political order and economic ideology and began television broadcasts through the state-owned KBS in late 1961. The potential contribution of the communications media in national development was first discussed when massive economic aid from the United States to newly independent countries after the Second World War did not work out as expected. Influenced by the works of anthropologists such as A. R. RadcliffeBrown, U.S. policy makers concluded that the failure of economic aid in these regions was due to the indigenous peoples lack of Western values such as the Protestant work ethic and achievement motives (Chu, 1994). From this perspective, the cultivation of those values was seen to be imperative, and the communications media was considered a necessary tool for mobilizing people to tighten their belts and harden their muscles, work longer, and wait for their rewards (Golding, 1974, p. 50). In addition, a mechanical approach that linked media infrastructure growth to socioeconomic development became popular among policy makers through the influence of Daniel Lerners 1958 book, The Passing of Traditional Society. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) confirmed this approach in its 1961 report, stating that there is a clear and reciprocal relationship between the development of information media and economic and technical development (Mehan, 1981, p. 160). For newly independent countries, the mass media not only played a role in initiating and sustaining economic development, but it also legitimized political authority and promoted national integration. The Park regime, which had an unstable legitimacy and strove for mobilizing resources for economic development, was in dire need of the mass media (Shim, 2006). In order to expand the size of its audience, the military government subsidized KBS in its dissemination of tax-exempt television sets and radio receivers. The number of radios and televisions, 706,491 and 34,774, respectively, in 1963, drastically increased to 10,044,540 and 2,809,131, respectively, in 1976. Many small rural villages, comprised of poor villagers who could not afford to buy individual radio sets, were equipped with central receiver-amplifier stations that relayed radio signals to speakers placed in each household (Shim, 2006). Through this rapid development of media infrastructure, the government was now able to reach a far wider segment of the population on a scale that would have never been possible before and to use the mass media with greater effectiveness for educating the people to support urgent national tasks for development (Hahn, 1978).



In addition to KBS, the Park regime allowed two commercial broadcastersTongyang Broadcasting Company (TBC-TV) in 1964 and Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC-TV) in 1969to engage in television broadcasting. All three networks, however, had similar roles of being the governments mouthpiece. KBS publicly declared that one of its missions was to contribute to the realization of the Park regimes slogan of modernization of the motherland and reunification of both Koreas. The public Korean Broadcasting Ethics Commission, founded in 1963, stated: Commercial broadcasting should especially endeavor to contribute to the economic development of Korea (quoted in Nam, 1978, p. 47). In fact, both commercial broadcasters were under the financial influence of the government. The 516 Scholarship Foundation (516 Janghakhoe), controlled by the ruling party, had ownership of MBC, while TBC, as a subsidiary of a chaebol (a conglomerate of businesses, usually owned by a single family), was in a position to constantly monitor the governments activities. It was an era when the state, with its ability to allocate capital to the economic sector in a capital-scarce environment, orchestrated chaebols activities (Shim, 2006). After Parks assassination in 1979, army general Chun Doo-Hwan came to power through another military coup. As it lacked popular support, the new military regime sought to control the media. In 1980, the government combined the existing Press Registration Act (enacted in 1963), Broadcasting Law (1963), and the Law on the Communications Ethics Commission (1964) and enacted the united Basic Press Law. This law placed greater emphasis on responsibility of the press rather than freedom of the press. With this idea in mind, the military regime placed the media under centralized state control by forcing a media merger action in late 1980. Through this, the national media structure of 28 newspapers, 29 broadcasters, and 7 news agencies was reorganized into only 14 newspapers, 3 broadcasters and 1 news agency; 933 journalists and media workers were dismissed (Kang, 1998; Kim, 1994). According to the Journalists Association of Korea and the Association of Laid-off Journalists (1997), another 984 workers were laid off during the incorporation of the communication industry in late 1980. Therefore, the total number of laid-off media workers reached 1,917; this figure was 10.2 percent of the total 18,703 employees in 1980 before the massive layoffs (Shim, 2006). In reconfiguring the broadcasting industry, the Chun regime coerced KBS, TBC, and other commercial radio stations to merge into large-scale public broadcaster KBS. It made MBC the second largest public broadcaster, with 65 percent of its shares controlled by KBS. Further, the government deprived the Christian Broadcasting System (CBS), which had maintained rather independent reportage, of news and information programs (Shim, 2006). In fact, the Chun regime adopted a carrot-and-stick approach to the Korean broadcasting media. First of all, the government guaranteed the stable growth of media firms by forming an oligopolistic market. Second, the



government granted KBS a dual financing system: in addition to collecting television reception fees, KBS was also able to broadcast commercial advertisements. Third, the government provided tax benefits to newspaper companies when they imported press facilities. Fourth, the government lowered the taxation rate on journalists incomes so that they would be less critical of the government (Kang, 1998; Kim, 1994). While the two broadcasting networks were not allowed to produce news and public affairs programs that were critical of the government, they were free to air apolitical entertainment shows; this change saw them plunge into a fierce ratings competition. Color broadcasting, which began operation in December 1980 as a measure to provide local consumer electronics firms with an initial domestic market, intensified this trend. In fact, news programs had become pro-Chun propaganda tools, with every main television news show at night beginning with about 10 minutes coverage of Chuns activities on that day. With the demise of many newspapers and broadcasters, the scope of political debate was considerably reduced. Audiences felt alienated from access to the media, which they considered as reflective of the interests of the power bloc (Shim, 2006). The Korean peoples dissatisfaction, complaints, and anger against the media were about to hit a boiling point. In particular, in the period leading to the general election of February 1985, television news coverage was excessively biased toward ruling party candidates. Eventually, in April 1985, the Catholic Farmers Association in Wanju County, in the southwestern part of the Korean peninsula, put up a television reception fee boycott campaign. The association argued that the KBS-TV reception fee should be collected only from the ruling Democratic Justice Party and the government (Kim, 2001). This was the first protest against the oppressive government, staged by groups other than the seditious students and unlawful labor unionists in 1980s Korea. The reception fee boycott soon spread across the nation with the participation of all major religious groups, including Catholic churches, Protestants and Buddhists, and womens organizations. After all, KBS experienced a drastic drop in television reception fee collection, from 125.6 billion won in 1984 to 78 billion won in 1988.3 Buoyed by the progress of the audience movement, the citizens found a sense of solidarity and confidence in their collective power to stage antigovernment actions. In the end, when Chun virtually nominated Roh Tae-Woo, his classmate at the Korean Military Academy, as his successor to the Korean presidency, citizens, students, and opposition politicians took to the streets for more than ten days in June 1987. They managed to force the Chun regime to hold a direct presidential election in December 1987 and to take wide-ranging democratization measures. Against this backdrop, in late 1987, the Korean National Assembly abolished the much-criticized Basic Press Law and enacted the more democratic Act on Registration of Periodicals, which made



it possible for registered periodicals in the country to increase from 2,411 in 1987 to 6,847 in 1994. The National Assembly also enacted the Broadcasting Law, which ordered 65 percent of MBC shares held by KBS to be transferred to the Foundation for Broadcast Culture, a public corporation. This transformed MBC into a half-public, half-private entity (Kim, 1994; Shim, 1990). The Broadcasting Law was further revised to the Broadcasting Act in 1990; this introduced an era of multichannel, commercial broadcasting. In December 1990, the government granted the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) a license to begin operation in 1991, thus lifting the 22year-long ban on new commercial broadcasting organizations. In addition, the government permitted four new regional commercial broadcasting stations to start up in 1994, and another four to begin broadcasting in 1997 (Shim, 2006). After Korean audiences shook off the shackles of government control, they came to witness the Korean broadcasting fall under the control of market principles and commercialism. The established public broadcasters, KBS and MBC, have also been under influence of the marketplace. As of the early 1990s, KBS relied more on advertising revenue (61 percent) than on the reception fee (39 percent) for its operation. In MBCs case, 98 percent of its revenue in the same period came from advertisements (Kim, 2001). We have thus far examined the path taken by the Korean terrestrial television broadcasting industry in the period from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, in light of Koreas political-economic development. During this period, military regimes provided preferential treatment to the oligopoly of established media companies, which played a critical role in supporting authoritarian rule, in return for their loyalty. Then, with deregulation, liberalization, and privatization, the Korean broadcasting environment has since come under the strong influence of commercialism. In the next section, we will examine how information society discourse has changed the landscape of the Korean broadcasting industry and the ways in which cable television complements the multichannel, commercial broadcasting environment.


Spearheaded by the United States and Japan, many countries in the 1980s set about building an economy based on information technology (IT) and embraced transformation into an information society as major national policies. In this context, in 1989 Korea decided to build a digitized, integrated cable television infrastructure that would begin operation in 1995. Many large firms, including the first-tier chaebol,4 anticipated and prepared for the inception of the cable television business for years, expecting it to be a new revenue source. In August 1993, the Korean Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) selected 20 companies that would become cable television program providers.



By January 1994, MIC also finalized the selection of 54 cable television system operators (or local cable operators) based on geographic areas (Shim, 2002). Among the 20 program providers allotted, chaebol, including the first-tier and second-tier chaebol, had 14 channels. In particular, those potentially most profitable were taken by the top three chaebol: Samsung took the only pay film channel, while Daewoo had the movie channel, and Hyundai acquired the entertainment channel. Two large media firms, Yonhap News Agency and Maeil Economy Daily, also took two news cable channels (Lee, 1993). Demand for acquiring cable channels had not ended. There had been very strong lobbying from several chaebol to enter the cable TV business, in particular the program providers, which resulted in large-scale corruption in the late 1990s ( Jin, 2006).5 The government increased the number of cable channels partially because of strong demand from businesses, so there were 77 cable system operators and 29 program providers by the end of 2000. Among the 29 program providers, the second-tier chaebol own 10 cable channels, followed by small companies (6 channels), and first-tier chaebol (4 channels). Others are media firms (4), religious agencies (3), and the government (2) (Korea Press Foundation, 2000, pp. 15863). The number of program providers again soared to 190 firms by the end of October 2002 because the government replaced the licensing system in the cable program provider business with the registration system in March 2001. The government needed new program providers to meet the demands for new digital satellite television, which aired its first broadcast in March 2002. Program providers also could produce and provide programs for satellite and terrestrial television as well as cable television. However, due to heavy competition among cable broadcasting companies, as of May 2006, the number of cable companies decreased to 143, including 103 system operators and 42 program providers (56 channels) (Korean Cable Television Association, 2006). By initiating and developing cable television services, the government also expected to encourage the sales of domestic electronics companies, as color broadcasting had in the 1980s. The cable-related domestic market was projected to be $7 billion in 1994 by the government, followed by an increase of $2 billion per year between 1995 and 1999 ( Jin, 2006). In order to support domestic electronics companies, the government stipulated that 30 percent of all cable televisionrelated equipment be Korean made. The government expected that domestic cable televisionrelated devices would comprise 85 percent of all cable television equipment by 1998 (Han, 1994, pp. 15657). Contrary to the government plan, Korean-made broadcasting equipment for cable television did not reach these expectations. Therefore, as of March 1998 domestic-made equipment for program providers accounted for 46.3 percent, while it was 75.9 percent for cable television system operators (Kim, 1998). Unfortunately, the cable television business could not make a profit until very recent years mainly because of the slow increase in subscribers and



thereafter the shortage of advertising. The 1997 economic crisis, which was the worst economic recession in modern Korean history, seriously affected the media industry just as other industries. With the economic crisis, the number of cable subscribers did not increase, and advertising was floundering because businesses and citizens together suffered from the crisis, and they could not afford new means of entertainment and/or information sources ( Jin, 2006). The total fee-paying cable television subscribers were only 10.4 percent of total households by the end of 1999, unlike the government projection that 39 percent of TV households would subscribe to cable television by 1999 (Korean Cable Television Association, 2000). Therefore, cable business struggled to become financially viable. In the first year of cable television service in 1995, the industry lost $375 million (Park, 1996). As of early 1996, Samsungs Catch One, the only pay cable channel in Korea at that time, had 160,000 subscribers but needed at least 700,000 subscribers to break even. The number of total cable subscribers increased from 206,886 in 1995 to 5.2 million in 2001. However, in 2001 only 22.7 percent of total cable subscribers were fee-charging subscribers (Korea Cable Television Association, 2003). This figure was not enough to make profits except for movie and entertainment channels. To make matters worse, the cable channels had to compete with the satellite television to attract audiences from 2002. The situation has changed in recent years. Although several cable broadcasters are still suffering from financial difficulties, many cable companies have finally begun to make profits due to an increase in subscribers. As of June 2004, the number of cable subscribers was recorded at 12.3 million compared to 5.2 million in 2001 (Korean Cable Television Association, 2005). Also in 2004, program providers made profits of $202 million compared to $80 million in 2003, and system operators made profits of $69 million compared to $26 million in 2003 (Korea Press Foundation, 2005). Chaebol, which had actively invested in the media industry under the Roh Tae Woo and Kim Young Sam governments, withdrew from the media business, in particular cable businesses, during the Kim Dae Jung government (19982003). The first-tier chaebol, including Samsung, Hyundai, and Daewoo, left the cable business beginning in 1998, because of financial deficits and/or restructuring in the post-1997 economic crisis ( Jin, 2006). More specifically, Samsung, the largest media group hopeful sold Q Channel to Joong-Ang Ilbo, its affiliate newspaper company, in 1998. The Hyundai group also sold its cable TV (HBS) to Next Media Group,6 while Daewoo sold its film, video, and cable industries to Dong Yang Confectionary.7 SK sold management rights and 51 percent of its stake in its golf channel to a businessman. In addition, Yonhap News Agency sold off its Yonhap Television News (YTN), the huge loss-incurring cable channel, to the Information Network, a subsidiary of the public enterprise Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) in 1997. YTN recorded about a $31.9 million deficit in 1996,



increasing its accumulated losses for 1995 and 1996 to $57.9 million, the largest among the 29 program providers (Hwang, 1997). In addition, about 25 cable system operators requested mergers and acquisitions as of June 1998 (Kwon, 2000). With the withdrawal of the first-tier chaebol from the cable television business, the degree of concentration in ownership at several large conglomerates dramatically decreased. The withdrawal of the first-tier chaebol from the cable television industry gave rise to a new significant trend in the broadcasting industry in the late 1990s: the growing dominance of the second-tier chaebol in the form of a strategic alliance with foreign capitals ( Jin, 2006). Several second-tier conglomerates, such as Orion and CJ Entertainment and Media (hereafter CJ), have played key roles in the media business, particularly in the cable business in recent years. These second-tier chaebol owned several cable companies and became the largest multiprogram providers in the late 1990s. They have sought a business strategy differentiated from the first-tier chaebol by attracting global partnerships in the middle of the relaxation of foreign ownership restraints, while extending their dominance in the cable industry by purchasing existing cable companies ( Jin, 2006). Among these, Orion bought movie channel DCN from Daewoo in 1999, as well as three cable channels, including Tooniverse and Baduk (an Oriental chess game Go or Wei-Qi) channels. Orion increased its number of cable channels and finally established a media holding company, On Media, in 1999 in the form of a joint venture with foreign partners, including the U.S. venture fund Capital International Group, Time Warner, and channels such as HBO and MTV (Cho, 2000, p. 114). Orion held 64 percent of the total shares of On Media, with its foreign partners holding the rest by the end of 2002 (foreign investments in the media industry are revisited later) (Seo, 2003). Lee Hwa-kyung, chief executive officer of On Media, addresses the significance of global partners in her interview with the Korea Times:
On the heels of the currency crisis in 1998, big firms in Korea weaned themselves of media business to reduce costs, and we [On Media] could hardly find any domestic investors wanting to explore the untapped media market. Accordingly, we turned our eyes overseas to lure foreign investors, showing the market potential in the Korean media business. Through our global partnerships, we secured not only capital, but also the opportunity to learn advanced management skills from multinational media groups and to share quality entertainment content. (Seo, 2003; cited in Jin, 2006)

CJ has also become one of the largest media groups in Korea. It bought eight cable companies by May 2006, including CGV (movie channel), National Geography (documentary), and M-Net (music cable channel), and it became a multiprogram provider. Meanwhile, CJ is also the largest film firm



in the production, distribution, and exhibition sectors. As Koreas first multiplex chain, CJ operated 397 of Koreas 1,500 screens and controlled about 40 percent of the exhibition market in 2005 (Russell, 2005). Orion and CJ, both of which began as food producers and distributors, have rapidly turned their eyes to new media industries and have become major players in the media industry in recent years ( Jin, 2006). As can be seen thus far, ownership structure in the cable television industry has dramatically changed according to the countrys political-economic environment. Despite the fluctuation and slow start, most conglomerates, particularly the second-tier chaebol, did not draw back but planned to further expand investment in the cable television industry, viewing it as infrastructure investment for the future success of their corporations, particularly given that it is one of the most significant media in growing convergence among new technologies, along with satellite broadcasting. Several second-tier chaebol horizontally and vertically have integrated several cable firms to become such mega-media groups as Dong Yang and CJ.


The Korean broadcasting system entered a new era with the launch of the satellite digital television in 2002 and the satellite digital multimedia broadcasting (S-DMB) in 2005. Digital television is considered the most significant medium of the future because of its convergence with telecommunications. Transnational capitals, domestic capitals, and media companies have been deeply interested in investment in the digital broadcasting system, because they believe digital television is one of the best means to enter the lucrative broadcasting market ( Jin, 2006). In fact, for the bid for obtaining the license for digital satellite television held in 2000, chaebol, media companies, and foreign companies formed consortia. Two consortia submitted proposals to the Korean Broadcasting Commission (KBC), an independent government agency responsible for broadcasting policy making and broadcasting licensing. The first consortium was the Korea Digital Satellite Broadcasting (KDSB), led by Korea Telecom (KT), which was the largest stockholder at 18 percent. The three network TV stations also participate as major stockholders: KBS (10 percent), MBC (6 percent), and SBS (3.2 percent) (Hwang, 2000). Several first- and second-tier chaebol, including Samsung (1 percent) and Doosan (1 percent), and the U.S. satellite company EchoStar (2 percent), the second-largest player in the North American direct broadcast satellite business, also joined the KDSB. The other consortium was the Korea Satellite Broadcasting (KSB), with LG DSM (10 percent), SK Telecom (10 percent), and News Corporation (10 percent) par-



ticipating in it (Han, 2000). Eventually, KBC selected KDSB, which aired its first satellite broadcast on March 1, 2002, under the name Skylife with 93 channels (Lee, 2002). As such, digital satellite television became the first Korea media industry in which domestic capital, domestic mass media institutions, and transnational capital were main stakeholders together ( Jin, 2006). Satellite digital television could not establish a solid business ground in the first several years, not only because of lower subscriptions than expected but also because of severe competition with cable television. By the end of 2002, subscribers were slightly over 500,000, and Skylifes financial deficit reached $116 million (Han, 2003). In 2004, the subscribers reached around 15 million; however, the company still experienced increasing financial loss of $138 million (Korea Press Foundation, 2005). Like cable television in the mid-1990s, satellite digital television had difficulty in securing its subscribers and profits. Two main factors caused this unfavorable business situation in the satellite digital broadcasting business. First, satellite digital television is not much different from cable television in its content. Some 57 channels out of the 93 channels on Skylife also aired on cable television. Since cable subscribers could not find any specific new channels on satellite digital television, they did not switch to Skylife ( Jin, 2006). Second, subscribers could not watch MBC and SBS, two of the three terrestrial television channels until February 2005, because the Broadcasting Law allowed the satellite broadcaster to retransmit only KBS and EBS (Educational Broadcasting System) programs, from the public broadcasters (Lee, 2005). In November 2001, before lauching the satellite digital broadcaster, KBC promised to revise the Broadcasting Law so that Skylife could retransmit MBC and SBS programs in the Seoul metropolitan area. However, this provision did not change until 2005, because the cable broadcasters were strongly against the revision. They feared that Skylife would encroach on their subscribers, if the new satellite broadcaster could retransmit commercial network programs (Kim, 2002). In addition, many local commercial network broadcasters were also strongly against KBCs new policy, because they could not transmit their programs. The new policy was supposed to allow only commercial network broadcasters located in the Seoul metropolitan area to transmit their programs. Labor unions of MBCs local stations and eight local commercial network broadcasters went on strike, which led to the resignation of the chairman of the KBC, Kim Jung-Ki (Oh, 2002). Under these circumstances, nobody wanted to create any controversy, so the KBC, the Korean National Assembly, and Kim Dae Jung government showed a noncommittal attitude toward revising the Broadcasting Law. Just as the United States satellite television system could not air network channels, Skylife had the same problem. As explained, the satellite digital television is not currently healthy in terms of its financial situation; however, this does not mean that the future of



satellite digital television is not bright ( Jin, 2006). Above all, the main stakeholders of Skylife are KT, the telecommunications giant, and terrestrial television broadcasters, including MBC, SBS, and KBS. These companies plan to be communications giants through the convergence between telecommunications and television in the near future, so the satellite digital television has potential to grow, albeit slowly in the future (Cho, 2003). Meanwhile, in May 2005, Korea launched the satellite digital multimedia broadcasting (S-DMB) servicethe first in the worldwhich enables people on the move to enjoy dozens of satellite-backed TV and radio channels through mobile phones or portable terminals. TU media, a unit of Koreas foremost mobile operator SK Telecom, began to run 7 satellite DMB video channels, such as news, sports, soap operas, games, movies, and the firms own station, as well as 20 audio channels (Kim, 2005).8 The S-DMB service is still in its infancy; however, it is admitted as one of the most cutting-edge services, and the market is rapidly growing due to the reflection of a promising cross between telecom and broadcasting. Regardless of many challenges ahead, such as the lack of content and technical difficulties, several telecom and broadcasting companies make desperate efforts to become forerunners in this new media area.


The Korean broadcasting industry has grown and changed in the context of its political-economic environment. Governments need to control the media, civil resistance to it, and endless pursuit of chaebol to enter the communications sector have all contributed to the transformation of the media structure. Against this background, since the late 1980s the government has eased entrance barriers in the broadcasting industry for both domestic and foreign-based transnational capitals. Above all else, it is notable that the Korean broadcasting industry has changed in its ownership structure and financial sources with the entrance and withdrawal of local large conglomerates, or chaebol, in the business. Between 1987 and 2005, a few large conglomerates played a key role in reshaping the broadcasting industry, including terrestrial, cable, and satellite broadcasting industries, taking advantage of volatile media policies. Many players, including the United States government and transnational corporations, also played significant roles in the process of reorganizing the Korean media industry. They asked, demanded, and pushed Korea to change its broadcasting system toward the market-oriented competitive system and commercialized media structure, believing Korea would become a more lucrative media market. As a result, transnational capitals have penetrated every broadcasting media sector except terrestrial broadcasting in the form of direct investments as well as joint ventures. In sum, the Korean broadcasting indus-



try has been transformed and developed influence by sometimes cooperative and at other times conflicting relationships among the government, domestic capital, and transnational corporations.

NOTES 1. Radio broadcasting is not discussed here because of its limited relations with the development of the information/media industry from the 1990s onward. 2. Korean names mentioned in this chapter follow the Korean convention of the family names preceding given names, except for the two authors names (Doobo Shim and Dal Yong Jin) which follow the English convention of the given names preceding family names. 3. Won is a Korean unit of currency; between 680 and 890 won equaled $1 U.S. in the mid-1980s. 4. Here, the first-tier chaebol refers to the five largest conglomerates based on revenue, the number of subsidiaries, and contribution to foreign trade. The second-tier chaebol refers to large conglomerates ranked between 6 and 30 using the same measurements. 5. The entrance of chaebol capital and their vertical integration of the media industries have brought about large-scale corruption in the process of licensing local terrestrial and cable television. Some high-ranking government officials illegally overissued licenses for local commercial and cable television in return for bribes. Kim Hyun-Chul, son of Korean president Kim Young Sam, received $3.6 million in return for favors from two companies seeking a cable TV license between 1994 and 1997, so he was arrested in 1997. Kim Ki-Sup, a former deputy director of the Agency for National Security Planning (Korean equivalent for CIA), was also arrested in 1997 on charges of receiving bribery in kickbacks from a businessman related to a Seoul cable TV project. Large-scale corruption also occurred in the process of licensing local broadcasting companies. Hong In-Kil, a former key presidential aide in the first few years of the Kim government, was accused of taking kickbacks from the Chung Gu group, which was awarded the right to operate the Taegu Broadcasting Company. Kim Young Sam campaigned for sweeping reforms for the sociopolitical corruption rooted in the previous military governments. However, Kims government finally could not break free from the corruption between the government and chaebol, in this case with the development of the media industry (See Jin, 2006). 6. The Next Media Group owns two newspapers, one sport newspaper and one economic newspaper. The Next Media Group changed the name of HBS to NTV in 2000. 7. Dong Yang Confectionery changed its name to Orion in 2001. 8. As of May 2006, the number of subscribers of S-DMB is 372,000 from 60,000 in May 2005, and it is expected to reach as many as 1 million by the end of 2006. People pay a one-time subscription fee of $20 and a monthly fee of $13 for the S-DMB service (see Che, 2006).



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Kim, H.-s. (1994). Sociology of Korean journalism. Seoul: Nanam. Kim, K.-P. (2002, December 27). Increasing conflict between cable and network broadcasters. Segye Ilbo, 17. Kim, S. D. (1996). Expansion of the Korean television industry and transnational capitalism. In David French & Michael Richards (Eds.), Contemporary television: Eastern perspectives. London: Sage. Kim S.-h. (1992). Jiriji-ro sseu-neun Hanguk bangsong-sa. Bangsong-Sidae, 3. Retrieved July 5, 2004 from volidx=3&idx=268&pagenum=1. Kim, T.-g. (2005, May 1). Cell Phone-Based Broadcasting Starts. The Korea Times. Kim, Y.-h. (2001). The broadcasting audience movement in Korea. Media Culture and Society, 23(1), 91107. Korean Cable Television Association. (2002). Cable TV subscribers. Retrieved July 7, 2003 from Korean Cable Television Association. (2002). Korean cable TV industry: Current status and outlook. Seoul: KCTA. Korean Cable Television Association. (2005). Cable TV subscribers. Retrieved June 23, 2006 from Korean Cable Television Association. (2006). Korean cable TV industry: Current status and outlook. Seoul: KCTA. Korea Press Foundation. (2000). Korea media yearbook 2000/2001. Seoul: Korea Press Foundation. Korea Press Foundation. (2005). Korea media yearbook 2005/2006. Seoul: Korea Press Foundation. Kwon, H.-Y. (2000). Mergers and acquisitions: A media industry. Seoul: Korea Broadcasting Institute. Lee, J. Y. (2005, February 3). Beginning in July, people can watch MBC-SBS via satellite broadcasters, p. 23. Lee, M. H. (1993, September 1). 20 channels allotted for cable television. Seoul Shinmun, 2. Lee, S.-h. (2002, March 2). Digital satellite broadcasting begins. Dong-A Ilbo, p. 1. Mason, E. S., Kim, M. J., Perkins, D. H., Kim, K. S., & Cole, D. C. (1980). The economic and social modernization of the Republic of Korea. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Media industry. (2002, May 16). Media Today 342, 8. Mehan, J. A. (1981). Unesco and the U.S.: Action and reaction. Journal of Communication, 31(4), 15963. Nam, S. (1978). Republic of Korea. In John A. Lent (Ed.), Broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific (pp. 4155). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Oh, K.-S. (2002, January 19). Background of the resignation of a chairman of the KBC. Kyung Hwang Shinmun, 5. Park, W. J. (1996, February 1). Cable TV: Cultural war among large conglomerates. Dong-A Ilbo, 18.



Russell, M. (2005, October 3). CJ entertainment at 10. Hollywood, Online. Retrieved June 26, 2006 from international/feature_ display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001220250. Seo, J.-y. (2003, April 3). On media emerging as entertainment powerhouse. The Korea Times, 35. Shim, D. (2002). South Korean media industry in the 1990s and the economic crisis. Prometheus, 20(4), 337350. Shim, D. (2006). Popular culture: Korea Inc.s new exports. Monograph under review. Shim, J. H. (1990, August 23). Watching the watchdog. Far Eastern Economic Review, 2426. Yatsko, P. (1998, May 21). The bigger, the better. Far Eastern Economic Review, 1013.


Television, Radio, Globalization, and Democracy

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Reality Television, Politics, and Democratization in the Arab World


INTRODUCT ION HE MOST POPULAR and controversial television programs in the Arab world are reality shows such as Super Star and Star Academy, broadcast by satellite to viewers from Morocco to Iraq. These shows claim to be live, nonscripted and therefore real and rely on audience participation in the form of voting for favorite contestants. In the wake of controversy triggered by Super Star and Star Academy, some observers have hailed reality television as a harbinger of democracy in the Arab world. This chapter explores the complex ways in which Arab reality television can be described as political and poses questions about the role of reality programs in the democratization of the panArab public sphere. Based on fieldwork, textual analysis, and interviews with television producers and market researchers, this chapter concludes with preliminary observations on the political implications of Arab reality television. Reality television1 entered Arab public discourse in the last five years at a time of significant turmoil in the region: escalating violence in Iraq, contested elections in Egypt, the struggle for womens political rights in Kuwait, political assassinations in Lebanon, and the protracted Arab-Israeli conflict. This geopolitical crisis environment that currently frames Arab politics and Arab-Western relations is the backdrop to the controversy surrounding the social and political



impact of Arab reality television, which takes religious, cultural, or moral manifestations. This chapter explores the connections between Arab reality television and the political, economic, and sociocultural forces that animate contemporary Arab public discourse. It offers observations on how public contention about reality television articulates these forces to issues such as inter-Arab relations, democratization, and political participation. The chapter concludes with questions, to be addressed in future research, about the ways in which public contention around reality television overlaps and spills into Arab political life. Specifically, this chapter offers preliminary analysis of public discourse surrounding three reality television programs, Superstar, Al Rais, and Star Academy, used as comparative case studies to map the dynamics of contention in the pan-Arab public sphere. The analysis is based on seven months of fieldwork in Beirut and Dubai in 2004 and 2005, including more than 100 interviews with people involved in the production, promotion, evaluation, and research on the audience of Arab reality television programs, in addition to textual analysis of around 50 hours of the programs themselves.2 This initial research indicates that reactions to Arab reality television fall in two broad camps. On the one hand, there is a large group of young people and adults who follow reality television programs, some of them more or less regular viewers, others avid fans, making some reality television shows the most popular programs in Arab television history. On the other hand, there is a relatively small but vocal minority of religious leaders and political activists who have condemned reality television because in their judgment it violates Islamic principles of social interaction and/or facilitates cultural globalization characterized by Western values of individualism, consumerism, and sexual promiscuity. This chapter recognizes that opinions on reality television in the Arab region are more diverse than the two broad categories mentioned above, including those who dismiss reality television on the grounds that it is contrived dramatically, mediocre artistically, or simply not very interesting. To that end it seeks to distinguish competing political, religious, and economic discourses that are compelled into public debate on the impact of reality television on Arab societies. This chapter is drawn from a working book manuscript,3 and therefore it is best construed as offering a set of preliminary observations rather that definite interpretation. These observations will focus on the overlaps between popular culture and politics in the context of the public controversy surrounding reality television, within the framework of the relationship between the broad categories of politics and entertainment.


Long treated as two distinct and separate spheres, the realms of politics and entertainment have become increasingly related in mass mediated societies



where they both rely on celebrity and public recognition. The overlap is probably most pronounced in the United States since 1992 when presidential candidate William Jefferson Clinton played his saxophone on MTV, and this issue took surreal dimensions nearly a decade later when World Wrestling Federation ex-star Jesse The Body Ventura won the governorship of Minnesota as a third-party candidate against two powerful mainstream opponents. In the late 1990s U.S. television, from celebrity gossip shows to serious network news, was abuzz with rumors of Hollywood stars and business tycoons running for political office: Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood, and Donald Trump were imputed political ambitions, rumors that most of them did nothing to undermine. Even after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, when pundits proclaimed the end of both innocence and insouciance, and the return to more serious matters of state, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-born Mister Universe turned Hollywood action hero, was elected governor of California. Michael Moores Academy Awards diatribe against George W. Bush in 2004 was watched by millions throughout the world and triggered widespread commentary in the international and Arab press. The United States continues to be, in the words of Neil Gabler (1998), the republic of mass entertainment. Elsewhere in the world the connection is less patent, but signs of it exist everywhere. The transformation of Cicciolina from porn star to member of the Italian parliament, Bob Geldof s crusade for debt relief in the developing world, and Indian movie stars dabbling in politics are all indications of blurring boundaries between entertainment and politics, with most crossovers being from the former to the latter. In Egypt, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, newspaper cartoons and comedic television programs have long been a platform for caustic political satire, with the special Ramadan broadcast of Tash ma Tash, a Saudi television comedy, stirring controversy in Saudi Arabia at the time of this writing.4 The connection between politics and entertainment in the developing world sometimes takes indirect forms. In India, the television broadcasts of the historical Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were concomitant with a changing political landscape and by some accounts to the redefinition of politics in India (Rajagopal, 2001). In Latin America, telenovelas often take on politicized socio-economic themes. In most of the non-Western world, cultural production is an arena where various forces struggle to define national identity in ways that are more contentious than in the West. For example, the commoditization of the female body in popular culture that in the West is often marginally discussed as a moral issue creates major controversies in the non-Western world where womens roles are central to historical memory and national identity. In short, the impact of entertainment television on public discourse in developing countries (Abu-Lughod, 2005; Garcia-Canclini, 2001; Kraidy, 2005) is explained by popular cultures ability to produce and articulate feelings



[that] can become the basis of an identity, and that identity can be the source of political thought and action (Street, 1997, p. 10). That popular culture creates identities with political potential or perhaps more accurately that it integrates already existing group identities and serves as a platform for their exaltation in public discourse is made clear by the controversy surrounding Arab reality television. Reality television broadcasts are public events in Arab countries, compelling various actors to articulate competing social identities and political agendas in a process of public contention whose objective is to favor one or another vision of the good society.5 Because of its high visibility, popular culture in general and reality television specifically is a magnet for contentious politics because the upheaval over its implications for Arab societies stands for a larger, ongoing debate about ArabWestern relations and sociocultural change. The overlap between popular culture and politics exposes fault-lines in Arab societies as the popularity and controversial status of reality television brings to the surface latent sociopolitical tensions. To illustrate these processes of contention, this chapter takes three reality television shows as case studies. The first is Super Star, the Arab version of Pop Idol or American Idol ; the second is Star Academy, the Arab version of Fame Academy; and the third is Al Rais, the Arabic version of Big Brother.6 The first was produced by Future Television, a Lebanese channel owned by the family of the late Rafiq al-Hariri; the second was launched by the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC); the third was broadcast by the Dubai-based, Saudi-owned Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC). Superstar and Star Academy were shot in Lebanon, Al Rais in Bahrain. The first two have been extremely popular among Arab audiences and have garnered record advertising rates, with Star Academy being unequivocally the most popular and probably the most controversial satellite television program in Arab history. The third program, Al Rais was shut down one week after it went on the air in 2004, due to intense controversy which led to street demonstrations in Manama, Bahrains capital. Public discourse around these programs illustrates how various groups use them to articulate and legitimate competing ideological agendas. In particular, after exploring the emergence of nationalist speech in tandem with reality television broadcasts, my observations focus on how business and religious leaders, among others, use the visibility of reality television to increase the publics exposure to their views.


Developments in the Arab media industry during the last fifteen years are dominated by a trend towards regionalization (Alterman, 1998; Kraidy, 2002; Kraidy & Khalil, 2007; Saler, 2002). Nationally oriented terrestrial television



channels and national daily newspapers remain popular and influential in some Arab countries, but regional satellite television channels such as alJazeera, al-Arabiya, LBC and MBC, and regional newspapers such as AlHayat, Asharq Al-Awsat, and Al-Quds Al-Arabi, all three London-based, have a strong following and usually set the terms and rhythm of pan-Arab public discourse. Like other regional media industries in Latin America and Southeast Asia, Arab satellite television tends to produce programs that appeal at once to city dwellers in Baghdad and Casablanca and to rural viewers in the Egyptian said and the Lebanese jurd, although it is mostly focused on urban middle-class viewers that appeal to advertisers. Additional trends underscoring Arab satellite televisions trans-regional mode of address include (1) the development of what is now known as white Arabic, a media compatible, simplified version of Standard Modern Arabic that is becoming a lingua franca for regional public discourse, (2) the advent of stars with regional appeal (whether they are journalists, program hosts, singers, or to a lesser extent, actors), and (3) the standardization of production practices in Beirut, Cairo, and Dubai.7 At another level, the rising popularity of television formats that Arab channels purchase from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and then adapt to Arab audiences has brought to Arab screens a flurry of what can be called hybrid programs because they combine a global format developed in Western Europe or the United States, with local content that appeals to the cultural sensibilities of specific audiences. In 2004 and 2005, many media executives in Beirut and Dubai said to me that the gossip in the [satellite television] industry used to be about who is creating what, and now the gossip is about who is purchasing which format. In my interviews with satellite television professionals, there were no indications of dissatisfaction with this situation, since in most cases importing program ideas and adapting them is less arduous than creating original programs.8 Clearly, television format adaptation suits satellite television channels because it allows them to bypass several steps in the production process and to fashion programs for a pan-Arab audience living between Rabat and Baghdad. The resulting productions mix elements from East and West and draw on the cultural repertoires of various Arab countries. The cultural hybridity of these programs, and many of them belong to the reality genre, contributes to unpredictable audience reactions and, as we shall see shortly, heated public debates (Kraidy, 2005, pp. 97115). Regionalization is well established in the Arab satellite television industry as a business and marketing strategy. Many promotion and marketing managers I spoke with in Beirut and Dubai wax lyrical when conjuring up visions of a pan-Arab audience whose millions of viewers transcend interArab divisions. Politically and culturally, however, regionalization is skin deep, as demonstrated by expressions of rivalry between Arabs from different countries during the 2003 broadcast of Future Televisions Superstar. Launched



with great success in 2003, this Arabic version of Pop Idol raised Future Televisions stature both nationally and regionally as thousands of Arabs auditioned to participate in the program and millions watched and voted for their favorite contestants. Superstar rested on the basic premise of singers performing on stage in front of three jurors. Elias al-Rahbani, member of Lebanons most famous musical family, donned edgy eyewear and black turtlenecks to play the role of juror-in-chief, a convincing if a bit contrived copycat of Simon Cowell, the acerbic music producer and jury leader in the American version of the show, American Idol.9 As it reached its final weeks, Superstars competition turned from an artistic competition between individual contestants to an international rivalry in which each contender was primarily performing as a representative of his or her country (Kraidy, 2006). From the early weeks of the program, viewers could see the flag waving by the in-studio audience, and text messages feeding into television tickers depicted patriotic statements often accompanied by icons of national flags whose on-screen appearance was made possible by Multimedia Messaging Service. Even before the last couple of weeks, when the competition intensified significantly, there were reports that voting was occurring on national bases, which meant that the wealthy inhabitants of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates) would give Superstar contestants from those countries an edge in the competition. However, with the presence of the jury, artistic talent was a determining factor, and the three semifinalists were a Jordanian woman, a Lebanese man, and a Syrian man. This combination of nationalities created controversy. When the Lebanese competitor was eliminated in the semifinal, riots broke out in Beirut, and fans stormed the stage in protest, as Lebanese converged to the studios in large demonstrations. Fueling this discontent was a rampant rumor that Syrian political pressure led to the elimination of the Lebanese candidate. Syria, euphemistically dubbed by Western news agencies as Lebanons power broker, in fact micromanaged all Lebanese affairs, until Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon in April 2005 under the combined pressure of massive street demonstrations in Beirut and United Nations resolution 1559 cosponsored by France and the United States. Until the withdrawal, the head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon was the de facto ruler of the country, and the Lebanese believed that very little happened in Lebanon without Syrian approval or intervention. It was therefore not surprising that Lebanese viewers were suspicious about the transparency of the process that led to the elimination of their national contestant. In addition to these complicating issues between Lebanon and Syria, modern Jordanian-Syrian relations have been riddled with tension for various political reasons, including Syrian resentment about the Hashemite monarchys historically compromising stance toward Israel. The voting frenzy surrounding Superstar became a competition between these countries. When



Superstar fever reached Syria itself, telecommunications companies installed billboards on Damascus thoroughfares promoting the Syrian contestant and exhorting Syrians to perform their national duty and vote for him. In interviews with Western press agencies, Syrians on the street were unequivocal: they were voting for him because he was Syrian; the fact that he was a good performer was just fine, but his national identity was the primary motivation for their participation in the show (Arab-Idol, 2003). Special mobile telephone lines were devoted to that endeavor. In Jordan, rumors spread of a fullfledged national mobilization. King Abdallah himself was reported to have instructed officers in the Jordanian armed forces to issue orders to the soldiers under their command to vote for Diana Carazon, the Jordanian candidate, who ultimately was crowned Superstar of the Arabs. Businesses exploited the situation as a marketing opportunity, with an ice cream parlor offering free ice cream for those who voted for Diana Carazon, and a car dealership took an ad in the daily Ad-Dustour advertising a 2003 sedan that it would give to Diana Carazon. Jordans telecommunications companies, who were poised to make large profits from their share of the voting bills, entered the fray, with Fastlink and Mobile Com pledging full support and launching a daily print advertising campaign urging readers to support the Jordanian contestant and vote for her (Pan Arab, 2003). Superstar stimulated patriotic feelings among its viewers that were exploited by political leaders and the corporate world. As an Associated Press wire report described it, Arab Idol [was] a Battle of Nations (Idol a, 2003). This battle was all the more visible because of the enormous pan-Arab audience that Future Televisions flagship program attracted: more than 30 million viewers watched the finale of Superstar 1, and 4.8 million voted, 52 percent for Diana Carazon (Abou Nasr, 2004). The division of passions and votes according to national affiliations undermines claims that pan-Arab satellite television is uniting Arabs from the (Atlantic) Ocean the (Persian) Gulf in one community of feeling. While there are burning issues with transnational appeal such as the plight of Palestinians and Iraqis under occupation, they appear to cede the way, even if temporarily, to more provincial affirmations of patriotism in the course of voting in popular reality television programs such as Superstar. Unlike Star Academy and Al-Rais, Superstar did not trigger a major moral panic. Rather, it elicited commentary that is clearly political. The Islamic Action Front, a Jordanian political formation with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, issued a Press Statement Surrounding the Program Superstar condemning it for promoting cultural globalization and the Americanization of Islamic values, but the debate in Jordan fizzled away as a Jordanian won the competition. In the second installment (Superstar 2, 2004), a Palestinian contestant from the West Bank town of Salfit, Ammar Hassan, rose to favorite contestant status, partly to the Arab publics sympathy for the Palestinians. On



the nights when he performed, the 12,000 residents of Salfit stayed indoors, glued to their screens, and when he rose to the finals against the Libyan Eyman Al-Atar, 2,000 people gathered in a Salfit park to watch together, chanting, Ammar, Ammar, Superstar. In spite of this popularity, the Hamas condemned Palestinian reactions to Superstar in the following statement: Our people are in need of heroes, resistance fighters, and contributors to building the country and are not in need of singers, corruption mongers, and advocates of immorality (Habeas, 2004). That reactions to Superstar are explicitly articulated in political and ideological terms should not obscure the tendency of such public controversies to blur the boundaries among the political, sociocultural, and moral realms. Superstars format itself was acceptable to all but the most radical Islamist interpretations of social behavior since candidates sang on a stage facing a jury from a relatively significant distance, and there was little interaction or physical contact between men and women. This was not the case with other Arab reality television programs such as Al-Rais or Star Academy, where stage proxemics emerged as a key reason for outrage in some quarters of the Arab public. The controversies associated with Big Brother and Star Academy reveal that these debates are better understood as involving a complex tug-of-war between different contenders rather than a simple binary opposition between morally controversial forms of popular culture and morally strict speakers in the name of Islam.


It is a well-rehearsed clich that Islam pervades the Arab sociocultural and political fabrics. The validity of this proposition suffers from periodic episodes of overstretch when some observers of things Arab rely on Islam as an allencompassing determinant of social relations in the Arab world, to the detriment of other factors whose relevance may be obscured by religious determinism. The following episode points to the continued emergence of neoliberal speech in the Arab public sphere, and that even when arguments that claim a basis in Islam win, they are increasingly contested. When the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) interrupted the shooting and broadcasting of Al Rais only a week after it began in Bahrain in February 2004, virtually all reports on the incident in the press creditedor blamed Islamic activists. While a demonstration by Islamists against the show did occur, the Al Rais episode was not a simple chain of cause and effect that press renditions reflected. Rather, as we shall discuss shortly, it was a complex issue that triggered debate in the Bahraini parliament and involved arguments counter to those of the Islamists.10 The upheaval surrounding Al Rais, illustrates that business interests have become powerful enough to contest ostensibly religious arguments in public



debate in countries of the Arabian Gulf. According to press reports, the death of Al Rais was primarily caused by a kissliterally, a kiss of deathbetween Abdel Hakim, a young Saudi man, and Kawthar, a young Tunisian woman. By this account, the live broadcast of a kiss triggered active and vocal objections to the program, including a demonstration in Bahrains capital, Manama, that according to witnesses I interviewed, included a couple of hundred men. According to Islamist leaders, their main criticism was grounded in religious morality. A conservative member of the Bahraini parliament, Sheikh Adel alMawda, said of Al Rais: This program showed an abnormal way of living, which is totally opposed to our thoughts, culture, everything. . . . It is not reality TV at all, especially in our part of the world (MacFarqhar, 2004). This and other similar statements suggest that the claims made on reality television programs that they represent reality are contentious in themselves. The dispute around whether reality television does or does not represent reality suggests that notions of representation, specifically representations of Arab society or Islamic society, are being publicly contested. So far the story seems to follow a familiar script: Islamic cleric opposes popular culture that reflects Western values; in turn, religious traditional society bows to religious edicts. However, the complexity of the Al Rais episode comes to view when we consider that members of the Bahraini parliament rose in defense of the program, and especially when we examine the arguments they used. Defenders of Al Rais publicly argued that the program would boost tourism to Bahrain and therefore contribute to economic growth (Kraidy, 2006). In a small country with dwindling energy reserves whose rulers are betting its future prosperity on its status as a financial hub and the worlds leading center for Islamic finance, arguments couched in the language of economic pragmatism appeal to a section of the elite whose members feel enough selfconfidence to articulate publicly a discourse that contests and offers an alternative to the Islamists. According to the daily Bahrain Times, a special parliamentary committee discussed the impact of Al Rais on Bahraini society and considered ways to protect investments and preserve Bahrains Islamic ethics (The Reality, 2004). The article then quoted the head of the committee, Member of Parliament Ahmed Ibrahim Bahzad, whose words reflect that the debate went beyond an opposition of Islamists to the culture industry:
There are three distinct opinions about Big Brother, and they reflect the vivacity of our society. . . . There are people who reject the program completely; the second section does not show any interest in the issue, while the third group says that the focus should not be on the program but on the participants. . . . There are people who want to cancel the contract with the producing companies, but this is opposed by the businessmen who fear that such a decision would hurt Bahrains reputation and undermine potential investment agreements. (The Reality, 2004)



In the Arab context, references to national reputation arise in the context of government suppression of political dissent or, less frequently, sexual content. It is frequently used against journalists critical of government policies. Invoking the trope of national reputation in reference to Bahrains fitness for investment suggests a shift in Arab public discourse towards neoliberal governance. This is echoed in appeals to government efficiency and responsiveness to the practical needs of citizens. In their opposition to the shutdown of Al Rais, liberal Bahraini politicians countered the Islamists with socioeconomic arguments. Thus another member of Bahrains parliament, Abdullah al Dossary, argued that [T]here are other important issues to be tackled by the deputies. Why all the fuss over a TV show? What happened to the citizens problems such as housing, salary improvement and education? (The Reality, 2004). This attention to the everyday life concerns of the citizenry, with bigger economic arguments in the background, indicate that a purely culturalist, in this case Islamicist, explanation of public debates about the impact of reality television provides us with a partial understanding of an overall picture in which nonreligious forces contend with speakers in the name of Islam. The official explanation that came out of the Middle East Broadcasting Center itself suggests that religion was not the dominant factor in their decision, or at least that MBC management claims other reasons. Even after deciding to cancel Al Rais, MBC argued that the program was more realistic in reflecting the reality of Arab youth than other reality television programs, adding a business explanation to the controversy:
All new products need time to be accepted. In certain cases, they can be wrongly interpreted. . . . By this sacrifice, MBC does not want to risk, through its programs and broadcasting, being accused of harming Arab traditions and values, because it considers the channel one for the Arab family. (The Reality, 2004)

This corporate statement reflects the importance of business considerations in MBCs decision to shut down the program. Its family channel brand risks losing its luster if it keeps a program on the air that a probably small but nonetheless vocal minority considered contrary to family values. The mention of sacrifice finds its explanation in the official MBC statement declaring a loss of $6 million U.S. because of the shutdown of Al Rais, an enormous amount by regional standards, although the real figure is hard to know. The invocation of Arab traditions and values is itself significant in that Islam as such is not mentioned in the statement, in spite of the fact that opposition to the program was mainly under the banner of its putative violation of Islamic values. One aspect of the Al Rais episode is grounded in one Islamic interpretation of gender relations, which considers haram, or prohibited, the unsuper-



vised social mixing of men and women unmarried to each other, or ikhtilat. Objections to the program, even though they were not always explicitly articulated as such, focused on the fact that unmarried men and women lived together in one house, creating potential for flirting, physical contact, and even sexual intercourse that are considered illicit in some of the stricter interpretations of Islamic texts. Bahrain being part of the more socially and religiously conservative Gulf countries, although less conservative than Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, it is not surprising that controversy erupted there over Al Rais. As we will see shortly, producers could get away with shooting a similar show in Lebanon, where Star Academy was soon to become a regionally unprecedented popular and commercial success story. As an American reporter quipped,
Neither of the first two shows [al-Hawa Sawa and Star Academy] generated quite the horror of Big Brother, in part because they were broadcast from Lebanon, which much of the Arab world considers depraved anyway. Lebanons satellite networks already have a reputation for showing female employees on air with minimal wardrobes. (MacFarqhar, 2004)

The remaining section of this chapter discusses how criticism of interactions between men and women was at the center of the controversy surrounding Star Academy.


If Superstar showed popular culture as a site of resurgent nationalisms and inter-Arab rivalries, and if Al Rais exposes the vulnerability of the Arab satellite television industry, Star Academy demonstrates that a television program can become a highly controversial public event that not only survives its numerous critics but at the same time saturates pan-Arab public discourse, becoming a full-fledged media event. The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporations Star Academy is the Arabic version of an original format owned by the Dutch format house Endemol, which became familiar to some Lebanese viewers through the 2002 French version by the French broadcaster TF1. Contestants in the first installment of Star Academy (20032004), or, as they were official called, the students, hailed from Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries. The students took lessons in oral interpretation, dancing, singing, music, fashion, fair styling, and makeup. Every week, the teachers designated two nominees (the English word was used), and after a live Friday night show performed by the students, the audience was asked to vote for the nominee whom they wanted to remain on the show. The other nominee was in



effect voted out of the Academy, the four-story building near LBC headquarters in Adma, Lebanon. LBC management devoted regionally unprecedented resources for the program, starting with a vast pan-Arab recruitment campaign that whittled 3,000 applicants to 16 finalists, and a prominent programming schedule including a nightly one-hour access show, a weekly twohour Friday prime, and a 24-hour satellite channel airing feeds from the 60 cameras in the Academy building. Several LBC executives, including the networks general manager, Pierre al-Daher, indicated that Star Academy was considered their flagship program and given marketing, promotion, production, and programming resources commensurate with this status.11 Star Academy was an instant hit. Arabs young and old, men and women, rich and poor, were enthralled for 18 weeks between December 2003 and April 2004.12 During daily access shows, the streets of Beirut, Riyadh, and Rabat emptied out, and restaurant owners complained that Star Academy was killing their business during the lucrative dinner hours. The fever reached its highest pitch on Friday night during prime time when the students performed for the public, including the two nominees, one of whom would be voted out at the end of the broadcast. Arab youth created fan sites on the Internet, including discussion boards where writers declared their undying love to Bruno, the Lebanese contestant, and Sophia, the Moroccan participant, who for a while emerged as the favorite heartthrob and sex symbol, respectively. Rumors spread of a love affair between Sophia and Bashar from Kuwait. The highly popular satellite television music channels such as Rotana, Saudiowned and Lebanon-based, and Egyptian-owned and based Melody Hits, displayed a flow of love and hate messages sent via mobile phone text messages that appeared on moving tickers at the bottom of the television screen. Womens daytime talk shows and mens public affairs programs discussed the phenomenon. According to market research companies, Star Academy grabbed 80 percent of the 15 to 25 audience in Lebanon and after a few weeks captured record audiences in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.13 Star Academy was as controversial as it was popular. Clerics and politicians from Morocco to Iraq condemned it; electronic diatribes swirled against it in cyberspace. In the wake of the transformation of Bashar al-Shatti, a Kuwaiti contestant and penultimate finalist into a pan-Arab heartthrob, and of a concert in Kuwait by Star Academy finalists, the dean of the School of Islamic Law and Sharia at Kuwait University issued a religious opinion (fatwa) condemning it, the Kuwaiti parliament discussed legislation to protect morality from Star Academy, and Islamist members of the parliament grilled the minister of information and pressured him to resign for allowing the broadcasts. A Saudi columnist in the establishment daily Al-Riyadh called Star Academy a whorehouse, using epithets rarely printed in the Saudi press, while an audio cassette tape, titled The Academy of the Devil and carrying fiery sermons, was distributed by religious activists in Saudi Arabia (Al-Dakhil, 2005). Religious lead-



ers were inundated with requests for rulings on whether it was haram or halal to watch and participate in the show. A Sunni cleric from Lebanon claimed that the devil was present in the show. In what amounted to a rare dissenting youth voice in a cyberspace where young people were overwhelmingly enamored with the show, an Islamist youth group set up a website called As mentioned earlier, a political party in Jordan closed to the Muslim Brotherhood issued an official statement against reality TV, accusing it of promoting American interests and facilitating cultural globalization. Perhaps more important, the venerable and official Permanent Committee for Scientific Research and the Issuing of Fatwas in Saudi Arabia issued a lengthy fatwa, replete with citations from the Koran and Hadith, prohibiting watching, discussing, voting in, or participating in Star Academy. The controversy surrounding Star Academy persisted and evolved into a highly public debate about a variety of hot-button issues having to do with modernity and tradition, social change, and cultural identity. The program was not banned and continued, perhaps predictably, to grow in popularity. Talk shows invited clerics, psychologists, and media professionals to debate the shows popularity and impact. The pages of the pan-Arab press echoed with praise or condemnation or with comparisons between voting procedures in Star Academy and governance and elections in Arab countries. The Internet buzzed with discussion boards. During the second two months of the first Star Academy (March and April 2004) Star Academy was invoked on television talk shows and in newspaper columns, as a code word for contentious issues such as Arab-Western relations, the status of women and youth, and elections. In effect, Star Academy was appropriated as what I call an idiom of contention, with important implications for the overlap between popular culture and politics discussed below.


The implications of transnational Arab reality television for political participation and democratization rest to a large extent in the way that reality television and the controversies surrounding it draw out into the public sphere competing arguments about politics, economics, culture, religion, and the myriad interconnections among the four. In that respect, reality television activates processes of public contention at the regional, pan-Arab level that nonetheless take distinct shapes in the various national spheres in which they unfold. As we have already seen, Superstar activated patriotic feelings that were manifest in nationalistic rivalries. The debate over Al Rais in Bahrain took the shape of a struggle between Islamic interpretations of the good society and business considerations of national reputation. The controversy over Star Academy, while taking a pan-Arab character, was also articulated to issues



that were specific to individual countries. Thus the impassioned debate about Star Academy 1 in Kuwait cannot be disassociated from the struggle for womens political rights that was at a high pitch when a Kuwaiti contestant in Star Academy was rising to the finale. Opponents to Star Academy and to Kuwait womens political rights were the same: the Islamists led by MP Walid al-Tabtabai. In both cases Islamists lost, with Kuwaiti women winning political rights in 2005, and Star Academy broadcasts continuing into Kuwait (Kraidy, 2007). In Lebanon, even on the screen of LBC itself, discussions about the role of the media (educational or commercial?), the role of media policy (dirigiste or laissez-faire?), and the role of parents (to prohibit their children from watching Star Academy or to watch it with them?) were all conducted in the context of the Star Academy controversy. Public contention involves making public claims over courses of collective action, articulated to putative social values in order to change or maintain the status quo. Public contention is therefore a politically invested rhetorical space. Because of its resounding success with Arab audiences, reality television is a magnet for contentious politics, drawing contenders with conflicting ideologies and asymmetrical symbolic resources, who use the introduction of reality television and the debate surrounding it in order to advance their agendas by attempting to redraw the boundaries of Arab public discourse. To the extent that it opens up space for increased public participation in important debates, reality television can be said to contribute to the democratization of Arab societies. The redefinition of national reputation, from a notion connoting political unity and the absence of dissent to one meaning readiness for foreign investment, suggests that boundaries are being redrawn. But whether reality television, ostensibly a harbinger of modern political values and behaviors such as voting and public debate, affects social change that ultimately contributes to the democratization of Arab politics is an issue that can only be determined with the benefit of historical hindsight and sustained empirical research. At the moment, however, some political implications of Arab reality television can be discerned in the programs discussed in this article. Star Academy is, in many ways, a political program. It is political first in the sense advanced by the alternative future explanation of the shows popularity, in that it stages an apparently fair competition whose participants count on their personal initiative, creativity, and skills, and whose winners are determined by a popular vote, which is discordant with the reality of most young Arabs who are prevented from expressing their opinions, who get their jobs because of connections and rarely because of competence, and where power is wielded arbitrarily by unelected rulers and officials. In that sense, according to this perspective, reality television is the harbinger of an alternative future. The theme song of the program, Jayee al Hagiga (Truth is on the way), an Arabic version of Let the Sunshine In, from the soundtrack of the movie Hair, is directly political, both in its lyrics, which decry a situation of



falsity that the forthcoming truth will expose, and visuals expressed in the music video. The music video, directed by leading Lebanese director Nadine Labaki and produced by Lebanese production house Talkies under the EMI label, appears to confirm the songs political tenor. Shot with a blue filter, the video features the Star Academy contestants marching through streets, waving the flags of their respective countries: the Lebanese flag with the cedar between two red bands, the Tunisian with its white crescent and star on red background, the Saudi with its white sword and Islamic script on green background. The video clearly connotes a youth political protest march, brandishing their fists, waving flags, expressing discontent with their situation, and invoking an alternative reality dominated by truth, warmth, and light. Had Star Academy not achieved enormous popularity, its content would not have articulated Arab social, political, and economic reality. Its huge following, however, made it profoundly political. Major events can inject an extra dose of politics into reality television programs. When a car bomb killed Lebanons ex-prime minister Rafiq alHariri in Beirut on February 14, 2005, both Superstar and Star Academy became overtly political. The former stopped regular broadcasts and auditions for the next years installment, and participants in several installments of the show released what became known as patriotic songs, broadcast around the clock by Future Television as the Hariri-owned channel was transformed into a full-time media machine to glorify the martyr, help his son Saad Eddins coalition to win a majority of Lebanese parliamentary seats in the 2005 legislative elections, and maintain public pressure to get to the Truth about the assassination of its founding owner. The 20042005 season featuring Star Academy 2 indicates that the shows producers have been strategically drawing on the political event dominating the Arab scene. When Hariri was assassinated by a bomb on February 14, 2005, Roula Saad, director of promotion and marketing at LBC who doubles as the director of the Academy, curtly announced, Mr. Hariri is dead. Lebanon is mourning, the brevity ostensibly to allow the students to stay focused on the competition. After a hiatus of ten days of mourning, LBC resumed Star Academy with a prime on Friday January 25, 2005, which turned into a nationalistic fest with patriotic songs performed by participants in Star Academy 1 and 2 and ended with the voting out of the Syrian contestant Joey. Several newspapers commented on the political connotations of that prime, in a context where Syria is held responsible for Hariris death, a suspicion that was subsequently formalized in the report issued in October 2005 by a United Nations investigative team headed by German judge Detlev Mehlis. Star Academy producers also integrated a special tribute to Kuwaits national day, perhaps in a bid to endear Star Academy to the Kuwaiti public sphere, which witnessed strong opposition to Star Academys first season in 20032004.




The various television programs discussed in this chapter and public discourse around them suggests that Star Academy and its competitors are having an impact on Arab public discourse and politics. But whether these overlaps between popular culture and politics justify the argument that reality television is the best hope for democracy in the Arab world remains to be established (MacKenzie, 2004). The empirical investigation of the links between reality television and democracy requires a strict operational definition of democracy that fall outside of the scope of this chapter. It is an issue in need of further research with the combined benefits of empirical depth and historical distance. In the meantime, we can conclude this chapter with a few observations that can be used as guidelines or at least as discussion points as research on this topic advances. First, a conceptual distinction must be made between democracy of participation and democracy of governance. The former is a prerequisite to the latter but not a substitute. Reality television activates the former, but it is so far doubtful that it will lead to the latter. Reality television can be said to contribute to democratization if we adopt a low-threshold definition of democratization. Even in the case of the demonstrations that followed the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri and forced the resignation of then Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karami, some social uses of technology compelled by reality television (using mobile phones for mobilizing and voting, etc.) played a role but how decisive of a role is something that remains to be explored. That viewers learn to use their mobile phones to vote and even forge alliances is potentially significant, but many other conditions, including functioning institutions, accountability mechanisms, and so on, some with nothing to do with television, have to be fulfilled before this leads to sustainable change that expands the avenues of inclusion and participation in political processes. That viewers use their mobile phones to vote for their favorite Superstar contestant does not necessarily turn them into activists for democratic participation and governance. Second, to the extent that voting via mobile phones is a major source of profit for both mobile phone providers and television channels, reality television poses a flagrant conflict between economic and political interests. Even though telecommunications and television executives are prohibited by non-disclosure agreements from revealing the number of calls made during reality television voting, it is well known in both industries that a relatively small number of voters are behind a relatively large volume of votes.14 Those with high incomes can vote a theoretically infinite number of times, which means that the one-person, one-vote principle at the heart of democratic practice is trampled over and that wealthy people have more voting power than others. This could skew results of all Arab reality shows in favor of the wealthy Gulf countries, especially that, as explained earlier, a nationalistic streak is evident in voting patters.



Third, Arab media are controlled by the same business-political elite, whose interest in profit is inversely proportional to its interest in political change that would strip it from some of the privileges it would not have were Arab countries to develop more transparent governance procedures. It is unlikely that the son-in-law of the Saudi king would allow the television network he owns to proceed with shows that contribute, even rhetorically and no matter how indirectly, to undermine the power structure in Saudi Arabia, just as it is improbable that the owners of a Lebanese television channel would allow expression of political dissent that may end up stripping some of the privileges that the business elite received from its patronage of the political class. Fourth, out of the three programs discussed in this chapter, the two that survived controversy were produced in and broadcast from Lebanon, probably the most liberal and Western-oriented of all Arab countries. Concepts and language from reality television were present in the demonstrations following the assassination of al-Hariri, which did lead to the resignation of a sitting prime minister (Omar Karami), a rare occurrence in Arab politics. However, had Hariri been a regular Arab politician, without a global business empire and personal friendships with heads of state, and/or had the United States and France not decided to collaborate on passing UN 1559 in the Security Council, would the demonstrations have occurred or lasted as long as they did last? Also, the extent to which these events will have an enduring impact on Lebanese politics and whether similar events could occur in other Arab countries are issues that are yet to be explored. The political slogans of political activists in the Arab world reflect a media-savvy generation mindful of the advantages of encapsulating a political agenda in one word: kifaya, or enough, for political activists attempting to end Moubaraks long reign; Al-An, or now, for Kuwaiti women unwilling to wait longer to obtain their political rights, or Al-Hakika, the Truth, for Lebanese demonstrators pressing for the truth about the perpetrators of the bombing that ended Hariris life. The laconic style of these political campaigns does reflect, to some extent, the concise vocabulary of reality television (nominee, prime, etc.). It also is compatible with news media routines based on the visual snapshot and the sound bite. Finally, in an age where Arabs are subjected to a combination of American plans to reshape the Middle East and the 24-hour news cycle, activists understand and exploit the fact that a television camera can protect them, at least temporarily, from harassment by the mukhabarat and assorted state apparatuses. However, more research is needed to understand the scope, depth, and impact of these new information dynamics. Finally, analysts of the putative political implications of Arab reality television may have a lesson to learn from the experience of media scholars, who went through a period characterized by excessive optimism in the ability of viewers to empower themselves by subverting media messages, now



eschew the excesses of active audience theory (Murphy & Kraidy, 2003). Television viewers, Internet surfers, and mobile phone users, prodded by reality television, participate in television shows and express their opinions on the tickers of television screens and on fan sites and discussion groups. They are indeed active and creative in how they conduct these activities, but whether this leads to a significant and sustainable opening up at the political level and whether participation in reality shows leads to long-term civic or political participation that in turn leads to systemic and sustainable changes in Arab governance remains to be seen.

NOTES 1. The boundaries of the reality television genre are notoriously porous. In this chapter, reality television refers to programs that have defined themselves as such, which applies more to Star Academy and Al Rais than to Superstar. However, the latter was included in discussions of reality television in Arab public discourse, and therefore in this study. 2. Because of space considerations, it is impossible to include verbatim material from the interviews and detailed textual analyses in this chapter, which will have to await the book-length treatment. 3. The working title is Screens of Contention: Reality TV and Arab Politics. 4. Tash ma Tash is produced privately for Saudi TV, but was broadcast by MBC during the 2005 Ramadan season. Other controversial Ramadan programs include AlHawr Al-Ayn, a Syrian dramatic series broaching the phenomenon of terrorism in Arab societies, also broadcast by MBC, which generated heated debate from the mainstream Saudi press to radical Islamist internet fora. 5. Competing visions of the good society include an Islamist order based on the life of the salaf, or ancestors from the early days of Islam, and the freedom to make money for media corporations. 6. The Arabic name adds another layer to the Orwellian connotation of the name Big Brother, since Al Rais means president or leader in Arabic, and has the same root with the word ras, Arabic for head. 7. Made possible by satellite technology, this regionalization is driven by economic calculations. In news, regionalization has created an anywhere but here trend whereby satellite television channels tend to criticize all governments, politicians, and so on, except those from the country in which they are based. It is well known, for example, that Al-Jazeeras editorial line, which is critical of Arab governments, rarely raises questions about Qatari affairs, especially government performance. However, Al-Jazeeras relentless criticism of Saudi Arabias rulers creates a kind of asymmetrical interdependence between Qatar and Saudi Arabia by giving more influence to the former. In that context, the creation of Al-Arabiya by the Saudis aims at restoring the asymmetry to its fullness between Qatar and Saudi Arabia by



undermining Al-Jazeeras influence. For a detailed discussion of these issues, see Kraidy & Khalil (2007). 8. The logistical complexities inherent in reality television programs has led to the rise of the position of executive producer in Arab television to supervise all the story producers and other producers whose task focuses on a single aspect of a reality show. For this insight I am indebted to Joe Khalil, who was recently creative director for a reality television program at MBC in Dubai. 9. The discussion will refer mostly to the first installment of Superstar in 2003, later dubbed Superstar 1 in light of newer seasons of the program. When subsequent installments are discussed, they are referred to as Superstar 2 or Superstar 3. Simon Cowell is the acerbic leader of the panel of judges in American Idol, the U.S. version of the same program. 10. MBC stafffrom management to the producers and directors involved in Al Raiswere reluctant to discuss the issue during personal interviews I conducted in Dubai in 2004 and 2005. However, information gleaned in fieldwork leads me to believe that there were factors internal to MBC that contributed to the controversy, to be discussed in the book-length treatment. Other factors to be explored in the larger study could include ever-present tensions between the majority Shiis and ruling Sunnis in Bahrain. 11. In addition to LBC boss Pierre al-Daher, whom I interviewed on July 5, 2005 and August 21, 2005, and Roula Saad, director of promotion (5 July 2005), these include Sebouh Alavanthian ( July 5, 2005), director of the programming department, and Ronny Jazzar, president of Star Wave, an LBC affiliated production and promotion house (mid-July 2005). 12. While the discussion moves between Star Academy 1 (20032004) and Star Academy 2 (20042005), the first installment was a greater pan-Arab media event, but the latter was more explicitly politicized in the wake of Hariris assassination. 13. Personal interviews I conducted with audience researchers at IPSOS-STAT OMD and PARC in Dubai and Beirut, June 2004 and June 2005, confirm what Sebouh Alavanthian, Director of the programming department at LBC, claimed: Star Academy was successful with all demographic segments, although it particularly drew young viewers. 14. The overwhelming majority of text messages come from countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council, mostly from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, which suggests a positive link between income levels and volume of text messages.

REFERENCES Abou Nasr, M. (2004, February 4). Who wants to be a superstar? 12,000 do, Daily Star. Abu-Lughod, L. (2005). Dramas of nationhood: The politics of television in Egypt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.



Al-Dakhil, M. M. (2005). Destructive academy is harmful to the Family. al-Riyadh, 27 February. Alterman, J. (1998). New media, new politics? Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Arab idol a battle of nations, Beirut, Associated Press, 18 August 2003 Gabler, N. (1998). Life the movie: How entertainment conquered everyday life. New York: Knopf. Garca-Canclini, N. (2001). Consumers and citizens: Globalization and multicultural conflicts. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Habeas, A. (2004). Palestinian singing finalist tunes into nationalism, Associated Press/Boston Globe, 23 August. Idol a battle of nations, Beirut, Associated Press, 18 August 2003. Kraidy, M. M. (2002). Arab satellite television between globalization and regionalization. Global Media Journal, 1, 1. Retrieved from cca/gmj/new_page_1.htm. Kraidy, M. M. (2005). Hybridity, or the cultural logic of globalization. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Kraidy, M. M. (2006). Reality television and politics in the Arab world (Preliminary observations), Transnational Broadcasting Studies [peer-reviewed paper edition] 2 (1), 728, Retrieved from Kraidy, M. M. (2007). Idioms of contention: Star Academy in Lebanon and Kuwait. In N. Sakr (Ed.), Arab media and political renewal: Community, legitimacy and public life (pp. 4455), London, UK: I. B. Tauris. Kraidy, M. M., & Khalil, J. F. (2007). The Middle East: Transnational Arab television. In L. Artz and Y. Kamalipour (Eds.) The media globe: Trends in international mass media (pp. 7998). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. MacFarqhar, N. (2004). A kiss is not just a kiss to an angry Arab TV audience. The New York Times, 5 March. MacKenzie, T. (2004). The best hope for democracy in the Arab world: A crooning TV idol? Transnational Broadcasting Studies (13), Retrieved from http:www. Murphy, P., & Kraidy, M. M. (2003). Global media studies: Ethnographic perspectives. London: Routledge. Pan Arab song contest fuels passions in Jordan, 17 August 2003, Jordan Times. Rajagopal, A. (2001). Politics after Television: Hindu nationalism and the reshaping of the public in India. New York: Cambridge University Press. The reality of Reality TV in the Middle East. Retrieved March 7, 2004 from www. Sakr, M. (2000). Satellite realms: Transnational television, globalization and the Middle East. London: I.B. Tauris. Street, J. (1997). Politics and popular culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.


Democracy Sponsored by Nafta?

Mexican Television in the Free Trade Era


The NAFTA-as-a-democratizing-instrument argument was sweeping and unequivocal. It was not that NAFTA might not have such effects; it was the certainty with which this was depicted. Mazza, 2001, p. 100 The Mexican experience strongly suggests that economic liberalization contributed to media opening, which in turn undermined Mexicos one-party regime. Lawson, 2002, p. 10

HESE STATEMENTS RAISE questions at the heart of this books theme: how are political and economic changes linked in globalization processes, and what roles do national and international media play in advancing those changes? Mazza articulates a widely held belief among advocates of neoliberal economic reform that lower trade barriers would lead directly to broader popular participation, greater transparency, and increased government accountability in the Mexican political system. Transparency and accountability, attributes communicated through media, are crucial to attracting and retaining direct foreign investment. This suggests relationships among economic liberalization, democratization, and mass communication processes, but the



relationships tend to fluctuate. There is little disagreement that Mexican politics has changed since the 1980s, yet interpretations vary concerning the origin, directions, and depth of change, as well as the roles economic reform and media transformations have played therein. Lawsons statement implies that Mexican mass media, also in flux, has accelerated economic and political changes in the country since the 1980s. It is a compelling argument that merits closer examination. This chapter explores the influence of a specific medium, television, on the complex process of democratization in Mexico. It considers the inverse as well: how transformations in Mexican society, especially politics, have altered television. Television warrants our attention because two-thirds to three-quarters of Mexicans rely on it as their principal source of political information (Lawson, 2002, p. 95). In order to capture the multifaceted nature of the substantial interaction between TV and social change, the chapter emphasizes specific historical developments as well as more general influences deriving from globalization and technological change. It must be noted from the outset, however, that over the longer term what first appeared as stunning change was tempered by stubborn challenges. This is reflected in political parties difficulties in gaining consensus and passing reforms, continued security problems from narcotrafficking and other crime, and continued threats to journalists who dare to investigate and report on corruption. Thus, while it is informative to consider NAFTAs impact in light of neoliberal economic reform, globalization, and technological development, we must avoid the temptation to proclaim sweeping change.


As in many societies, Mexicos media act as crucial conduits between a diverse public and powerful groups, including the government, political interests, and commercial interests. The persuasive power of mass media is employed to influence public opinion (and promote consumption), while potent communication among powerful groups typically passes through closed back channels. These important relationships are depicted in Figure 10.1. From 1985 to 2000, the period under scrutiny here, social forces combined to expose for public consumption more of the back-channel relations and communication (represented as dashed lines in the upper portion of Figure 10.1) that had developed and maintained single-party rule in Mexico for most of the 20th century and that the Mexican public as well as outside observers perceived as the core challenges facing Mexican society: crime, corruption, and narcotrafficking. Thus, as the public learned more, it demanded even greater transparency and accountability in the content of media communications (indicated by the solid lines in Figure 10.1).




back channel back channel media

back channel

Political Interests

Commerical Interests

media The Public


FIGURE 10.1 Mass-mediated and Back-Channel Communication among Key Interests and the Public

Two factors complicate our analysis of the media functions depicted in Figure 10.1. First, Mexican media industries themselves experienced significant change in this period of robust economic liberalization and movements toward the democratization of Mexican politics. When the creators and conduits of communication themselves are in flux, it becomes difficult to pin down exactly how they mediate among forces in society. Second, the pace and breadth of change in Mexican society from 1985 to 2000 challenge our understanding the directions and degrees of influence along the communication conduits between interests at the nodes; both public and back-channel conduits have fluctuated. If we consider the vertical axis in Figure 10.1, for example, the public may exert ample influence on the government in the wake of an armed conflict such as the Zapatista uprising in 1994 or an economic crisis such as the 199495 peso devaluation, but typically the stronger influence is in the other direction, from the government to the public. Likewise, increased transparency in Mexican business has altered the character of backchannel communications with the government and political interests, but certainly not eliminated them. The passage of time and further research will help elucidate the character and consequences of communication processes in Mexicos continuing, multifaceted change. In the meantime, this chapter identifies and discusses key developments in media opening and democratization in an epoch that historians will undoubtedly consider transformative for modern Mexico.



Media/Government Relations Studies of political communication in Mexico during the seven-decade rule of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI, in power 19292000) have concurred that most news outlets served largely as government mouthpieces, and nonnews media conformed with government preferences. Through a variety of corrupt and coercive means the ruling party was able to influence the content of all but the most stalwart independent media.1 The governments direct control of broadcast concessions made over-the-air content easier to influence than print. Mahan (1985) and Sinclair (1986) document how the Televisa conglomerate served government interests in exchange for a virtual monopoly first over commercial radio, then from the 1950s on over television broadcasting. The Mexico City earthquake of 1985 became a seminal event by pointing up inadequacies in the PRI-dominated government (local as well as federal) and a national press that, with few exceptions, stumbled in reporting the crisis, failed to adequately cover the many civic groups that stepped into the void left by official inaction, and was slow to investigate and report evidence that corruption had increased the loss of life due to substandard building construction. The nexus between the state and the press began to erode as oppositional discourse that criticized the media coalesced. As will be explored in greater detail below, irregularities and charges of electoral fraud during the 1988 election that brought President Carlos Salinas de Gortari to power deepened public suspicion of the PRI and the local and national media that served its interests. Calls for media reform became more strident. The ascendancy of Salinas de Gortari also put Mexico on a fast track toward economic liberalization which culminated in Mexicos entering the North American Free Trade Agreement on January 1, 1994. The day that was supposed to mark Mexicos transition toward developed-nation status instead signaled its fractiousness as revolutionaries in the southern state of Chiapas began an insurgency highlighting the plight of Mexicos poor and dispossessed. It was an ominous start to a troubled year that included high-profile assassinations of Jos Francisco Ruiz-Massieu, president of the PRI party, and Lus Donaldo Colosio, its candidate for president, contentious elections, and a severe devaluation of the peso culminating in economic crisis. As public demands for information and accountability mountedand the governments influence over news coverage diminished the media increased the aggressiveness and incisiveness of its reporting. As Lawson (2002) points out, the print media moved faster than radio, which also outpaced television in adopting a more critical orientation. Televisions slower change was due in part to the historic cooperation between Televisa and the PRI.




Notwithstanding its relative sluggishness in adapting to Mexicos rapidly changing social conditions in the late 20th century, television was, and remains, Mexicos most influential news medium. A survey conducted in the mid 1990s included this question, Through which medium do you principally receive your information about politics? and yielded the results reported in Table 10.1. Note that broadcast media are more heavily used by the general population than by college-educated Mexicans and that education has a strong influence over print media use. Internet was in its infancy as a public communication medium in the mid 1990s and remains largely inaccessible to most people below the middle class. A survey conducted in 2001 by Mexicos National Institute of Statistics, Geography, and Data Processing (INEGI by its Spanish acronym) affirmed televisions continued dominance as the medium of choice for Mexicans (Sarmiento, 2005). Televisa, the dominant player in broadcast television since the 1950s, confronted sustained competition for the first time and altered its business practices in the face of new political realities, technological innovations, and a more volatile business environment under the influences of globalization. Televisas president, Emilio Azcrraga Milmo, who steadily expanded the conglomerate from 1973 until his death in 1997, openly supported the PRI as its self-proclaimed foot soldier (Fernndez & Paxman, 2000). During the 1988 elections Azcrraga set a high standard for financial support of candidate Salinas de Gortari among Mexican businessmen (Preston & Dillon, 2004). Such close association with the PRI soon became a greater liability than strength as political opposition spread, and the party fell into turmoil. Public criticism of how Televisa covered the 1988 elections was manifest in calls for electoral reform including the apportionment of broadcast time among the political parties (discussed below). In 1988 Televisa devoted four

TABLE 10.1 Mexicans Media Use for Political Information, Mid-1990s2

Medium Print Radio Television All Other/None Total

Overall (%) 10.1 16.7 58.6 6.2 8.4 100

College educated (%) 28.1 10.5 45.3 15.4 0.7 100



times more coverage to the PRI than opposition parties in 1988 (Belejack, 1997), and the networks longtime nightly newscast anchor, Jacobo Zabludovsky, went so far as to display an image of Benito Mussolini while reporting on the conservative National Action Party (PAN) candidate Manuel Clothier. Images of Fidel Castro, Salvador Allende, and Nikita Krushchev appeared on screen as Zabludovsky discussed Cuauhtmoc Crdenas, candidate for the leftist PRD, Revolutionary Democratic Party (Lawson, 2002, p. 53). Public concerns about Zabludovskys progovernment reporting were reflected in a poster some Mexican households displayed (Figure 10.2). Public pressure to distance itself from the PRI and control Zabludovsky drew support from a source the network would be compelled to respond to market competition. The text reads: In this house we love the truththerefore we DO NOT watch 24 Horas. The image is of Jacobo Zabludovsky, anchor of 24 Horas. Reproduced from Amrica Economa No. 88 (octubre de 1994), p. 42. As part of its effort to streamline the federal government and raise capital, the Salinas de Gortari administration announced it would privatize the state-controlled television network Imevisin. The government had acquired the network in the 1970s in an effort to compete with Televisa, but it languished thereafter due to mediocre programming, anemic ratings, and an inflated payroll. The bidding and selection processes garnered significant press coverage not only in Mexico but internationally as well. The New York Times characterized the privatization as the most politically sensitive deal in President Carlos Salinas de Gortaris campaign to scale back the economic role of

FIGURE 10.2 Anti-Televisa Poster, Mid-1990s



the state (Golden, 1993). To the surprise of most observers, the network was awarded to an investor group that offered $641 milliona figure 30 percent higher than the next closest bid. The groups leader, Ricardo Salinas Pliego, also directs a family business of successful retail stores and has since ventured into wireless telephony. After winning the network in 1993, Salinas Pliego found himself in the difficult position of simultaneously currying favor with an increasingly unpopular administration that still held ample influence over the media and trying to differentiate his company from Televisa, which, as we have seen, had a long, close association with PRI governments yet was feeling pressure to disengage and reconnect with its audience. Salinas Pliego first professed his admiration for President Salinas de Gortari (no relation), then began efforts to win over disgruntled Televisa viewers (Ortega Pizarro, 1993). This required distancing the networkrenamed Televisin Aztecafrom the ruling party, a process facilitated by the implication of some PRI leaders in the aforementioned murders of (PRI) politicians Donaldo Colosio and Francisco Ruiz-Massieu, as well as political and economic scandals following the peso devaluations of 199495. One competitive strategy was to contrast the look and feel of Aztecas nightly newscast Hechos with that of Televisas 24 Horas. Aztecas news anchor Javier Alatorre was in his mid thirties at the time and read the news with flashes of irony and raised eyebrowsa sharp contrast with sixty-nine-year-old Jacobo Zabludovsky (Figure 10.2), whose demeanor and delivery had changed little since the 1960s. The compelling, though often tragic, content of Mexican news in the mid-1990s provided ammunition for the competition between Televisa and Televisin Azteca, but television newscasts were not the only battlefront. Tabloid publications depicting violent criminal acts have long been a mainstay of Mexican print media; they were adapted for television and quickly became an arena for one-upmanship between the networks. The escalation of televised brutality alarmed some government agencies and civic groups, which eventually convinced both networks to rein themselves in. Hallin (2000) explains that in spite of the complaints, some elements of tabloid programs such as Ciudad Desnuda (Naked city, Televisin Azteca) and Fuera de la Ley (Outside the law, Televisa) crept into the networks mainstream news programs:
Much of the look and feel of the tabloid shows has been imported into the most prestigious broadcasts: breathless headlines, sound effects, dramatizing narrative devices, reconstructions, slow-motion video, and moralistic condemnations of criminal suspects by journalistsalthough format shifts are frequent as the two networks try to establish a new form of journalism and a new relationship with their audience. (p. 272)

Hallin notes a significant shift from state-oriented reporting to marketdriven journalism (p. 274) within a short period of time and emphasizes the



complex challenges this presents for democracy. As other chapters in this volume demonstrate, it is a dynamic that other societies have experienced as their media have deregulated and/or privatized under neoliberal initiatives. A formidable challenge to researchers in communication, political science, and related fields is to ferret out which characteristics are common across societies and which are unique to particular national and subnational contexts. Some entertainment programming also adjusted in content and audience appeal during the mid-1990s as Televisin Azteca sought to challenge Televisas strong position in telenovela (soap opera) production. The first few telenovelas aired by Azteca adapted alternative formats from non-Mexican competitors in order to contrast with Televisas traditional Cinderella stories.3 Hernndez and McAnany (2001) argue that market competition injected a new realism into telenovelas bringing public light to longstanding issues such as corruption, gender roles, and pressures on traditional Mexican identity deriving from internal and external social forces whose influence accelerated under globalization. For several years telenovelas were electronic looking glasses in which the Mexican audience saw the collective warts it knew existed yet seldom discussed publicly and where it encountered powerful metaphors for the rapid transformations that were playing out in daily life. In short order, however, the pressures of competing in offshore markets constrained Televisin Aztecas production of domestically oriented programs, and Televisa felt less compelled to counterprogram using similarly compelling themes (Hernndez & McAnany, 2001). This inherent tension in program production between attracting domestic audiences on the one hand and competing in international distributions markets on the other has a policy analogue whereby domestic reforms (whether political, economic, or social) carry transnational implications. The new competition in Mexican television coincided with economic opening and increased efforts to attract foreign investment. Televisa underwent substantial restructuring in 1991 and became a publicly traded company in 1993; thus it initiated accounting and reporting procedures not required of it while privately held. Some analysts have raised questions concerning the extent and veracity of financial disclosures at both networks (Sarmiento, 2005). Televisa suspended its globalization-inspired regional expansion initiatives and sold off assets in response to the 199495 peso devaluation. The company also revised its relationship with advertisers who, through market and technological changes, enjoyed new opportunities to place announcements not only with the rival Azteca network, but also with new radio, pay television, print, and eventually on-line outlets as well (Sinclair, 1999). For its part, Televisin Azteca sought partnerships with the U.S. broadcasters NBC and Telemundo, plus entities based in other countries, to better compete against Televisas vast resources. Although the U.S. partnerships turned out to be of limited value and duration, changes in the industry deepened both net-



works reliance on (credible) ratings, audience research, marketing, and other competitive elements that are likely to remain features of Mexican mass media long into the future. Through a combination of influences, such as entering international partnerships, attracting foreign investment, currying favor with stockholders, and keeping pace with technology, Mexico has moved closer to the international television markets mainstream. In this sense, Mexican television partially accomplished one of the stated goals of the De la Madrid (19821988) and Salinas de Gortari (19881994) administrationsto move Mexican business closer to international, particularly U.S., standards. Such change cuts in multiple directions, however, and the new competition unleashed a tabloid war between Mexicos main television newscasts. Some of the racier reports likely challenged viewers capacity to distinguish news about the governments and ruling elites malfeasance from that of the networks themselves. In mid-1996, the battle for audience share had the networks utilizing Mexicos public airwaves to hurl accusations of corruption at one another. Ricardo Salinas Pliego begrudgingly admitted receiving $29 million U.S. from the Swiss bank accounts of Ral Salinas de Gortari, the brother of the former president, who was serving a twenty-seven-year prison term for orchestrating Francisco Ruiz-Massieus murder. Salinas Pliegos acknowledgment led to immediate speculation that the presidents brother had influenced the Imevisin bid selection process. Not long after Salinas Pliegos disclosure, the brother admitted he had done business with Abraham Zabludovsky, son of Jacobo, who also read the news at Televisa (Preston & Dillon, 2004). The titfor-tat reporting reached such a shrill pitch that President Ernesto Zedillo (19942000) exhorted the networks to stop broadcasting their feud. Having reviewed the broad changes Mexican television experienced during a period of significant social, political, and economic transformation, we now narrow the focus to political communication during election years.


Public irritation with the press following the 1985 earthquake spread beyond central Mexico during the elections of 1988 when Televisa devoted more than 80 percent of its coverage to PRI candidates (recall that TV Azteca was still under government management and anemic). In an analysis of presidential candidate coverage on Zabludovskys 24 Horas program from April 4 to June 24, 1988, Adler (1993, p. 155) found that reports devoted to Carlos Salinas de Gortari occupied 141 minutes and 40 seconds, dwarfing coverage of the PRD candidate Cuauhtmoc Crdenas (8 minutes 51 seconds) and the PANs Manuel Clouthier (4 minutes 9 seconds). Furthermore, the average length of stories was lopsided in favor of Salinas de Gortari at 1 minute 55 seconds over



Crdenas at 55 seconds, and Clouthier at 31 seconds. This inequity prompted Clouthier to organize demonstrations outside Televisas headquarters and call for an advertising boycott of the company (Belejack, 1997). Other newsworthy stories, the assassination of two Crdenas aides just before the election and a controversial delay in reporting the results, were not covered by Televisa, which followed its regular programming schedule (Fromson, 1996). In the presidential race, many believed that the left-wing candidate Cuauhtmoc Crdenas had beaten Carlos Salinas de Gortari of the PRI who officially garnered 50.7 percent of the vote.4 The PRIs share of the (official) presidential vote declined 18 percent from its 1982 level, the conservative PAN party won the governorship of Baja California, and 48 percent of Chamber of Deputies seats went to non-PRI candidates. Despite the bias in television coverage, the 1988 elections opened cracks in the PRIs hegemony that would widen later. Adler (1993) points out that similar fissures appeared in Televisas dominion:
The PRI seemed to have overlooked the fact that a certain degree of media credibility is required for effective persuasion. Televisas uncritical, outspoken support of the PRI and automatic derision of opposition candidates is one example of how televisions credibility was thrown into question during the campaign. (p. 169)

The contentious nature of the 1988 elections led to electoral reforms, which included media. The first nationally televised presidential debates in Mexico occurred three months before the 1994 election between Ernesto Zedillo of the PRI, Diego Fernndez of the PAN, and the PRDs Cuauhtmoc Crdenas. Poir (1999) stresses the debates significance as the first time three major candidates engaged one another directly before a national audience. By most accounts, Fernndez soundly outperformed his competitors. Although Crdenas tepid performance probably lost fewer votes than he and others assumed, at the time it had the positive effect of motivating him to prepare more carefully for the 1997 Mexico City mayoral debates at which he made a stronger showing (Bruhn, 1999). Domnguez (1999) explains that in 1994 the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE by its Spanish acronym) mandated that each party would be allotted one hour on radio on the three Sundays prior to election day, but no partisan propaganda would be allowed on radio and television during the ten days before election day (p. 6). In the final month of the campaign, Televisa provided each of the candidates several 15minute slots to air self-produced campaign videos but did so grudgingly (Fromson, 1996, p. 125). Domnguez asserts that the mass media remained extraordinarily biased in favor of the PRI (p. 6), a conclusion corroborated by Lawson, who reports that the PRI received 50 percent of television coverage, 89 percent of political advertising space, 50 percent of front page newspaper space, and 66 percent of newspaper



photographs (2002, p. 52). Such imbalances in political reporting helped the PRI candidate Ernesto Zedillo win the election with 48.8 percent of the official vote; Diego Fernndez de Cevallos of the PAN registered 25.9 percent and Crdenas of the PRD 16.6 percent (Domnguez, 1999, p. 5). Although the PRI had won yet again, processes of electoral reform and media monitoring by government institutions such as the IFE were underway.5 A number of nongovernmental organizations also kept a close eye on election coverage and political advertising, even garnering some media attention of their own. For example, the public interest group Civic Alliance joined opposition parties in pressuring for media reform, and Citizens Movement for Democracy monitored the Televisa newscast 24 Horas during the first four months of 1994 finding that 91 percent of political stories concerned the PRI presidential candidates Luis Donaldo Colosio and his replacement, Ernesto Zedillo (Fromson, 1996). These efforts demonstrate a budding of civic activity that would blossom during the 2000 and 2006 elections. More substantive reforms of political communication were enacted prior to the midterm elections of 1997, for congressional seats as well as some state and local offices. Thus opposition political parties had their first real opportunity to appeal directly to voters through news coverage as well as televised advertisements. The 1996 Federal Code for Electoral Institutions and Procedures (COFIPE by its Spanish acronym) increased public funding to political parties and expanded opposition parties access to broadcast media. Bruhn (1999) explains:
In 1997, as in 1994, each party got the right to fifteen minutes of television time and fifteen minutes of radio time per month. In 1994, this increased during electoral periods, proportional to [each partys] electoral force, giving the PRI more than half of the additional time. In contrast, in 1997 COFIPE provides 250 hours of radio time and 200 hours of television time for parties during a presidential campaign and half that amount for congressional elections. Parties without representation in the Congress can use up to 4 percent of this time; of the rest, 30 percent must be distributed equally among all parties, while the other 70 percent is distributed proportionally. In addition, the IFE can distribute up to ten thousand promotional spots on radio and four hundred on television, lasting twenty seconds each, until it is that the equivalent of 12 percent of the total public financing for parties. (p. 105; emphasis in the original)

Bruhn points out that although the new law significantly increased opposition parties access to mass media, the PRI still enjoyed advantages in the 1997 election. Even so, the PRI lost its majority in the Chamber of Deputies by winning only 39.1 percent of the vote, whereas the PAN garnered 26.6 percent and the PRD 25.7 percent (Domnguez, 1999, p. 9).



Part of the PRDs success in the legislature as well as state and local elections was attributable to the campaign of Cuauhtmoc Crdenas, the candidate who became the first directly elected mayor of Mexico City in 1997. Local media coverage of the twice-defeated presidential candidate resonated throughout the republic due to the centralized nature of mass communication and political power in Mexico. Crdenas and his advisors learned from prior campaign mistakes and, in a trend that would spread during subsequent elections, employed focus groups and private polls to shape their campaign strategies and messages. The PRD dedicated more than 70 percent of its campaign media spending to radio and television spots (Bruhn, 1999) and was more effective than the PAN in capitalizing on public discontentment with the PRI (Lawson, 1999). Shortly after assuming office, however, Crdenas became the target of sharp criticism from the countrys two main television networks whose political and economic interests aligned more closely with the PRI and PAN. In one high-profile case, newscasts on Televisa and Televisin Azteca immediately blamed the 1999 murder of the television personality Paco Stanley on the Crdenas administrations failure to control crime in Mexico City (Preston & Dillon, 2004). Jacobo Zabludovsky commented that someone should resign; TV Aztecas reporter, Jorge Garralda, was more direct, saying that its Cuauhtmoc Crdenas fault (Levario Turcotte, 1999). Information later surfaced that Stanley was a cocaine abuser indebted to narcotraffickers and may have incurred the wrath of his comic sidekick Mario Bezares whom he had belittled on air only months before the murder (Preston, 1999). The extended coverage and political overtones of Stanleys murder reflected the tabloid tendencies of news competition discussed above and revealed to the public some nefarious back-channel relationships that previously were hidden from view. The 1997 election coincided with a pivotal change in leadership at Televisa. That year Emilio Azcrraga Milmo died leaving his 29year-old son Emilio Azcrraga Jean in control of the network. Azcrraga Jean survived an internal challenge mounted by a cousin and proved a more savvy leader than many had predicted. He further distanced the network from the PRI party while inculcating a more open and responsive environment within Televisa. Lawson (2002) concluded, It was not until 1997, when leadership turnover at Televisa led to more balanced coverage of the major opposition parties, that television began to make a positive contribution to Mexican democratization (p. 94). Much as the PRI party faced internal divisions between its backwardlooking dinosaurs and more progressive members wanting to pull the party in line with contemporary political realities, Televisa confronted conflict between an older generation of executives accustomed to operating through back channels and behind closed doors when the company was privately held and highly secretive, and Azcrraga Jeans enclave, which preferred a more open organizational environment (Mendiola, 1998; Fernndez & Paxman,



2000). There was another important parallel between the political parties increased use of voter studies, polling data, and other election-related research, on the one hand, and greater reliance on audience research (including ratings), marketing data, and financial analysis at the networks, on the other hand. As Mexican firms jockeyed to attract foreign capital and enter transnational partnerships, they depended on information services to gather, analyze, and sell metric data for use in company profiles, stockholder reports, advertising sales negotiations, and the like. Reliance on data increased in both domains between the 1997 and 2000 elections and has continued since. (This development is intimately connected with processes of neoliberal economic reform initiated in the 1980s.) The comparatively fair elections of 1997 paved the way for an astounding outcome in the new millennium. In the 2000 presidential elections the PAN candidate, Vicente Fox, received 42.5 percent of the vote in defeating Francisco Labastida of the PRI (36.1 percent) and, in his third attempt at the presidency, Cuauhtmoc Crdenas (16.6 percent). The PRIs 71year lock on Mexicos presidency was shattered. Pramo (2001) identifies key factors that differentiated the 2000 elections from those we have already reviewed:
(1)the precociousness of the Foxs campaign, (2) the intense use of political marketing including an avalanche of political spots, (3) conflictive internal elections among the PRD candidates . . . , (4) the central role of communication media, specifically television, (5) the prolonged dirty war against Crdenas and the PRD, (6) the propagandistic use of polls (some were conducted seriously, with valid methodology, but the majority were conducted mysteriously, with suspect methodologiesif anyself-serving results and use of blatant, slanted efforts to influence the electorate through propagandistic means), (7) the important debates. (pp. 31718; my translation)

We have already reviewed the central role of television as a source of political information and media attacks on the PRD (Zabludovskys comparing Crdenas to Castro, Allende, and Krushchev, and the Paco Stanley case). Political polling, candidate selection processes, and the debates merit brief discussion. Given Mexicos historic influence from the United States and northern orientation under NAFTA, such changes are not surprising. A volume edited by Domnguez and Lawson (2004) discusses developments that can only be summarized in the paragraphs that follow. The results of polls sponsored by various institutions including government agencies, political parties, and the media itself increased in frequency and breadth across media outlets during the 2000 election. Toussaint (2000) takes a negative view of this development, arguing, as have many U.S. researchers, that constant disclosure of poll results encourages horse race reporting that distracts voters from more substantive campaign issues. She fears that private interests will encroach on



public political space as constant polling and other U.S. campaign tendencies deepen in future elections. Another echo of U.S.-style political communication concerned the candidate selection process. Interestingly, the opposition parties were less democratic in choosing their candidates than was the PRI, which weathered so much criticism for its autocratic bent. Crdenas, Mexico Citys embattled mayor from 1997 to 1999, was chosen in the traditional fashion, through internal politicking. The PAN candidate, Vicente Fox, preemptively announced his candidacy in July 1997, two years prior to the registration period for his partys convention. Foxs early start and quick success in building coalitions led him to win the PAN first presidential primary uncontested (Bruhn, 2004). As for the PRI, shortly after assuming the presidency in 1994, Ernesto Zedillo announced that he would refrain from interfering in his partys selection process (McCann, 2004). His announcement ended the secretive tradition of the dedazo6 whereby a sitting president would select the next PRI candidate, a shoo-in to the presidency. Although less extensive, expensive, and transparent than the U.S. system of caucuses and primaries, the process by which the PRI party selected Francisco Labastida as its candidate for the 2000 election was significantly more open than the dedazo, or, ironically, the opposition parties processes. During a preprimary campaign that received significant press coverage in 1999, Labastida faced three challengers7 who attacked his character, credibility, and independence in a manner that no PRI candidate had previously endured. Prior to winning the primary with 55 percent of the vote Labastida debated his internal challengers live on television. Although novel and engaging, the PRIs primary debate was less consequential than Labastidas subsequent confrontations with opposition candidates. Recall that Mexicos first televised presidential debate occurred in 1994. By 2000 some of the novelty had worn off among the Mexican public, and the parties had developed experience to draw upon. Two formal debates and an impromptu predebate took place during the final two months of the 2000 presidential campaign. The first debate included candidates of the three major parties, Labastida (PRI), Fox (PAN), and Crdenas (PRD), as well as three minor party candidates, Porfirio Muoz Ledo, Manuel Camacho, and Gilberto Rincn Gallardo. It was conducted in what Lawson (2004) terms the joint press conference (p. 213) format with the candidates standing behind podiums delivering prepared remarks in prearranged order. All five opposition candidates hammered repeatedly on Labastidas character and the PRIs authoritarian rule. Labastida countered by emphasizing his superior qualifications and commitment to positive change. The predebate occurred on May 23, 2000, three days prior to the second debate, when the major party candidates met informally to discuss the format and ground rules. Crews from Televisa and Televisin Azteca appeared and transmitted live what Lawson (2004) describes as the political equivalent of reality television (p. 211). Vicente Fox nearly got



voted off the island during an episode that his supporters came to call Black Tuesday. The candidate vehemently insisted that the debate take place that very night and dug in his heels when his rivals demurred, reasonably suggesting that the logistics would be impossible on such short notice. Not surprisingly, Foxs stubbornness and hubris elicited negative coverage, but in the long run he benefited from appearing to challenge the system (Sarmiento, 2005). The format for the final debatecandidates seated at the same table with a moderator, and open discussion of predetermined topics following opening statements by each candidateencouraged spontaneity and favored Fox. He successfully framed his comportment on Black Tuesday in terms of the urgent need for change and for leadership to guide it with character and decisiveness. Crdenas supported Foxs cause by sustaining his barrage on the ruling PRI; Labastida failed to counter effectively. The findings of a panel study indicate the debates reach among voters: 51 percent reported watching at least part of the final debate; 60 percent heard television commentary about it; and 72 percent discussed it with friends or family members (Lawson, 2004, p. 213). Over a dozen years, Mexicos communication media, and television in particular, had come a long way in opening spaces for political discourse among various parties and candidates. Yet alongside the seedlings of democracy weeds of corporatism and repression continued to thrive.


Efforts to join and accommodate the NAFTA set in motion complex processes that facilitated a surge in democratic practices in Mexico between 1985 and 2000. The trade agreement accelerated movements that were already under way as Mexico engaged other societies more directly through globalization; NAFTA gave the changes a name, facilitating a less nebulous public discourse than often surrounds the difficult term globalization. Of special import to our topic are electoral reforms, shifts in political communication, and adjustments in the structure and management of television that brought Mexico closer in line with Western democratic practices, especially those of the United States. As the processes of candidate selection, campaigning, and voting became more transparent to Mexican voters, the political interests and economic ambitions of television networks were also revealed through cases such as the corruption accusations associated with the presidents brother, Ral Salinas de Gortari, and the Paco Stanley case. In this period the leadership of Televisa and Televisin Azteca also became accountable to stockholders, not just business cronies. As voter research, opinion polls, debates, and new campaign strategies transformed Mexicos political landscape, marketing research, ratings competition, and shareholder relations altered the television industry.



Technological change also wielded considerable influence over Mexican television between 1985 and 2000. Pay television expanded through several means. Traditional cable television experienced substantial growth and became a more attractive medium as digitization promised video on demand, telephone, Internet, and other communication services over a single wire. Wireless cable television8 reached major urban areas such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey, avoiding many of the infrastructure and legal right-of-way challenges that limited cable expansion to some areas. Two direct-to-home (DTH) satellite services launched in 1996 offer viewers yet another pay television option. For Televisa, participation in the Sky Latin America service required careful handling to minimize internal competition with its significant holdings in terrestrial broadcast and cable television (Cablevision). The fact that Televisa partnered with its longtime rival TV Globo of Brazil in the Sky Latin America venture indicates the depth of change in Mexican television during the 1990s. When the Internet emerged as a consumer medium in the late 1990s, both Televisa and Televisin Azteca scrambled to develop portals, e-commerce, online advertising, and related services. Televisin Azteca launched its portal,, in February 2000. Televisas portal,, launched three months later. At the unveiling of, Televisas CEO, Emilio Azcrraga Jean, emphasized that the new initiative would draw support from other divisions of the media conglomerate and, as was common in the wake of the AOL Time Warner merger only months before, stressed the positive synergies to be derived from an online presence (Crane, 2000). Of course the downturn in technology markets a year later moderated the frenetic pace of Internet investment; nevertheless new technologies and their effective integration with the traditional media outlets cited by Azcrraga Jean remain a key competitive front between the rival networks. The new technologies offer alternative sources for political information among well-heeled Mexicans, a development that is likely to fragment the voting public and that merits further investigation. This chapter has demonstrated how several aspects of globalization have facilitated change in Mexicos political and media domains yet also counsels restraint from hyperbolic assessments of the breadth and permanence of such change. Unfortunately, there are strong indications that corruption, repression, and cronyism continue to impede transparency, accountability, and democratization in Mexico. Elation over Vicente Foxs election cooled following his difficulties in moving a domestic agenda through the congress and his failure to substantively alter relations with the United States (recall that the attacks of September 11, 2001, focused U.S. diplomatic attention elsewhere). Another troubling trend concerns the persistence of crime, including threats against journalists. On June 27, 2004, hundreds of thousands took to Mexicos streets to protest high levels of crime, including kidnapping and assassinations. An echo of the Paco Stanley case was heard as Mexico Citys



mayor, Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador, claimed that the citys crime rate had remained stable, but the national media and powerful business interests had inflamed public outrage in an effort to discredit his government (Thompson, 2004). At particular risk are journalists who dare to report on high-level corruption and narcotrafficking. Many of those who have been threatened or attacked drew inspiration from the processes of media opening described in this chapter. They face repression from powerful interests that are willing to terrorize families and execute reporters to avoid public exposure of their crimes. Such repression and corruption constitute the most insidious threat to democratization and the cultivation of civil society in Mexico. In considering the complex case of economic liberalization, democratization, and media opening in Mexico, we must bear in mind that no matter how many features of Western democratic political systems it adopts, it will retain elements which bear a uniquely Mexican character. To paraphrase Toussaint (2000, p. 55), little by little Mexico is adopting U.S.-style capital- and technology-driven politics, while tradition generates inertia toward authoritarianism mixed with emergent democratic practices (cultural resistance differentiates Mexican from U.S. political communication). Mexicos principal challenge in this consequential domain is to discover and pursue the most constructive blend of internal and external influences.


This chapter went to press shortly after the Mexican public voted for a new president on July 2, 2006. The official winner was Felipe Caldern, the conservative PAN candidate who garnered 35.88 percent of the vote. The election results have been challenged by Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador, the leftist PRD candidate and former Mexico City mayor who received 35.31 percent, a difference of roughly 220,000 votes. In an eerie reminder of the 2000 U.S. presidential election, the vote was too close to call on election night even with sophisticated exit polling conducted by government agencies and private firms. As the deadline approached for Mexicos Federal Election Tribunal to certify a winner, Lpez Obradors followers engaged in civil disobedience by disrupting traffic and business in Mexico City. The outcome will indicate the strength of Mexicos political institutions over which the media, especially television, have considerable influence.

NOTES 1. Two common examples are gacetillas, paid political advertisements that are placed by the government but appear as legitimate news reports, and embutes or chay-



otes, cash payments from government agencies to journalists in return for favorable press coverage (Keenan, 1997; Riva Palacio, 1997; Lawson, 2002). 2. The data is from an IFE/Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales UNAM publication, La reforma electoral su contexto sociocultural (Cuadro 1.4) as reprinted in Lawson (2002, p. 96, Table 1). 3. These are narratives in which a humble, beautiful, and often nave young woman gets caught in a web of passion, intrigue, and betrayals, only to triumph through her virtuousness and be rewarded with the love of the good guy in the end. 4. The official counts for the opposition candidates were 32 percent for Cuauhtmoc Crdenas and 17 percent for Manuel Clothier. 5. Jim Jones, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, underscored the connection between economic opening and democratization in commenting on the possible consequences of unfair elections in 1994: As a practical matter there is nothing the U.S. government needs to do because private investors in United States will be so put off by not having political freedoms follow economic freedoms that investment will dry up and the economic hopes of Mexico will go with it. That is far stronger than anything the government can do (Mazza, 2001, p. 117). 6. Literally big fingerthe sitting president would point out one candidate from a field of contenders. 7. They were Roberto Madrazo Pintado, governor of Tabasco; Manuel Bartlett Daz, governor of Puebla; and Humberto Roque Villanueva, a former PRI leader (McCann, 2004). 8. Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) is a system that uses microwave transmitters to send multiple audiovisual channels to corporate and/or residential subscribers.

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democratic election: Candidates, voters, and the presidential campaign of 2000 (pp. 123156). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Crane, A. (2000, March 1). Mexico: Televisa and TV Azteca. Advertising Age International, 42. Domnguez, J. I. (1999). The transformation of Mexicos electoral and party systems, 198897: An introduction. In J. I. Domnguez and A. Poir (Eds.), Toward Mexicos democratization: Parties, campaigns, elections and public opinion (pp. 123). New York: Routledge. Domnguez, J. I., & Lawson, C. (Eds.). (2004). Mexicos pivotal democratic election: Candidates, voters, and the presidential campaign of 2000. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Fernndez, C., & Paxman, A. (2000). El tigre: Emilio Azcrraga y su imperio Televisa. Mexico City: Grijalbo. Fromson, M. (1996). Mexicos struggle for a free press. In R. C. Cole (Ed.), Communication in Latin America: Journalism, mass media and society (pp. 115137). Jaguar Books on Latin America No. 14. Wilmington, DE: SR Books. Golden, T. (1993, June 7). In sale of TV networks, Mexico seeks to create a rival to mighty Televisa. New York Times. Hallin, D. C. (2000). La nota roja: Popular journalism and the transition to democracy in Mexico. In C. Sparks & J. Tulloch (Eds.), Tabloid tales: Global debates over media standards (pp. 267284). Latham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Hernndez, O., & McAnany, E. (2001). Cultural industries in the free trade age: A look at Mexican television. In G. Joseph, A. Rubenstein, & E. Zolov (Eds.), Fragments of a golden age: The politics of culture in Mexico since 1940 (pp. 389414). Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Keenan, J. (1997). La gacetilla: How advertising masquerades as news. In W. A. Orme Jr. (Ed.), A culture of collusion: An inside look at the Mexican press (pp. 4148). Miami: North-South Center. Lawson, C. H. (1999). Why Crdenas won. In J. I. Domnguez and A. Poir (Eds.), Toward Mexicos democratization: Parties, campaigns, elections and public opinion (pp. 147173). New York: Routledge. Lawson, C. H. (2002). Building the fourth estate: Democratization and the rise of a free press in Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press. Lawson, C. (2004). Mexicos great debates: The televised candidate encounters of 2000 and their electoral consequences. In J. I. Domnguez and C. Lawson (Eds.), Mexicos pivotal election: Candidates, voters and the presidential campaign of 2000 (pp. 211241). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Levario Turcott, M. (1999, June 17). El ltimo show con Paco Stanley: Qu les pas a los medios? Etctera. Retrieved April 17, 2005, at mlt333ne3.asp. Mahan, E. (1985). Mexican broadcasting: Reassessing the industry-state relationship. Journal of Communication, 35(1) 6075.



Mazza, J. (2001). Dont disturb the neighbors: The United States and democracy in Mexico, 19801995. New York: Routledge. McCann, J. A. (2004). Primary priming. In J. I. Domnguez and C. Lawson (Eds.), Mexicos pivotal democratic election: Candidates, voters, and the presidential campaign of 2000 (pp. 157183). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Mendiola, R. (1998, August 20). Personal interview with Rubn Mendiola, Director of Pay Television Programming, Grupo Televisa, S.A. Conducted in Mexico City. Ortega Pizarro, F. (1993, July 26). Los nuevos dueos de Canal 13 y Canal 7, en su primer autorretrato. Proceso, 873, 613. Pramo, T. (2001, Jan.Aug.) Elecciones mexicanas en el ao 2000: El papel estratgico de la television. Sociolgica, 16(4546), 303326. Poir, A. (1999). Retrospective voting, partisanship, and loyalty in presidential elections: 1994. In J. I. Domnguez & A. Poir (Eds.), Toward Mexicos democratization: Parties, campaigns, elections and public opinion (pp. 2456). New York: Routledge. Preston, J. (1999, August 29). Indictments unveil the dark side of a Mexican TV comedian. New York Times, 8. Preston, J., & Dillon, S. (2004). Opening Mexico: The making of a democracy. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. Riva Palacio, R. (1997). A culture of collusion: The ties that bind the press and the PRI. In W. A. Orme Jr. (Ed.), A culture of collusion: An inside look at the Mexican press (pp. 2139). Miami: North-South Center. Sarmiento, S. (2005). The role of the media in Mexicos political transition. In A. B. Peschard-Sverdrup & S. R. Rioff (Eds.), Mexican governance: From single-party rule to divided government (pp. 271287). Washington DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies. Sinclair, J. (1986). Dependent development and broadcasting: The Mexican formula. Media, Culture and Society, 8(1), 81101. Sinclair, J. (1999). Latin American television: A global view. New York: Oxford University Press. Thompson, G. (2004, June 28). Hundreds of thousands in Mexico march against crime. New York Times, A6. Toussaint Alcaraz, F. (2000). Las campaas electorales del 2000 en televisin: El caso mexicano. Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Polticas y Sociales, 44(180), 3956.


First Green Is Always Gold

An Examination of the First Private National Channel in Bulgaria


INTRODUCT ION HE GROWTH OF COMMUNICATION systems in modern capitalist societies has been inextricably linked to both the rise of mass democracy and the growth of mass consumption. However, from the very beginning, commentators of a variety of political and cultural hues have pointed out the contradictory relations between consumerism as the foundation of capitalist economies and citizenship as the foundation of democratic societies. A societys system of communication, as the major vehicle for advertising and the central forum for organizing political discourse, is caught in the center of this tension (Murdock, 1992). This statement is particularly accurate with regard to the developments and processes that the countries of Eastern Europe have been experiencing since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In the former Communist bloc, the mass media have been recognized as a central part of the political, economic, and social transformations that brought about the end of the cold war. With the end of the economic and ideological divide between the East and West, the former Soviet nations launched a trip to self-discovery in search of a new, postCommunist cultural and political identity. As the most influential vehicle of



public opinion and social sentiments, the mass media became the public forum for this search. Now that the Berlin Wall is long demolished and all Eastern European nations are undergoing a process of cultural redefinition, it is interesting to examine the post-Communist developments in the cultural sphere and particularly in the mass media. As a conduit of these developments, the mass media in Eastern Europe find themselves under the pressure of a conjuncture of the forces of globalization. In this spirit, with the beginning of the new millennium, Bulgaria, the former Communist nation often referred to as the Soviet Unions most loyal satellite nation, opened a new page in its media history. After nearly 50 years of state-controlled, closely monitored, and ideologically manipulated television, the Bulgarian government decided to open the national air, previously exclusively reserved for the state-owned and operated television channels, to foreign media companies. As a result, the first private television channel, Balkan Television (bTV), was launched and was officially listed as a News Corporation company. The monopoly of Bulgarian National Television (BNT) was brought to an end, and its politicizing and socializing role was about to change drastically, simultaneously transforming the entire media landscape in Bulgaria. This chapter uses a globalization framework to examine the cultural effects of foreign capital on Bulgarias broadcasting system. Using bTV as a case study, this chapter will critically examine the development and growth of the first foreign commercial broadcaster in a post-Communist state to show how the initial strong resistance to a commercially driven programming scheme was quickly superceded by a hearty espousal of every single aspect of Western-type programming. Such developments have important consequences not only in terms of program quality and availability of choice but also in terms of far-reaching political, economic, and cultural influences. The need for such an investigation is pressing given the lack of any scholarly research about globalization influences in Bulgaria. The ultimate purpose of this chapter, however, is to address and perhaps further explicate a question stated by Bakardjieva (1995): Will the emergence of new, independent media channels fulfill the expectations for a democratic public debate on issues critical to society, . . . or will they Dallasify and drown to death any attempts at critical civic thinking and participation? (p. 41). The discussion of such media trends is critical as it demonstrates the complex processes that nations such as Bulgaria undergo in assessing their success in building Western-type democracy while at the same time maintaining their indigenous cultural identity. The first part of the chapter offers a brief discussion of the research methods used and a literature review of globalization of culture. The study next presents an overview of the globalization literature on Eastern Europe and an overview of important historical developments in Bulgarian broadcasting. The



events around the creation of bTV, its first year on the air, and its subsequent success occupy the central the part of the chapter. The last part offers a discussion of bTVs formula for success and some concluding remarks with regard to its political, economic, and cultural clout. This chapter uses historical analysis in search of a more hermeneutic than systematic perspective on the complex processes at work. Historical analysis involves the use of historical methods by sociologists, political scientists, and other social scientists (Babbie, 1998, p. 325). In line with its approach, the chapter uses a narrative tracing in-depth the development of the first private national television channel in Bulgaria. As Nord (1989) asserted, a narrative is more than a description; it is a logical organization of material into a chronological sequence for the purpose of explanation (p. 289). The explanatory power of the historical narrative approach lies with its ability to trace the logical progression of each step (Nord, 1989). The ultimate goal is to form an understanding of the often subtly manifested and undetectable processes at hand by applying, what in Geertzian terminology would be called thick description, to bTVs development as Bulgarias top national channel (see Geertz, 1973).


In the mass communication literature, globalization has become synonymous with discussions of contemporary trends in news flows and issues of cultural production. It is hard to identify the beginning of the term globalization. Earlier histories and outlooks on global society (Marx, Toynbee, etc.) still sought to gather together the individual histories of different societies, cultures, and civilizations, variously located somewhere on the earth, and then sought to suggest universal and specifically Euro-centered proposals about them. In this relation, ethnocentrism, and specifically, European ethnocentrism, became an affiliated feature of an emerging global modernity. Perhaps of all the nineteenth-century thinkers, Marx offered the boldest view of an emerging global society and a particularly bold picture of a global culture in his depiction of a future Communist state. In Marxs utopian world, the divisions among nations have disappeared along with all other local attachments, including religious or ethic belief, a world with a universal language, world literature, and cosmopolitan cultural states (Marx, 1967). However, if the possibility of a global culture exists, defined by a historically conditioned and economically feasible global media content flow, then as many cultural sociologists contend, we should recognize the fact that cultural identities in the global age necessarily develop in tandem with each other (Hannerz, 1992, 1996; McNeill, 1991, 1992; Robertson, 1992; Waters, 1995). While this suggested paradigm is based primarily on market



relationships and emphasizes the erosion of national cultures and regional civilizations from within, other social scientists suggest that the Americanization paradigm was responsible for the ensuing homogenization of the world culture. Americanization theories are built on the experience of successful large-scale technology based on purely capitalist production. A good example is Ritzers (1993) McDonalization thesis, which claims that rationalized capital-intensive forms of production, marketing, and consumption are conquering older or alternative forms of production everywhere in the world. The same idea was evoked by Barber (1996), whose fears materialized in the notion that there might be little public choice between this sort of McWorld and its territorialist and parochial opposite, symbolized by the Jihad and ethnic cleansing. However, opponents of the Americanization paradigm have pointed out that the adoption of American culture and the globality of American cultural influence around the world is not necessarily a forceful and an imposed imperialist move. Rather, as Schou (1992) contended, in societies with clearly divisive culture along criteria of class, gender, age, and so on, the consumption and enjoyment of American goods and popular culture came to serve for the working-class consumers as a symbolic resistance to the paternalism of the national cultural establishment as expressed most visibly in everyday life through the public-service broadcasting institutions that until recently commanded the cultural space in Eastern European countries. Globalization has also been linked to the exponential growth of transnational media corporations, whose uniform approach to a revenue-driven, corporate structure of the media poses a serious threat to preserving the authenticity of the culture in the host region. As the global distribution networks emerge under the control of a few media conglomerates, these transnational media corporations (CNN, Fox, CNBC, MSNBC, MTV, etc.) have began to compete with nation-states as loci of communication power and control (Herman & McChesney, 1997; Mowlana, Gerbner, & Shiller, 1992). It is precisely because of this unprecedented growth in the supremacy of the corporation and the complex mechanisms in which these conglomerates have managed to supersede previous institutional forms of control, Griffin argues (2002), that we need to analyze the global cultural economy as an overlapping, disjunctive order that cannot be understood through the simplicity of center-periphery models but needs to be set against the complex nature of the global communication network. Regardless of the precise theoretical foundation of the globalization argument, one fact remains uncontested: the conflict between homogenization and the resistance it triggers, the tension between the global and the local, remains among the most contested influences of globalization on culture, and the mass media, as carriers of cultural identity are the formal arena where these cultural conflicts get played and challenged.




Particularly interesting have been the developments in Eastern Europe where the fall of communism proved that isolationist and preservationist cultural policies are not immune to outside influences, especially from the ubiquitous presence of Western culture around the globe. As Barber (1998) argues, some cynics might even suggest that some of the revolutions in this part of the world had in their true goal not liberty and the right to vote but well-paying jobs and the right to shop. This was well exemplified by the almost immediate influx of East Germans who traveled the new path of liberation just to see the display windows, abundant with all coveted Western goods, such as Coca Cola and real chocolate. However, the effect of Western influence on the cultures of Eastern Europe and on the economic, political, and social changes that took place with the fall of the Berlin Wall are significantly more complex than that. As Downing (1996) contends, up until 1991, if cultural imperialism were to be spotted in the East, it would have been by official representatives of the previous regimes who were prepared to denounce everything from the BBC World Service to rock music to entertainment shows in general. Yet, far from significantly, Jakab and Galik (1991) are among those in Eastern Europe who have drawn attention to the contemporary issues raised in the region by the advent of foreign investment in media ownership, no doubt in their case in part because of the extraordinary rapid acquisition of Hungarian media by British and German firms, a process, unparalleled in speed and extent elsewhere in Eastern Europe at that time. Without having to tie oneself to many of the doom-laden prophecies of cultural homogenization intoned by typical exponents of the cultural imperialism thesis, Downing (1996) argues, the realties of accountabilityor rather, of its lossbecome potentially even more troubled if major control of the media is vested outside national borders (p. 224). Downings concern has become even more pressing in current times, when privatization and foreign investments in the media system have become a priority task on the social reform list of all newly elected governments in Eastern Europe. In fact, adopting models and practices from what is often seen as the working model of a media system, as the American model of private media ownership is often seen in the East, has become almost a mantra for the Eastern European journalists and media practitioners. These aspirations affirm the resolution to make a clear break with the Communist past of authoritarian control and state censorship and chart a new media ownership model based on the principles of market economy practiced in the West.




The Bulgarian National Television (BNT) was the sole source of news and entertainment for the Bulgarian people for more than four decades. Created in 1959, Channel 1 of BNT started by transmitting 3 hours of programming twice a week but moved to transmitting 80 hours of programming weekly and had a reach of over 90 percent of the Bulgarian population by the 1980s (Country Profile, 1997). As one of only three available TV channels during Communist times, Channel 1 functioned as an official voice of the government and a sole carrier of informational and educational programming. Channel 2 was created in 1974 for the purpose of transmitting cultural programming 35 hours a week. The third available channel was closely affiliated with the Russian National Television and only carried Russian programming (Country Profile, 1997). As of 2003, the BNT and Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) were declared of public status, although they continued to be funded heavily by the state and were allowed to sell advertising with some restrictions. As the 2003 International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) Report for Bulgaria states, Political influence over BNT and BNR is visible, and neither station has made much progress in the transition from state to true public (p. 26). BNT responded to the changes of 1989 by curtailing the Russian programming on its third channel and renaming its other two channels Kanal 1 (Channel 1) and Efir 2 (Ether 2). In spite of the name change, the channel itself underwent only a cosmetic change. Bulgarian television remained tightly controlled by the government (IREX 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004). From 1989 to 1993, the head of BNT was replaced each time a new party came to power, and journalists were fired for criticizing the government openly (Bakardjieva, 1995; Schweitzer, 2003). As Schweitzer (2003) pointed out:
Some of the reasons for the slow transformation of television include the state monopoly over national telecasting, political pressures resulting in frequent replacements of TV executives (in ten years, eleven General Directors in succession headed national Television), lack of research and development, inefficient management, economic constraints and obsolete equipment. (pp. 1718)

It is not surprising then that as late as 1994 and 1995, Bulgarian audiences could only choose between the two national channels or the limited reach and programming scheme of local cable operators. Nova Televisiya (Nova TV) established in 1994, became the first private cable channel to broadcast 24hour programming, but at the beginning it was limited to the countrys capital, Sofia. Sedem Dni (Seven Days), established in 1995, was another private operator with limited reach (Country Profile, 1997). The mushrooming of pri-



vate cable operators in bigger citiessome 29 companies were licensed to start local operations by 1994 (Bakardjieva, 1995)allowed viewers a better selection, yet each of these operators created its powerful local niche. Foreign ownership in Bulgaria was introduced in 1997 when the German media group Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) bought the two largest and most influential newspapers in Bulgaria and now controls over 70 percent of the total newspaper circulation in the country (European Federation of Journalists, 2003; IREX, 2003; Yaneva, 2002). In August 2000, the Greek Antenna Group, owned by Greek businessmen Minos Kiriaku, bought 100 percent of Nova TV. That same year the Antenna Group also bought a popular Bulgarian radio station, Radio Express, for a total of $3.7 million (European Federation of Journalists, 2003; Yaneva, 2002). In November 2000, Nova TV acquired a license for national broadcasting, but it was quickly revoked by the Supreme Administrative Court after it was revealed that the State Telecommunications Commission had violated the licensing procedure (European Federation of Journalists, 2003; IREX, 2001). Cable operator Eurocom, which was initially operating in the capital but has been expanding its network and broadband access to the rest of the country, is partially sponsored by American financier and philanthropist George Soros (European Federation of Journalists, 2003). Table 11.1 presents the broadcasting shares in Bulgaria prior to bTVs arrival. In an atmosphere of unchallenged monopoly over the national airwaves, Kanal 1 enjoyed the undivided attention of the Bulgarian audience as well as the profits from a newly emerging advertising industry. Nevertheless, BNT was undergoing serious financial difficulties and intensive public criticism concerning the lack of objectivity and fairness in its news coverage and commentaries. As Pesheva (1996) argued:
The Bulgarian National Television, as the main public opinion manipulator was itself blatantly manipulated: by the Communist Party, which was losing

TABLE 11.1 Audience Shares for the Basic TV Channels in Bulgarian for March 2000

Channel Kanal 1 Efir 2 Nova TV Eurocom Other (regional)

Audience share in percentages 81 40 18 10 54

Source: Alpha Research, The Big Boom of Small Channels, November 9, 2000. Accessible online at



political power, by the New Democrats, who were overly enthusiastic about a rather unclear political reform, and by the enormous volume of new participants in the political debate who served as a natural background for the social transition. (p. 13)

It is important to note that the lack of quality production since the transition in 1989 has caused a lot of changes in other mass media, newspapers and radio stations in particular. The media landscape in Bulgaria, or as Appadurai (1990) called it, the mediascape, had a rather peculiar configuration. Under the classic division of the mediascape, television serves to inform, newspapers comment, and radio entertains. In Bulgaria, however, the lack of professional TV journalism distorted to great extent this division of roles. Over the last 10 years, newspapers and radio stations informed, whereas television was usually campaigning in favor of governmental interests. For the longest time, television in Bulgaria was regarded on the one hand as a power factor for exercising political influence, and on the other hand as power economical factor when distributing, directing and consuming advertising budgets (Cholakov, 2003). The emergence of a private national channel was expected to offset this peculiar configuration of the mediascape and stimulate and promote gradual change in the rest of the media.


The legal aspects of this critically important task were delegated to a newly established regulatory body, the Council of Electronic Media (CEM). Under the provisions of the Radio and Television Act of 1998, five members of the council were appointed from a parliamentary quota, and four members were appointed by the head of state. CEMs primary task was to evaluate offers submitted by qualifying bidders for the available TV frequencies and award licenses for the use of these frequencies through a highly competitive procedure. However, it is important to note that since 2002, the granting of licenses has been suspended by the then ruling coalition National Movement Simeon II and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and that the Radio and Television Act of 1998 has been amended with a provision requiring CEM to elaborate a National Strategy for Media Development before any new television and radio licenses are issued (IREX, 2004). This provision came in response to allegations that the five political appointee members of CEM were giving in to the pressure of private lobbies (Popova, 2004). The first private channel licensing procedure did not go by without its fair amount of scandal and speculations of external financial pressures and political manipulations in the selection process. The competition attracted the attention of some major media holdingsBalkan News Corporation; TV 2, a



joint venture between the Scandinavian Broadcasting Systems and the European Broadcasting Systems; Investment Intermediary Global, a partnership of three European media groups, one of which was Modern Times Group (a private media corporation registered in Stockholm) (Ivantcheva, 2000). Also among the applicants were Alexandra Film, a media company registered in Bulgaria with an emphasis on film distribution, Nova TV, Antenna Bulgaria, and Eurocom. The four candidates that were disqualified were Antenna Bulgaria, for targeting only a limited age group, and Nova TV, because of suspicions that its owner was Darko Tamidjich, a Serb national convicted twice for unpaid taxes and illegal cross-border deals (Ivantcheva, 2000; Yaneva, 2002). Eurocom was disqualified because it demonstrated a weak financial potential, and Alexandra Film was dropped from the competition for offering only specialized film programming. The remaining three bidders, Balkan News Corporation (BNC), TV 2, and Global, were allowed to hold public discussions in November 1999 (Ivantcheva, 2000). Although the deal of granting the license was in nature a privatization deal as it surrendered state property to an external financial entity for the purpose of generating revenue, it was not handled by the official Privatization Agency; instead, the competition followed procedures outlined in the Radio and Television Act of 1998 and the Telecommunication Act of 1998 (Popova, 2004). That allowed the winning bidders to pay only the initial licensing fees and annual usage fees, as opposed to paying the value of acquiring the broadcast frequency and equipment needed to cover the only other national frequency in addition to that of Kanal 1. After much media attention and public concern, BNC won a 10-year broadcasting license and a 15year programming license to create the first private national channel (Country Updates, 2002). As Ivantcheva (2000) commented, faced with excessive state interference, both the participants and the observers in the Bulgarian licensing drama considered a foreign investor to be the best alternative (p. 3). The most attractive part of BNCs offer was the promise to invest $45 million in the next 15 years and have 30 percent of its media interests owned by local investors (Country Updates, 2002).


At the initial stages of the competition, no one knew who stood behind BNC. It did not become evident until the very final stages of the selection process that the owner of BNC was actually Rupert Murdochs News Corporation. Moreover, as Popova (2004) points out, during this period, it was impossible to trace the roots of the bidding company, as it was in the process of legal registration. As Popova (2004) explained, BNC was registered as lawyers property, or to put it differently, the shareholders are lawyers. In Bulgaria it is usual



that a foreign company which is interested in the Bulgarian market . . . hires lawyers. So they prepare the documents and create a company (p. 102). Another hot issue of contention in investigating the background of BNC was the role of advertising guru Krasimir Gergovfounder and owner of Kres, the first major advertising agency in Bulgaria. Officially, Gergov was presented as a consultant to bTVs executive director, Albert Parson, yet two of his close associates were hired as bTVs station manager and advertising director. Unofficially, Gergovs name was associated with the ownership of BNC and other dummy legal entities involved in a staged bid for a second private channel meant to delay the licensing procedure and, thus, impede the launching of a private competitor to bTV (Popova, 2004; Yaneva, 2002). Although unproven, there are lingering speculations that bTVs top advertising revenues were a direct result of the close relationship between its owners and Gergov. Bulgaria seems to have a long line of attempts to obscure the ownership of media outlets or use dirty money as part of the deals (Yaneva, 2002). A 2002 survey revealed that Bulgarians feel uneasy about the origin of foreign investments coming to the country and believe that the owners and the origin of the money invested should be clearly identified (Yaneva, 2002). Although the transparency of ownership is embedded in current media laws, the public remains unaware of who the owners of media outlets really are (IREX, 2003).


bTV first presented its programming plan to the National Media Council on November 4, 1999. News Corporations vice president, Martin Pompadour, came to Bulgaria to announce that bTV was going to be Bulgarian television for the Bulgarian people, made by Bulgarians (Debate over New TV, 1999). Pompadour also mentioned that bTV was going to be a television network with a global outlook and a wide selection of information and entertainment programs. He added that 53 percent of the production was going to be European in origin, and 30 percent local, with the potential of future growth and the inclusion of more locally produced TV news magazines, films, and entertainment shows. With regard to news productions, Pompadour explained, We guarantee 100percent independence in news coverage, adding that only the manner of presentation will be different. We want to show the viewers something that they are not accustomed to (quoted in Bulgaria, 2000). bTVs initial programming as shown in Figure 11.1 was as follows: 10 percent news, 13 percent editorials and analysis, 15 percent education and science, 11 percent childrens shows, and 13 percent Bulgarian programs from non-media sources (Popova, 2000a). Sports programming and WWF wrestling were also included as part of the initial programming scheme with



FIGURE 11.1 Proposed Programming Distribution for bTV

Source: V. Popova (November, 2000a). bTVFive Minutes before the start, Kaptial. Retrieved December 12, 2001, from

potential to grow (Country Updates, 2002). Apart from the initial $11.5 million that News Corporation invested in the creation of bTV, the channel was expected to work in accordance with market economy principles and entirely support itself from advertising revenues (Popova, 2000b). The goal was to create a type of programming structure that would be effective in attracting advertising revenues (Popova, 2000b). To that end, bTV announced that it had closed deals with Time Warner, Fox Kids, and Fox Sports to broadcast the newest TV shows available.


The first national commercial channel was expected to go on air on June 2, 2000, with a 3-hour program covering 83 percent of the Bulgarian viewing audience (New or Old, 2000). On October 1, 2000, bTV started 18-hour programming, which eventually increased to 24hour programming. bTVs birthday coincided with Bulgarias most important national holidaythe commemoration of the national heroes who died in the struggle against the Ottoman Yoke. On this date, a special commemorative ceremony is held and aired live on Kanal 1. Yet instead of honoring this long-standing tradition, bTV was inaugurated with Harrison Fords Blade Runner. Initially, bTV emphasized heavily American programming. During its primetime hours, bTV featured Hollywood blockbusters and B-rated action movies, covering the same time slot as the two most popular political and social TV magazine shows on Kanal 1. The intention was to capture the viewers who were looking to be entertained, not informed. Kapital commented before the airing of bTVs first broadcast that the Bulgarian National Television is bound



to lose some of its most loyal viewers because the old television is too preoccupied with petty political talk while people need to be entertained (Private Television Will Change, 2000). However, following bTVs initial start, the only new shows added to the already familiar childrens cartoons were syndicated reruns of ALF and Perfect Strangers, which were previously twice aired on Kanal 1. The lack of new, culturally engaging programming started a public wave of discontent against the fledgling private channel. The public discontent with bTVs programming style was so overwhelming that CEM ordered a special monitoring of bTVs content and a reevaluation of News Corporations contract for the broadcasting license. Legal restrictions, however, prevented CEM from interfering with the programming scheme of the broadcasting companies. All CEM could do was issue recommendations. In the meantime, reports resurfaced in the media showing that despite the enthusiastic promise of 55 percent European and Bulgarian production, bTV lagged behind in its educational and socially oriented programming. In January 2001, bTV was showing barely 2.73 percent Bulgarian and European production, while it exceeded its allowed Western programming quota by 6 percent (Oncheva, 2001). Despite apparent dissatisfaction with programming quality, at the end of its first year bTV registered financial success yet declined to reveal any exact numbers (Popova, 2001a). The acceptance of bTV as a legitimate brainchild of News Corporation was symbolically confirmed in October 2001 when it was mentioned in News Corporations annual financial report together with its British counterpart BSkyB. The report, published on the News Corporation website, mentioned that the newly created projectbTVhas already achieved great success. The invested $11 million, six of which were used for new equipment and the rest spent on starting costs, were already making a profit (Popova, 2001b). bTV, its financial director declared, was ready to proceed to the next stageindependent profit making (Popova, 2001b).


Around the time bTV started broadcasting, Bulgaria initiated its own ratings research and measurement facilitated by a branch of Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS). As one of the major European market research companies, TNS started providing reliable data about the media industry in Bulgaria, something that was lacking from the Bulgarian mediascape up until this point. These data were used to recreate bTVs road to success. As Table 11.2 indicates, within a year, bTV became the most popular channel with the Bulgarian audience, dominating the national air. Currently, bTV holds supremacy on the air with a weekday market share of 40.4 percent and a weekend market share of 30.9 percent (Media World, June ratings,



TABLE 11.2 Weekday Market Share in Percentages for the Period 20012005

Channel bTV Kanal 1 Nova Televisiya Other

2001 % 30.6 26.3 4.0 39.1

2002 % 41.2 29.6 6.0 23.2

2003 % 42.3 23.2 8.3 26.2

2004 % 39.6 23.7 8.9 27.8

2005 % 40.4 16.8 13.4 29.4

Source: Media World Ratings Supplements for June 2001, July 2002, July 2003, July 2004, and June 2005 based on data from TV Plan/TNS.

2005). Its monthly audience reach equals 83.9 percent, with Kanal 1 trailing second at 55.2 percent (Media World, June ratings, 2005). Not surprisingly, bTVs formula for success includes a strong dose of Western entertainment programming. In addition to such internationally popular staples as Funniest People and Animals, bTV offers Bulgarian viewers a taste of American television with such shows as Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, Dharma and Greg, Married with Children, Vital Signs, Fast Lane, Ally McBeal, and more recently Mad about You, Malcolm in the Middle, and 24. BBCs series Hello Hello provides the only European flavor to bTVs programming. bTVs greatest success though proved to be talk shows refracted through the prism of national culture. The format was introduced in 2002 when bTV gave a popular Bulgarian TV personality, Slavi Trifonov, its weekly 10 p.m. slot for a live talk show. Slavis Show, which closely emulates the format of David Lettermans show, became an instantaneous hit and has been the most popular TV show in Bulgaria since then. With its entertaining format and famous personality features, Slavis Show has been attracting almost 25 percent of the viewers between the 15 and 35 demographic (Media World, January ratings, 2002). The show became so popular that it hosted one of the presidential debates in the fall of 2001 (Popova, 2001c). Its political and satirical overtones mixed with Western TV show formats, including a live band, a dance troop, a famous sofa, and fake reporters in imaginary, socially oriented reporting projects proved to be an immediate success. Interestingly, bTVs victorious ascent translates to the arena of serious programming as well. The evening news on Kanal 1 has been the most widely followed program among the Bulgarian civic-minded audiences for decades. It was not uncommon to see empty streets around 8 p.m., when the news broadcast started. The popularity of this regular half-an-hour newscast, Around the World, is exemplified by the fact that it has been commonly called the institution Around the World. Yet, early in 2002, the evening news on



bTV, which up until that point was broadcast 30 minutes prior to the beginning of Around the World, started gaining momentum. Among the numerous explanations for bTVs rapid success was the programming decision to end the news program 15 minutes after the start of Around the World so that viewers expecting to see the weather and the sports news would not switch to Kanal 1. By March that same year, bTV became the leader in the news category as well (see Table 11.3). This trend has remained steady since then, although bTVs news now ends at 8 sharp, right at the start of Kanal 1s news. Naturally, bTVs ratings lead was coupled with a lead in the volume of advertising. Until 1999, Kanal 1 held the monopoly in the Bulgarian advertising market with 25 million leva ($14 million) in profits for that year (Popova, 2001a). Declining ratings after the arrival of bTV, however, were accompanied by a migration of advertisers to the point where bTV became the undeniable leader on the Bulgarian advertising market (see Figure 11.2). The popularity of Slavis Show brought bTV 14.5 million leva in advertising revenues for the period JanuarySeptember 2001 alone, thus making the allowed 12 minutes of advertising per hour the most expensive advertising time in the history of Bulgarian broadcasting (Popova, 2001b). This advertising boom further illuminates the solid grasp that bTV managed to gain over the advertising dollars in Bulgaria. In comparison to bTVs widening advertising clout, Kanal 1 was only permitted to advertise 15 minutes for its entire

TABLE 11.3 Ratings for the Evening News for Kanal 1, bTV, and Nova TV, JanuaryMarch, 2002

Average rating in percentages for viewers of 15+ Channel Kanal 1 Kanal 1 Kanal 1 Kanal 1 bTV bTV bTV Nova TV Nova TV Program Around the world8 p.m. Around the world10 p.m. News in Turkish Around the world4:50 p.m. News7:30 p.m. News10 p.m. News2:30 a.m. Calendar7:30 p.m. Calendar10 p.m. January 2002 20.3 4.0 12.1 11.7 19.5 16.3 * 1.1 0.7 February 2002 19.2 3.0 9.8 9.1 20.4 15.4 0.4 1.2 0.8 March 2002 16.9 6.4 7.5 8.3 21.9 14.6 0.6 1.6 1.1

Source: Media World Ratings Supplement for April 2002 based on data from TV Plan/TNS.



24-hour broadcast, most of which was also heavily dominated by a group of companies closely associated with Krasimir Gergov (Popova, 2004). Popova (2004) noted that the influence of . . . Gergov still remains controversial; officially, he is represented as a consultant to bTV executive director Albert Parsons (p. 103). bTVs success with advertisers is attributed not only to the popular appeal of its programs but also to its flexible marketing style (Popova, 2001c). From the very beginning, its competitive prices far outstripped the advertising offers Kanal 1 could make. Kanal 1 was also slow to proportionally adjust its advertising rates to dropping ratings, which brought losses amounting to 10 percent of its market share for the year 2001 alone (Private TV, 2001). An interesting footnote in this development was a clause in the election law, which prohibited political advertising on Kanal 1 (Popova, 2004). As a national forum, Kanal 1 was prohibited from airing political ads in the 2001 presidential elections, thus allowing bTV to become the major venue for political ads and presidential debates and the first stop for political candidates. This odd setup positioned bTV as a private channel with a public service function and served to symbolically grant it the status of the dominant channel on the air.
20000 18000 16000 14000 thousand leva 12000 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 bTV Kanal 1 Nova TV May01 May02 May03 May04 May05

FIGURE 11.2 Volume of Advertising Revenue for bTV, Kanal 1, and Nova TV for May 2001 through 2005

Source: Media World Ratings Supplements for July, 20012005, based on data from TV Plan/TNS.



In July 2003, after a series of legal battles, Nova TV was finally granted a national broadcasting license thus becoming the third national broadcaster. Its positioning though remains peculiar for the following reasons (Dimitrova, 2003). First, unlike bTV, Nova TV was not a freshly created national broadcaster. It had been in existence since 1994 as a cable channel covering certain parts of Bulgaria, and the capital in particular. Second, because of its long presence on the Bulgarian media market as cable operator, Nova TV had an established audience (Dimitrova, 2003). With 4045 percent of the regular cable audiences (Dimitrova, 2003). It is still too early to gauge the psychological effects of this newly acquired national status on advertisers, yet, it is important to note that Nova TVs espousal of reality TV has been increasingly winning advertisers and audiences (see Figure 11.2).


This study approached the creation of the first private national channel in Bulgaria, Murdochs bTV, from the theoretical perspective of globalization. According to this perspective, the privatization of Bulgarias airwaves was parallel to similar developments in Eastern Europe where state control of the broadcasting system was regarded as one of the last remnants of Communism. Not surprisingly also, and in line with similar developments around the world, the key players, including Bulgarias three major bidders for the national license, were everything but of national origin. Fledgling democracies such as Bulgaria did not have the know-how, the technical base, or the capital required to launch a major enterprise such as a 24-hour news and entertainment channel. Yet, despite the whiff of globalization, the arrival of foreign capital in Bulgaria opened a Pandoras box of issues. First came the problems of programming quality. Although bTV won the programming license on the basis of a proposed programming scheme that would favor national tradition and culture, its actual programming scheme failed to live up to the standards. The plan Martin Pompadour presented for a television with a global outlook and a local flavor in 1999 turned into another Fox offshoot two years later. Indeed, early in its creation bTV met the critical eye of viewers and media critics, but those voices were quickly silenced by the power of ratings. It seems that the introduction of foreign capital in Bulgaria provided yet another proof of the homogenization, or rather Americanization, of world culture. In the face of bTVs supremacy over national air, this trend has become more than a distant threat for Bulgaria. bTVs success, however, raises concerns on a different level. Murdochs bTV brought not only the success of a Western programming model to Bulgaria but is currently leading to a situation where one type of airwave monop-



oly could be traded for another. As Popova (2004) succinctly put it, bTV licensing suggested that the state monopoly on the TV market was replaced by a monopoly of the private company (p. 103). As a post-Communist country, Bulgaria carried the legacy of a heavily monopolized broadcasting system. As late as 1995, television in Bulgaria was regarded as a propaganda instrument existing to serve the interests of a ruling party. The hope behind the introduction of a privatized national channel was that it would bring improvement in quality and diversity of choice to the Bulgarian mediascape. Television, in line with Appadurais (1990) categorization, was supposed to be finally restored to its role of informing. Unfortunately, those hopes were not fully materialized. The long-time monopoly over the national airwaves of Kanal 1 was quickly superceded by a situation where bTV acquired the economic, political, and cultural stature of the main national medium. The impact of that transformation on the print and radio industries is yet to be seen. Balkan News Corporations appetite for growth has now stretched beyond the borders of Bulgaria. On April 20, 2006, News Corporation announced that its venture, Fox Televizija, formed in cooperation with partners in Serbia, was awarded a national television license for the Republic of Serbia, the larger of the two republics that comprise the country of Serbia and Montenegro, significantly increasing News Corporations economic impact in the region. Such developments carry important consequences not only in terms of quality of programming or availability of choice for a country with only three national channels such as Bulgaria, but also in terms of long-term political, economic, and cultural influences. In the presence of laws that make bTV the sole arena for political debate, the future of diverse, robust, and spontaneous televised debates on political and social issues becomes questionable. In fact, as Lazarov (2001) pointed out, during public discussions about the bidders for the first private channel, there were statements to the effect that in a country with a small advertising market like Bulgaria, it would be better for the viewers to get fewer TV channels. The advocates of this idea contended that the smaller the number of TV channels was, the more money they could get to consequently be able to invest in programs of higher quality. Regardless of the degree of economic viability and financial common sense, this rationale should not serve as the driving motive to sacrifice the diversity of voices, instrumental to building a democracy, for high quality, Western programming of questionable cultural relevance and political and social insignificance. As the report of the European Federation of Journalists (2003) on media ownership in central and eastern Europe concluded: The evidence suggests that global media corporations have become acutely aware that the one size fits all approach, which production of a standardised [sic] global product implies, does not make commercial sense in certain areas, particularly television programming, where cultural and other factors are important in determining the viewing choices of audiences (p. 64).



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Globalization and the Privatization of Radio in Greece

Influences, Issues, and Consequences



IN 1983, almost 50 years after the Greek government established the state-

controlled Radio Broadcasting Service, the movement to privatize Greek radio emerged advocating pluralism (Sims, 1990; Zaharopoulos & Paraschos, 1993).1 Composed of pirate radio broadcasters, intellectuals, and activists from all sides of the political spectrum, supporters envisioned revolutionizing radio from a state-controlled entity to a medium functioning independently within a pluralistic environment (Sims, 1990). Influenced by forces of globalization, the free radio movement has been described by many as successful, as pluralism has begun to emerge. But it also is clear that until an October 2004 government decisionruling a 2001 license and frequency allocation process as illegalthe radio enthusiasts who advocated free radio during the drive to privatize were not being served. Rather, a kind of pluralism emerged in which voices independent of political or economic interests were not cultivated or tolerated. The new media environment became dominated by a small number of wealthy businessmen with financial interests in shipping, telecommunications, and refining. In its efforts to privatize, Greek radio converged with the larger global market and moved in the direction of structuring a broadcast system similar to



the one in the United States (see also Gouliamos, 1996). The governments October 2004 decision, followed by its announcement to issue a new bid for licenses, however, suggests a possible change in the legal and administrative structure of private radio in Greece and thus the milieu for the growth of media pluralism. This study, which is based on longitudinal research conducted between 1988 and 2004,2 explores the sociological, political, and economic influences of globalization on the privatization of radio in Greece. Two emerging issues connected with globalization are addressed, the October 2004 government decision is examined, and consequences of globalization are considered.


Globalization, which occurs through the flow of ideas . . . and values across national boundaries, refers in a structural sense to the process, as well as the results of the process, that are manifested in a greater interrelatedness among nations and other institutions around the world (Levinson & Christensen, 1996, p. 113). The term is used to describe the growth and spread of investment, trade, and production, the introduction of new technology, and the spread of democracy around the world (Schaeffer, 2003, p. 1). A review of the literature suggests there are as many conceptualizations of globalization as there are disciplines (Pieterse, 2004, p. 59). The crusade to privatize Greek radio was encouraged by a number of forces (Sims, 1990) deriving from the process of globalization as theorized in the disciplines of sociology and political economy. The campaign envisioning free radio was driven by ideas and values of modernity (sociology) and free-market capitalism (political economy), which, in turn, fueled a site of cultural struggle encouraging the Greek people to contest the status quo, state-controlled media, and demand privatization.


Sociologists such as Anthony Giddens (1990) view globalization as the spread of modernity (Thussu, 2000). Privatization, an indicator of modernity, prospered in many European nations following the British governments decision to authorize creation of commercial television in 1954 and commercial radio in 1972 (Head, 1985; Levinson & Christensen, 1996; Paulu, 1981). The influence of globalization as the spread of modernity can be evidenced in the transformations that occurred in broadcasting throughout



Europe in the 1970s and 1980s; industrialized nations such as France and Italy took steps to modernize by liberalizing or privatizing their media (Browne, 1989; Fortner, 1993; Hoffman-Riem, 1987). Likewise, Spain dismantled its authoritarian regime and allowed free radio (de Moragas Spa, 1983; Pridham, 1984). Such reformations, which derived from globalization as a modernizing force, resulted in altered political leadership, as well as the deregulation, liberalization, or democratization of broadcast systems. Such ideas and values of modernity crossed borders; the Greeks also aspired to develop progressive and democratic institutions, motivating their cause to privatize radio. It became time for the Greeks to liberalize their radio. State-controlled media in Greece can be traced to 1938 when the government established the Radio Broadcasting Service (Keshishoglou, 1962). Radio remained under the control of the state until the struggle to privatize radio stimulated legislative change in 1988. According to John Metaxas (1988), professor of political science and former director of Hellenic Radio Television (ERT S.A.), a demand for more pluralistic information did not exist before the 1980s; before the 1980s, Prime Minister Karamanlis used to declare that since only the government accomplishes acts, people need only to be informed on acts accomplished by the government (Sims, 1990, p. 178). In 1983, a faction emerged advocating pluralism and demanding the right to operate private radio (Sims, 1990). Interview data from 1988 suggest that ideas and values of modernity compelled the movement, in particular, the changes occurring in radio throughout Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. According to Andreas Christodoulides (1988), director of the Special Mass Media Services and former president and managing director of Greek RadioTelevision Incorporated (ERT S.A.), a powerful force in the effort to privatize radio was the development in broadcast communications all over the world, especially in Europe. . . . [The Greeks] realized [they] needed this change in the way [they] broadcast in Greece. . . . It was time for the Greek society to take this step forward (Sims, 1990, p. 159). Vassilis Karapostolis, professor of social communication and language, concurred, stating the decision to modernize through privatization was unavoidable: At a certain point, the government and centers of political and economic power decided to follow this route. In Europe, everywhere, such changes in the media have been taking place (1988; Sims, 1990, p. 179). Other interviewees also suggested the idea to bring Greece up to date came from abroad. Vassilios Manginas, spokesperson for the Greek political party, Democratic Renewal, maintained, It was the pressure that everybody speaks about now in Europe and from Greek enterprises abroad; everybody speaks about privatization of the media (1988; Sims, 1990, p. 163). The director of the Press Office of the Panhellenic Socialist (PASOK) Movement, Nikos Athnassakis, agreed that the activities of the private radio advocates were encouraged by the commercialization of broadcasting occurring in Europe: It was mainly from . . . people who had a



clear idea of what was going on in Europe in terms of privatization of the media (1988; Sims, 1990, p. 157). The publics dissatisfaction with State media and desire for more pluralistic information inspired the Greek people to demand privatization; a number of pirate radio operators chose to broadcast illegally. Notable clandestine radio stations included Anti-logos and Channel 15. Anti-logos, affiliated with the magazine Anti, made its first broadcast in December 1983 (Papoutasakis, 1988; Sims, 1990). Broadcasting in 1985, Channel 15 was named after Article 15 of the Greek Constitution of 1975, which stated that radio shall be under the immediate control of the State (Article 15, 1975). In 1986, police arrested 17 free speech activists affiliated with Channel 15 and charged them with operating a pirate radio station in defiance of the state monopoly on broadcasting. Journalist Alexander Yotis, who was arrested with the Channel 15 group, commented on the charges brought against him: This is a human rights issue. We believe we have the constitutional right to broadcast ideas and opinions freely; with radio and television under State control, that doesnt happen (Broadcasters Arrested, 1986). There was an enormous amount of press concerning the conduct and trials of the Channel 15 commission. The publicity attracted the publics attention to the free radio movement, shaped by ideas and values of modernity, major sociological forces of globalization.


A second influence of globalization on the privatization of radio was the political and economic initiative of private business to engage in free-market capitalism. International intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) such as the European Union (EU), originating from the European Economic Community (EEC), also were political and economic forces compelling the campaign. Greece became a member of the European Union in 1981 and was aware of its role within the common market. According to Kiki (1990), Greece wanted to catch up with the European evolution . . . [and get] into line with the EEC Green Paper and proposal, which concerned the attempt at cooperation of all EC countries to unify the legal background of their broadcasting regulations (p. 24). Interview data from 1988 suggest that the privatization of radio, in fact, was advanced by the desire to create similar economic conditions and policies for broadcasting across borders through organizations such as the EEC. According to Jason Moschovitis, general director of Antenna radio, a critical bearing on the movement was related to Greeces membership in the European community: It was a kind of harmonization with the climate that exists in the European community, of which we are members (1988; Sims, 1990,



p. 165). In support, Yiannis Tzannetakos (1988), manager of Athens 98.4 radio, said, It was the general climate in all of the countries of the common market (Sims, 1990, p. 166). George Kriklanis, publisher of Greece Today, also considered privatization to be a natural result of Greeces entry into the European community. Furthermore, Kriklanis thought Greece had an image to protect and project: How does it look, if a democratic country only allows government television and radio? (1988; Sims, 1990, p. 169). Editorial director and publisher Costas Cavathas agreed: If we are members of the European community, we have to do as the rest of the countries in the community do. In every country of the EEC, municipal and private radio are free, so why not in Greece? (1988; Sims, 1990, p. 172). Spokesperson for the Church of Greece, Yiannis Hatzifotis concurred, We are now among the common market, the EEC; we must have also in Greece a freedom in radio broadcasting (1988; Sims, 1990, p. 181). Others believed the movement derived from the political and economic interests of private business to engage in free-market capitalism. Melina Serafetinidou, associate professor of sociology and mass communication, noted the pressure from business circles: On an international level, investments in radio have become very lucrative, and private initiative is eager to enter into this field, which up until now has been a complete government monopoly (1988; Sims, 1990, p. 180). Christos Pappas, member of the Committee for Television and Radio of the Communist Party of Greece, agreed: It was the pressure by the commercial interests to be active in the field of radio broadcasting (1988; Sims, 1990, p. 162). Others saw the privatization of radio as the first step toward the deregulation of television. Pandelis Kapsis, editor in chief of Top FM radio, suggested a considerable political and economic force operative in the push for free radio came from those who wanted to have private radio as a first step toward private television, (1988; Sims, 1990, p. 164). The Greeks needed only to look to Italy, where real estate magnate Silvio Berlusconi globalized Italian broadcasting by recognizing the immense potential of television as an advertising vehicle (Herman & McChesney, 1997). The idea to privatize radio for the purpose of commercializing television may have been, in effect, the most important incentive. Approximately 13 years after privatization, journalist Alexander Belios (2001) confirmed private television was the long-term objective: TV is the center of power now in Greece. Radio opened the road to the privatization of media. And, the road of privatization brought the economic interests in TV; this was the target. By the end of May 1987, the free-radio movement, inspirited by sociological, political, and economic forces of globalization, had attracted a considerable following by the public. The Greeks desire to modernize, their need to cooperate with all countries of the EEC, and the political and economic interests of private business to engage in free-market capitalismmost likely with the objective of commercializing televisionpropelled the conditions of



broadcasting to change. Stirred by the publics dissatisfaction with state media and desire for more pluralism, the people rallied to negotiate their well-being and petition for privatization. The activists realized their first legal success in 1988 with the publication of a decree that set the parameters for private radio. The decree was enacted during the administration of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), led by Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.


Several issues resulting from globalizations drive to privatize radio emerged, affecting the degree of pluralism able to develop and urging Greek radio to converge with the global market. Two of the most serious issues concerned problems related to the new regulatory structure for private radio and the collusive relationshipsknown in Greece as the diaplokithat developed between politicians and owners of the radio stations. The New Regulatory Structure for Private Radio Investigation of the failed attempts between 1988 and 2001 to develop a new legal and administrative framework for private radio reveals an experience specific to the transformation of radio broadcasting in Greece. In the years following privatization, Greece experienced several changes in political leadership. However, it was a matter related to Greeces attempt to implement the new regulatory policy for private radio that caused a proliferation of unlicensed broadcasters, resulting in the shutting down of approximately 70 Athenian radio stations by the government in 2001. Investigation of the politically and economically motivated sequence of events leading to the station closings provides additional perspective. The problems began in 1988 when the parameters for private radio were set. The Socialist government did not give any real thought to the procedure for designing a new plan for broadcasting; [T]hey followed a short-sighted policy aimed at responding to the politics of the time and to electoral speculations rather than to the needs of Greek broadcasting (Papathanassopoulos, 1990, p. 395). Although the 1988 decree concerned the criteria for the allocation and renewal of licenses, they were not exclusively written (Sims, 1990, p. 130; Vgontzas, 1988) and not fully developed (Papathanassopoulos, 2001; Petrides, 2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 204). The unclear guidelines became problematic in 1988 when the first 29 licenses were approved as the commission never announced its criteria for their allocation (Roumeliotis, 1988). It soon became evident the policy was vague and was not being enforced. Greeks who wanted to broadcast simply found a frequency and began to operate, and others did not respect their frequency allocations (Papathanassopoulos, 1990,



p. 395). As a result, the number of radio stations in Greece began to increase markedly by July 1989. According to Zaharopoulos and Paraschos (1993), Athenian radio experts agreed that many stations were going to have to close; they asserted the market could not support more than about 20 stations (see also Douatzis, 2001; Sims, 2003b). Although Law 1866, enacted under the PASOK administration in 1989, created the National Council for Radio and Television (ESR), it was not until 1995seven years after the 1988 decreethat an attempt was made to provide some regulatory organization to broadcasting through Mass Media Bill 2328. The bill was forwarded by Venizelos, the minister for press and media affairs, and then ratified; it described the procedure of how you get your license, which frequency, who is responsible, and who is not (Petrides, 2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 209). The timing of decisions concerning the new regulations for radio coincided with the national elections. Politicians needed the power of the media for reelection purposes. In January 1996, following the resignation of Papandreou, Costas Simitis was elected prime minister, and the election of September 1996 returned a PASOK majority. After the election, the government finally began to address with Ministerial Decision 68390 the problem of the overcrowded Greek airwaves. The decision proclaimed there would be 20 radio frequencies allowed in Athens (Papathanassopoulos, 2001; Sims, 2003b). The opportunity to apply for one of the frequencies was publicized, with January 17, 1997, declared as the deadline. According to Athens attorney, Antonios Petrides (2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 209), 86 owners applied to have a license for one of the 20 frequencies; owners were required to pay about 500 thousand drachmaes [approximately $1,592.00 U.S.] to apply. The procedure used to review the applications took two years and was considered questionable, if not unconstitutional, by many. According to the Venizelos law (2328/95), the ESR was required to review and rate the applications in accordance with the criteria set forth in the law. The criteria included: (1) years of operation, (2) personnel, (3) investment, and (4) programming (Koliopanos, 2001; Sims, 2003b; Trigkas, 2001).3 Two years later, in June 1999, the ESR presented a list of 66 stations, ranked from 1 to 66. Again, politics intervened. No additional action was taken until after the Greek national elections in the spring of 2000 when PASOK retained power, and Simitis was reelected prime minister.4 Following the election, the minister of the press and media, Demetris Reppas, was asked to review the legitimacy of the June 1999 decision concerning the list of 66 stations. In December 2000, a new list of stationsrated and ranked from 1 to 51was made public. According to George Trigkas, coowner of Diva radio, the rating points allocated to some of the stations were not valid. Trigkas asserted there was considerable fiddling occurring in the program category; for example, he claimed a station that had never even been on the



air, Virgin Radio, earned 10 points, the maximum number possible for the programming criterion (Sims, 2003b, p. 209; Trigkas, 2001). Although a new list of 51 stations had been made public in December 2000, it was not until February 2001 that the ESR convened to review the 1997 files, an examination that revealed numerous problems. According to Alexandridis (2001), of the 86 applicants, 45 had not submitted a complete file, 22 had, and 19 had both a complete file, as well as a temporary license. Alexandridis (2001) further claimed that the files [were] grossly outdated. The imprecise policy and lack of enforcement continued. By the spring of 2001, the radio spectrum was out of control. More than 100 stations were broadcasting on the FM band in Athens, many without a license; some stations were using more than one frequency, others were broadcasting with greater power than was permitted, and a number of licensees were operating more than 1 station. The broadcast spectrum was in a state of chaos. In February 2001, Minister Reppas unexpectedly declared that owners were allowed to apply for three new frequencies. This time each of the 51 applicants had to pay between 10 and 12 million drachmaes (approximately $25,900 U.S.) to apply (Papathanassopoulos, 2001; Sims, 2003b). Then, around March 20, 2001, although only three new frequencies were available, Minister Reppas asked an ESR member, Professor Flogaitis, to form a committee and compile . . . a new list of eight [stations] (Alexandridis, 2001). The criteria they had at their disposal when deciding which radio stations to include in the new list remain unknown, since they [were] not . . . disclosed, even to the [ESR] (Alexandridis, 2001). Committee chairman Vassilis Lambridis reportedly complained that he did not know which to use, the criteria from the first list of 66 or the new list of 51 (Alexandridis, 2001). About this time, some radio station personnel began receiving letters indirectly informing them they had been approved for licenses and frequencies even though an official announcement had not yet been posted. On March 23, Panos Koliopanos, general manager of Flash radio, stated, On the 28th of March, there will be 28 stations [given] permission to broadcast . . . [and] the rest of them will close (2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 210). Koliopanos stated that Flash had been ranked first on the list and would be given a license and a frequency. Likewise, George Neres, manager of Jeronimo Groovy radio station, stated on March 13, 2001, that although there had been no official declaration, they were within the 20 chosen ones; they had received a letter from the minister requesting technical information concerning their antenna (2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 210). Neres stated the minister gave out those letters only to the top 20 stations. And, on March 14, 2001, Antenna journalist Nancy Kalafti, said, It is for sure that Antenna has a license (2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 210). On March 26, 2001, the government announced a list of the 28 stations allowed to broadcast (Police Cordon, 2001).The list identified 20 stations



approved to receive frequencies and licenses, an additional 8 stations, which were granted a frequency and a temporary license, and 7 stations that would be considered for future approval. On March 27, 2001, police SWAT teams were sent to Mt. Hymettos where a majority of the transmitters were located to cut off the power to the nonapproved stations; nearly 70 stations broadcasting in Athens were shut down (Pulling, 2001). The government declared the transmitters were interfering with operations at the new airport, which was scheduled to open on March 29, 2001 (Nellas, 2001). The closings, which resulted in extreme economic consequences for many station owners, angered numerous broadcasters and aroused controversy among thousands of listeners. Many argued that the process used to silence the stations was illegal. Media coverage of the incident varied. The story was not covered well, if at all, by the newspapers and television stations that also owned a radio station approved to broadcast. George Trigkas, owner of Diva radio, which was shut down, described the erratic coverage:
The radio stations that are making a point of this atrocity [are] the ones that suffer themselves. The ones that have been satisfied by allowing them to transmit, because they have other radio stations or TV channels or newspapers, they are pleased with the decision. So, they make no point of pluralism. . . . One day they [are discussing the controversy] on their own TV channel, and they shout how unlawful . . . the government is. And, the next daysuddenlythis channel stops, as if by magic, there is not problem anymore. (Sims, 2003b, 211; Trigkas, 2001)

Others saw the governments actions differently; politicians, attorneys, and scholars of Greek broadcasting understood the government may have used the interference issue as a means to begin restructuring the chaotic state of Greek radio (Carr, 2001). The need to close the stations had been discussed as early as 1991; according to Zaharopoulos and Paraschos (1993), someone will have to take the . . . responsibility of closing down the more than 30 radio stations in Athens . . . and of forcing other stations to operate within the legal boundaries (p. 112). Regardless, many station owners, angered with the governments actions, chose to file lawsuits with the Greek Supreme Court; many also filed lawsuits with the European court (Petrides, 2001; Radio Stations, 2001; Sims, 2003b).5 The suits argued the ESR acted in an arbitrary . . . and illegal fashion (Loud, 2001). Some lawsuits maintained the selection process and ruling were unconstitutional; others disputed the governments reason for closing the stations. Questions were raised regarding the relationship between the transmitters and airport safety, as well as the number of frequencies that could be accommodated in Athens.6



More controversy became evident when, on April 2, Aristeidi I. Oikonomidis, resigned from the ESR to protest the procedure used to select the 8 additional stations (The Scandal, 2001). According to Alexandridis (2001), Oikonomidis was denied access to the [ESR]s records; he also implied the committee might well have misled the Council. A few weeks later in April 2001, it was decided the Court should reexamine the selection process of the last 8 radio licenses as possibly illegal (Papathanassopoulos, 2001). In June 2001, the State Council met to examine the appeals of 51 private stations asking for their reopening (Private Radio, 2001). Four months later, on October 23, 2001, PASOK appointed a new minister of press and mass media, Christos Protopapas. Approximately one year after the stations were closed, Protopapas signed off on 15 additional licenses for stations in the Athens region (Final Decision, 2001; Sims, 2003b, 211). The 15 stations included 7 of the 8 stations given a frequency and a temporary license in March 2001, as well as 6 of the 7 stations put on hold for future approval. Examination of the FM spectrum in August 2002 revealed at least 87 stations were broadcasting; many were on the air without a license and some with an illegal second, third, or fourth frequency (Nevradakis, 2002; Sims, 2003b). Two years after the closings, the National Broadcasting Council was not aware of how many stations were legal (Greek Parliamentary, 2003). Three years after the station closings, illegal antennas continued to be broadcasting from Mt. Hymmetos, and, according to the Greek civil aviation authority, the interference was not jeopardizing aircraft safety (Illegal Broadcast, 2004). In an effort to rejuvenate PASOK, Prime Minister Simitis called a parliamentary election in March 2004. However, hurt by a string of scandals (Carassava, 2004, A12), PASOK was unable to win the election; Costas Karamanlis, leader of the opposition party, New Democracy, won a strong mandate. Karamanlis attributed the weakness of PASOK to corruption born out of being too long in power (Melloan, 2004, p. A15). Greece had developed a reputation for corruption. According to the 2002 results of Transparency Internationals Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Greece was rated the most corrupt country in the 15member European Union (Lambsdorff, 2002). Corruption, defined by the CPI as the abuse of public office for private gain, continued to be a concern for Greece in the 2003 CPI report where it was described as worryingly high (Lambsdorff, 2003). The Diaplok A second issue emerging from globalizations impetus to privatize radio in Greece was the formation of collusive relationships between politicians and owners of radio stations. Ultimately, the actions by the government to shut down the stations did not solve the problem of the overcrowded airwaves;



instead, the closings functioned to intensify the dealings between the media owners and the politicians, the new power game (Papathanassopoulos, 1999, p. 400) in Greece that determines who will control public opinion and apply pressure in the political arena. The Greeks coined the word diaplok to describe this interplay, which refers to the collusion or interlocking relationship of politics and government of Greeces parliamentary republic with the owners of the radio stations (Koufopoulos, 2001; OECD, 2001; Sims, 2003b). Media often reflect the culture in which they exist (Merrill, 1974). In the case of the Greek culture, some of the problems with the radio stations are evidence of collusion within the government. As Hearst and Smith reported in 2004, the Greek culture is one that many say is dominated by a corrupt, back-scratching mentality (p.15). Commenting on the diaplok and the length of time it took for the Greek government to attempt regulation of the FM spectrum, Antonis Manitakis, former president of the ESR, said, The government . . . fostered chaos and indulgence so it could administerin a blunt and opportunist fashionthe radio and television interests. It invoked expediency and the public interest in order to receive selective political benefits (Alexandridis, 2001). As Belios pointed out in 1988, Political power in Greece is a miserable, narrow, authoritative, purely deeply fascist conception in . . . propaganda, mass media information, newspapers, etc. (1988; Sims, 1990, p. 138).


Degree of Pluralism Research in 1988 revealed mixed evaluations regarding how much pluralism had arisen immediately after globalizations momentum to privatize Greek radio (Sims, 1990). Many believed that privatization had dismantled the national broadcast system and broken the state monopoly of news production, resulting in greater access to information and more discussion of political and societal problems (Sims, 1990). As Yiannis Tzannetakos (1988), manager of Athens 98.4 radio, explained, It was a radical revolution, because the electronic monopoly on information was broken (Sims, 1990, p. 207). According to Papathanassopoulos (1999), Greeks were provided with a plethora of information about politics and politicians, information of a sort that would never have appeared in an earlier period (p. 398). Other interviewees, however, alleged a problem of access still existed, evidenced by the fact that most of the licenses and frequencies were being allocated to publishing companies and well-financed investors (Roumeliotis, 1988; Sims, 1990). Christos Pappas, spokesperson for the Communist Party, reported, All of the frequencies were given to the commercial interests and



not to the real amateurs. . . . The people who have the money can control communication; they can control the flow of information (1988; Sims, 1990, pp. 20001). Papathanassopoulos (1999) described the impact of business interests on the media:
These interests try to influence public opinion and to exert pressure in the political arena. For example, the main owners of Mega Channel (Lambrakis, Tegopoulos, Bobolas & Vardinoyannis) are also the owners of the most influential Athenian newspapers. . . . Greek media owners want to have the upper hand in order to put pressure on politicians because of the huge financial interests they hold in telecommunications, shipping, refining and other industries. This pressure is useful when fighting for government contracts. (p. 399)

As Papathanassopoulos suggested, a new relationship between the media particularly its ownersand politicians clearly had been fostered. In 2001, almost 13 years after privatization, interview data (N = 20 interviewees) suggested a majority (55 percent) of the respondents believed pluralism had clearly developed, 35 percent stated there had been some development of a condition of pluralism, and 10 percent reported a condition of pluralism had not developed (Sims, 2003b). Data gathered from questions about the concepts of access and control provided further perspective. Several interviewees, who agreed that pluralism had clearly developed, commented on issues concerning access. Nikos Athanassakis, the general secretary of PASOK, explained, If you compare it with the previous period of having just the state-owned radio, it is obvious that there are other, different, conditions for pluralism by just adding radio stations. . . . For sure, we have higher pluralism today than before (2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 207). Theodoros Roussopoulos, spokesperson for the New Democracy Party, stated, You can listen to anything now. . . . You can hear members of the Parliamentmembers of this partytalking against their president! (2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 207). Michaelis Papayannakis, member of the European parliament, said, You couldnt find any kind of opinion . . . which is not expressed somewhere, some way, in some radios (2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 207). George Kolios, owner of an Athens Internet caf, added, There are a lot of stations of various kinds. . . . There is a great difference between now and fifteen years back (2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 207). Although some interviewees expressed positive comments regarding the publics ability to access diverse radio sources of information, others questioned such access and remarked about the power of the diaplok. Journalist Alexander Belios (2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 208), who believed there had been some development of a condition of pluralism, commented on the collusive relationships:



Diaplok is a sick embracing between economic power and political power. In 1989, the government [gave] a kind of limited monopoly to five or six people, who were before, owners of newspapers, etc. Now, the radio stations are owned by people who are businessmen, doing their great jobs, earning their billions of money through the State. The government has created a monster of another kind of power. Now, the politicians are controlled by the economic power they permitted to grow. Now, the government doesnt control the people that own the three-four big TV stations and radios; they are controlled by them. . . . There is a balance of terror. The [media] owners dont attack the government, as [long] as they have their big commissions from the State work.

Journalist Vassilis Koufopoulos (2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 208) also believed a condition of pluralism had not developed: We have diaplok. . . . We have a lot of radio stations since 1988, but we dont have pluralism. . . . The owners of the radio stations are the same who own the TV and the newspapers. Such comments question the publics ability to access diverse sources of information; they also reveal influences of both economic and political control, all of which had an effect on the condition of pluralism. In sum, two significant issues, resulting from globalizations drive to privatize radio, played a decisive role in shaping pluralism. First, the unsound policy for allocating licenses and frequencies was a means by which politicians could control the airwaves. The control imposed by the governments decision to take two years to review the license applications, the control enforced by both the ESRs questionable review procedure, and the control exercised by the government through the closing of the stations are evidence of the problems with the legal and administrative framework for private radio. Such political, legal, and economic controls encroached on the publics ability to access diverse sources of information. As New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis stated, the so-called privatizations under PASOK werent real because the government never relinquished control (Melloan, 2004, A15). The second and related issue affecting pluralism was the diaplok; the men comprising the diaplok financed the convergence of Greek radio with the larger global market.


Increasing economic and political connectivityeffects of globalizationcan be seen in Greece, where a homogenization of the media materialized. Greek radio converged with the global economy. Ownership of radio stations in Greece became concentrated, and a small number of wealthy and powerful



businessmen took action to control media properties (see also Gouliamos, 1996, p. 94). Aristedis Alafouzos, Christos Bobolas, Socrates Kokkalis, Minos Kyriakou, Christos Lambrakis, Christos Tegopoulos, and Vardis Varinoyannis emerged from the globalization process as media barons. These mensome of whom are financially connected with each otherown newspapers, magazines, publishing companies, Internet portals, radio stations, television stations, companies that manufacture electronics equipment, and more. Globally connected, these men have economic interests throughout the world. Players involved in the diaplok, they controlled how and why Greek radio moved in certain directions after privatization so that their actions dictated the kind of pluralism that developed. The effects of globalization were evident in the convergence or growing sameness of radio ownership, as well as programming. According to Koufopoulos, Everyday, they have the same product for radio [and] TV (2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 208). As Belios (2001) explained, The diaplok creates the whole quality of information and the forming of public opinion (Sims, 2003b, p. 208). The diaplok, however, may have been affected by the Greek Council of States 2004 ruling concerning the illegality of the 2001 licensing and frequency allocations by the Greek Ministry of Press and Mass Media. The council revoked the licenses of 15 radio stations and deemed illegal the nonissuance of licenses to stations Peiraiki Ekklisia, Radio Gold, and Diva, all of which had filed lawsuits (Radio Shake-up, 2004; SBS Broadcasting SA, 2004; Trigkas, 2004).The action challenged the diaplok, promoted transparency in ownership, exemplified accountability by the government, and may be evidence of a significant shift in the regulation of private radio in Greece. Following the 2004 decision, the Greek Ministry announced it would initiate a new radio license application process. If it is able to follow through on its proclamation, then an opportunity exists to build a media environment truly conducive to pluralism.


The global move from state regulation to market-driven policies is evident throughout the world, including Greece, which must decide how to respond to privatization and globalization. The globalization process still has the potential to offer enormous opportunities to the emerging Mediterranean democracy. As Ross (2001) states, Greece is still a relative newcomer to privatization. . . . [I]f approached right, Greeces delayed entry into the world of privatization could be beneficial, by providing the opportunity to learn from the experiences of . . . its partners in the European Union (p. 3). Greece now finds itself at a crossroads. The prospect exists for Greece to craft a long-term and fully developed broadcast policy that functions well



within the European Union and incorporates the needs of Greek broadcasting. The free radio activists from the 1980s envisioned radio that strives for quality, objectivity and cultural growth (Zaharopoulos, 1989, p. 15); Greece must discover how to realize such a vision, as well as the objectives intended in the Greek Constitution. With a population of 10.5 million people, Greece is a growing advertising market, where money can be earned through convergence with the global economy. The Athens market, however, cannot financially support more than about 20 stations. The problem is economic, and the issue centers on how to enforce the transparency in ownership and control. The introduction of new technology, which comes with globalization, may offer some solutions. Globalization is being shaped by new technologies such as Internet Web casting, satellite radio, and digital audio broadcasting (DAB) that may provide realistic responses to the concentration of ownership and overcrowded Greek airwaves. Such technologies are becoming more common in Greece. Several unlicensed radio stations began broadcasting via satellite in 2004 (Nevradakis, 2004). DAB entered the market, as well, and in 2004 Radio Gold commenced broadcasting a DAB signal (Nevradakis, 2004). As Koliopanos, director of Flash radio explained, In the forthcoming five years, DAB frequency will be the dominant frequency in our radios; it will replace FM (2001; Sims, 2003a, p. 20). Greece still has the opportunity to shape an environment conducive to free expression. If globalization means the spread of democracy, then the right to broadcast is important, as is a license and frequency allocation process perceived to be fair and democratic. The October 2004 decision by the Greek Council of State concerning the constitutionality of the 2001 review procedure followed by the governments claim to reallocate frequencies and licenses are evidence of a promising transformation for private radio in Greece. If the government can institute and enforce a proper regulatory plan for analog, digital, and satellite radio, then it may be possible to balance the diaplok, safeguard pluralism in the media, and protect the public interest. The government, the media owners, and the Greek people have the opportunity to carefully consider how to cultivate a culture that allows for the growth of pluralism. As journalist Kalafti said, Pluralism is not something that comes from God; it is something that one has to earn and work at to create and preserve (Kalafti, 2001; Sims, 2003b, p. 213).

NOTES 1. Pluralism is defined as a condition present when a broadcast system has . . . competing components [encouraged] by differing motivations for programming (Head, 1985, pp. 6, 414).



2. This chapter is based on research conducted multimethodologically, employing a historical-descriptive approach, as well as survey. The 1988 study (Sims, 1990) was based on data gathered from over 40 face-to-face audio-taped interviews conducted in Athens, Piraeus, and Thessaloniki. The 2001 study was based on data gathered from 22 face-to-face audio-taped interviews conducted in Athens (Sims, 2003a; Sims, 2003b). The nonrandom and purposive sample was composed of (1) government representatives, (2) spokespersons from the political parties represented by the Greek parliament, (3) directors of the private radio stations, (4) journalists, (5) attorneys, (6) a Church of Greece spokesperson, (7) representatives from the state radio (ERA), (8) university professors, and (9) an Internet caf owner. Ten of the participants from the 1988 sample were interviewed again in the 2001 study. 3. The criteria did not include audience ratings. In 2001, there were at least two audience research companies in Greece, including Opinion and Focus. Koliopanos (2001), who alleged a problem existed with audience ratings research in Greece, said There are two research companies that have made the ratings, and they are very contradictory. Heretakis (2000) reported problems in the reliability of the ratings, as did Zaharopoulos & Paraschos (1993). 4. The election resulted in 53 percent (158 seats) of the parliament composed of members of PASOK, 42 percent (125) of the New Democracy Party, 3 percent (11 seats) of the Communist Party (KKE), and 2 percent (6 seats) of Synaspismos (World Factbook, 2000). 5. Stations filing lawsuits included Diva, En Lefko, and Lampsi (Binios, 2001; Cavathas, 2001; Petrides, 2001; Sims, 2003b, 211; Trigkas, 2001; War, 2001), as well as Gold, Atlantis, Radio Asty, Peiraiki Ekklisia, Shock, Radio Greece FM Stereo, A18, and Chroma (Loud, 2001; Nevradakis, 2003). 6. Two Athens Polytechnic University studies differed on the number of frequencies that could be accommodated. According to Papathanassopoulos (2001), the two studies provided conflicting results, because each was guided by a different question to research (Two studies, 2001).

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Notes on the Editors and Contributors

ED I TO RS ISAAC A. BLANKSON is associate professor and director of technology in the

Department of Speech Communication at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He teaches public relations, communication research, electronic media, and intercultural/international communication. He has published on the topics of media in new and emerging democracies, language and broadcasting, public relations practices in developing societies, and media and civil society. His most recent works appeared in the International Journal of Communication, Global Media Journal, and a D. Tilson and E. Alozie edited volume, Toward the Common Good: Perspectives in International Public Relation (Allyn & Bacon, 2004). Dr. Blankson was awarded the Outstanding Doctoral Student in the School of Telecommunications, Ohio University, in 1999. He received his PhD in communications and MA in international affairs from Ohio University, MPhil. in human geography from the University of Oslo, Norway, and BA (Hons) in geography from the University of Ghana. A native of Ghana, Dr. Blankson continues to serve as a media and public relations consultant in Ghana.
PATRICK D. MURPHY is professor and chair of the Department of Mass

Communications at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he teaches transnational media, mass communication theory, and documentary media. He is a former Fulbright-Garca Robles Fellow, and has served as a frequent visiting professor at the School of Communication and Humanities, Instituto Tecnolgico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), Quertaro Campus, Mexico. He has published on the topics of media reception, ethnographic method, the political economy of transnational media, and Latin American cultural theory. His work has appeared in Communication



Theory, Cultural Studies, The Howard Journal of Communication, The Journal of Communication Inquiry, Journal of International Communication, Popular Communication, and Qualitative Inquiry. Murphy is coeditor of Global Media Studies: Ethnographic Perspectives (Routledge, 2003) and recently guest edited a special issue of the journal Global Media and Communication on communication and culture in Latin America.

CONTRIBU TORS ELZA IBROSCHEVA is assistant professor in mass communications at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She received her MA in journalism and PhD in mass communication and media arts from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. In 2003, Ibroscheva was awarded a research fellowship to complete her dissertation on the mechanisms of creating stereotypes of Russians and eastern Europeans among U.S. opinion makers. She has also been the recipient of a number of research and study grants, including awards from the University of Oslo, Norway, and Central European University. Her research interests include international and political communication, effects of globalization on culture, and gender representations in the media. DAL YONG JIN is assistant professor at Simon Fraser University, Canada. He

received his MA from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas (Austin) in 2000, and he finished his PhD from the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2004. Before coming to the United States in 1998, he worked as a newspaper reporter for 10 years in Seoul, Korea. His major research and teaching interests are the political economy of culture and media, globalization and international media, telecommunications policy, information and communication technologies, and critical cultural studies. Jin is currently interested in doing research on the macrolevel effects of the diffusion of information and communication technologies and their policy implications. He is the author of a book entitled Hands On/Hands Off: The Korean State and the Market Liberalization of the Communication Industry, and his recent work has appeared in several scholarly journals, including Media, Culture and Society, Telecommunications Policy, Television and New Media, Information, Communication and Society, and Gazette.
MARWAN M. KRAIDY is director of the Arab Media and Public Life (AMPLE) project, assistant professor of international relations and international communication at American University, and scholar-in-residence at the Annenberg School for Communication. His books include Global Media Studies: Ethnographic Perspectives (co-editor with Patrick D. Murphy, Rout-



ledge, 2003) and Hybridity, or, The Cultural Logic of Globalization (singleauthored, Temple University Press, 2005). This chapter is reprinted by permission from Reality Television and Politics in the Arab World (Preliminary Observations), Transnational Broadcasting Studies [peer-reviewed paper edition] 2 (1), 728, also available It is drawn from Kraidys current book project funded by a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the United States Institute of Peace.
LAURA LENGEL is associate professor in the School of Communication at

Bowling Green State University. She was a Fulbright Scholar and American Institute of Maghreb Studies Fellow in Tunisia (19931994). Her research has centered on culture, technology, international education, and media representation. Her books, Intercultural Communication and Creative Practice (Praeger, 2005), Casting Gender: Women and Performance in Global Contexts (with J. T. Warren, Peter Lang, 2005), Computer Mediated Communication: Social Interaction on the Internet (with C. Thurlow and A. Tomic, Sage, 2004), and Culture and Technology in the New Europe (Ablex, 2000), and articles, which have appeared in, among others, Text and Performance Quarterly, Journal of Communication Inquiry, and Convergence: The Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, address international and intercultural communication, technology, gender and communication, and research methodology.
NOEMI MARIN is assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Florida Atlantic University. She is also a Fulbright Expert for Southeastern Europe, teaching for Fulbright International Summer Institute in Bulgaria since 2003. Her research focuses on culture, rhetoric, international and intercultural communication, technology, and media representation. Currently the editor of the online academic journal The Journal of Literacy and Technology, Marins scholarship has been published in edited volumes, such as Intercultural Communication and Creative Practice (Praeger, 2005), Advances in the History of Rhetoric (ASHR, 2004), Migration, Interaction and Conflict in Construing European Democracy (Giuffre, Milan, 2003), Realms of Exile: Nomadism, Diasporas and Eastern European Voices (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), and Culture and Technology in the New Europe: Civic Discourse in Transformation in PostCommunist Nations (Ablex, 2000). Her scholarly articles appear in international and national journals such as MigrationA European Journal of International Migration and Ethnic Relations, East European Politics and Societies, Romanian Journal of Communication and Journalism, Czas Kultury, and The Journal of Journalism and Communication. DREW O. McDANIEL is director of Ohio Universitys Southeast Asian Studies Center and professor in the School of Telecommunications, where he previously



served for 16 years as director. He received a Fulbright Southeast Asia Regional Research Fellowship in 1990 and was coordinator of the joint Ohio University/MARA Institute of Technology masters degree program in mass communication in Malaysia during 19961997. He has served as the U.S. representative to the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development in Kuala Lumpur since 1981. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of research methods, electronic technologies, and international communication. His research focuses on comparative media, mainly among Asian countries, particularly those in Southeast Asia. He is author of Broadcasting in the Malay World (1994), Fundamentals of Communication Electronics (fourth edition, 2002), and Electronic Tigers of Southeast Asia (2002).
CHUKA ONWUMECHILI is professor of communications at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland. He has worked in broadcasting for the Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation (OGBC), the Anambra State Ministry of Information, and the Anambra State Television (ATV 50) in Nigeria. Dr. Onwumechilis scholarship on telecommunications liberalization in Nigeria has appeared in Africa Media Review, The Howard Journal of Communication, International Journal for Intercultural Relations (IJIR), Telecommunications Policy, Info, and as book chapters. He is also author of several books, including Reform, Organizational Players, and Technological Developments in African Telecommunications: An Update (Mellen, New York, 2003), and coeditor of Press and Politics in Africa (Mellen, New York, 2000). MARIA RAICHEVA-STOVER is assistant professor in journalism and new media at Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas, where she teaches media writing, design, and theory courses. She received her doctoral degree in mass communication from Southern Illinois University in 2005. She has been involved in USAID projects on the empowerment of women. Her research interests include the study of eastern European media, social capital formation, and small community newspapers in the United States. Most recently she was awarded a research grant to examine the effects of reality television in Bulgaria. KULDIP R. RAMPAL is professor of mass communication at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg. His research on political communication, media as instruments of soft power, global news and information flow, media ethics, press regulation, and journalism education has appeared in a variety of books and journals, including Journalism Quarterly, Journalism Educator, and Gazette: The International Journal for Mass Communication Studies. He has coauthored a book, International Afro Mass Media: A Reference Guide (Greenwood, 1996), and coedited Media, Sex, Violence and Drugs in the Global Village (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001). He has traveled to some 30 countries



in connection with his research work. Dr. Rampal was awarded CMSUs Byler Distinguished Faculty Award in 1992. He was a visiting senior fellow at Singapores National University during 19921993 and at Nanyang Technological University during 19941995, where he also served as a part-time assistant news editor at The Straits Times. Dr. Rampal received a PhD in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism and MS in journalism from Boston University. A native of India, he worked for the Indian Express before coming to the United States.
RICK ROCKWELL is associate professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, DC. He has more than two decades of experience in the media: as a reporter, producer, and news manager. He has worked for ABC News as a TV and radio producer, the Discovery Channel as a senior producer, and The PBS NewsHour as a freelance reporter. He is a contributor to the book Latin Politics, Global Media and to such publications as The Baltimore Sun and In These Times. He has covered the last two Mexican presidential elections and the 2001 Nicaraguan elections for various news organizations, including the Associated Press. He is author (with Noreene Janus) of Media Power in Central America (University of Illinois Press), winner of Choice Magazines Outstanding Academic Books for 2004. In addition to his book, Rockwell has authored or coauthored 17 book chapters, government reports, and several academic journal articles. During 20032004, he was the MCI-APSA Communication Scholar for the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowships, focusing on communication policy in the U.S. Senate. MEHDI SEMATI is associate professor of communication at Eastern Illinois

University. His writings on transnational media, popular media and the Middle East, international communication, and cultural politics of global communication have appeared in various academic journals. He coedited Studies in Terrorism: Media Scholarship and Enigma of Terror (2003) and edited New Frontiers in International Communication Theory (2004). He is the editor of a forthcoming volume entitled Media, Culture, and Society in Iran: Living with Theocracy and Globalization.
DOOBO SHIM is assistant professor in the Information and Communications Management Programme (ICM) at the National University of Singapore, where he teaches and does research on media studies within critical, cultural, and historical perspectives. He finished his PhD thesis in 2000 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under professor Robert McChesney and Stephen Vaughn on the impact of globalization in Korean media industry. Since then, he has worked on dynamics of Asian media industries and international communication theories. He has research publications in the Journal



of Communication Inquiry, Prometheus, and three book chapters. He has presented his research at internationally recognized academic conventions and has received the Outstanding Scholarship Award from the International/ Intercultural Communication Division of the National Communication Association and the Second-best Paper Award at the Global Fusion 2001 Conference.
JUDY RENE SIMS is professor of communication and journalism at the Uni-

versity of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Her research interests include Greek radio, HDTV, coverage of diverse populations in local TV news, children and television violence, and political communication. She earned her MA from Humboldt State University, where she researched radio deregulation by gathering data from a nationwide sample of National Radio Broadcasters Association members. In 1988, Sims, who is Greek-American, documented the movement to privatize Greek radio. Thirteen years later, she explored the degree of pluralism that had developed in Greece since 1988 and investigated why the government closed 70 Athenian radio stations in 2001. Sims honors include the 2003 UW-Eau Claire Excellence in Advising Award, the 1998 Coltrin Excellence in Communications Education Award (International Radio and Television Society), and the Central States Communication Association State Journal Manuscript Award (1997). She was selected to attend the 1998 Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Faculty Seminar, and she completed a National Association of Television Program Executives internship. Sims has published scholarly journal articles, presented her research at the Broadcast Education Association and National Communication Association conferences, and is coauthor of a chapter in Facilitating Group Communication in Context: Innovations and Applications with Natural Groups (L. R. Frey (Ed.) (2006), Hampton Press).
KENT WILKINSON is regents professor in Hispanic and International Com-

munication in the College of Mass Communications at Texas Tech University. He is an international communication specialist whose research interests include Latin America and Spanish-language media in the United States. Wilkinson has worked as an independent consultant in the medical translation field and is involved in collaborative projects to improve healthcare for Hispanics residing in West Texas. His recent publications have focused on language and cultural policy in Europe and North America, U.S. Latino subgroups struggle for influence in U.S. Spanish-language television, ethnic-oriented media advocacy, and shifts in Mexican television associated with economic reform and political change. Wilkinson is coeditor of Mass Media and Free Trade: NAFTA and the Cultural Industries (University of Texas Press, 1996).


Abacha, S., 130, 131, 135, 136 Abdallah (King of Jordan), 185 Abdi, A., 148 Abou Nasr, M., 185 Abu-Lughod, L., 181 Adler, I., 207 Africa. See also individual countries: authoritarianism in, 18; civil unrest and decline in quality of media in, 17, 18; democratization and role of media in, 16; development of media independence in, 1531; economic decline and state media system, 18; efforts to strengthen media landscape in, 2730; electoral politics in, 23; emerging roles for independent media in, 2022; external challenges to media in, 2326; Francophone, 15, 16; harassment of media practitioners in, 23, 24, 25; historical issues in media development, 1618; inheritance of colonial leadership by elites in, 17; internal challenges to media in, 2627; lack of professionalism in media in, 26; loss of leaders in postindependence era, 17, 18; media during colonial era, 1617; media in

postindependence era, 1718; nationalism in, 17; pluralism in, 1531; political development in, 17; political role of media in, 1617; pressure for economic liberalization on, 18; significance of independence for media in, 17; transition to democracy in, 15; weak rule of law in, 25 Africa Charter on Broadcasting, 30 African Independent Television (AIT), 136, 137 Agnew, J., 4 Ahmadinejad, M., 146 Aihe, O., 131 Ajani, J., 131 Akwule, R., 129 Alafouzos, A., 252 Alamilla, I., 39 Al-Atar, E., 186 Alatorre, J., 205 Alavitabar, A., 148, 149 Albarran, A.B., 4 Al-Dakhil, M.M., 190 Alemn, A., 43, 44 Alexandridis, T., 246, 249 Alfaro, R.M., 7 Alisky, M., 41, 46




Al Rais (television), 180, 182, 186189, 191 Al-Riyadh (newspaper), 190 Alterman, J., 182 Amaize, E., 131 Anaegbonam, W., 129 Andreev, S., 52, 67 Angola: radio in, 19; refusal of open media access in, 15 Annan, Kofi, 54 Ansah, P.A., 20 Ansah, P.A.V., 16, 17 Appadurai, A., 226, 235 Arab countries: democratization in, 194196; dynamics of contention in, 180; foreign programming in, 183; gender relations in, 187, 188; press in, 183; reality television and, 179196; white Arabic in, 183 Argentina: Clarn in, 6 Armenia: media-related educational projects in, 60 Artz, L., 4, 5 Arzu Irigoyen, A., 39 Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development, 88 Asre Azadegan (newspaper), 149 Asre Ma (publication), 149 Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ), 109, 110, 117 Athanassakis, N., 241, 250 Authoritarianism, 18, 102, 241; in Central America, 3548; media coverage of, 21; national broadcasting systems under, 15; in Nicaragua, 4244; in Nigeria, 123; in Panama, 44; role of press under, 6 Azcrraga Jean, E., 210 Azcrraga Milmo, E., 41, 203, 210 Babangida, I., 129 Babbie, E., 221 Bahzad, A.I., 187

Bakardjieva, M., 220, 224, 225 Balint, M., 55 Barber, B.R., 223 Barricada (newspaper), 44 Barry, T., 45 Bashiriyeh, H., 146 BBC, 61, 124, 134, 139, 154, 223 Beatty, W., 181 Bedie, H.K., 23 Belejack, B., 208 Belgian Congo: colonial era media in, 16 Belios, A., 250 Ben Hamza, M., 54 Benin: independent media commission in, 28; media regulatory bodies in, 28 Berbic, M., 58 Berlusconi, S., 143 Bezares, M., 210 Bhabha, H.K., 54 Biya, P., 23 Blankson, I.A., 7, 1531, 52 Bobolas, C., 252 Bonde, B., 126, 137, 138 Bonnah-Koomson, A., 18 Borton, J., 89 Bosnia-Herzegovina: Centers for Civic Cooperation in, 59, 61; irresponsible journalism in, 58; media-related educational projects in, 60; Radio Kameleon in, 58 Botswana: independent media commission in, 28; Mass Media Communications Bill, 24 Bounds, A., 40 Bourgault, L.M., 6, 15, 17, 18, 127 Boyd-Barrett, O., 52 Brazil: broadcasting systems in, 36; Globo in, 6, 40 Broadcasting. See also Media, radio; Media, television: cable, 4; collusion with state and, 36, 37, 38, 39; as connector of society, 37; language, 2, 7, 21; legal/administrative frameworks



for, 2; monopoly, 3548; partnerships, 51; political systems and, 36; politicians involvement in, 114; propaganda dissemination and, 37; protection of, 29; public interest, 29, 37; public service and, 37; satellite, 4; state control over, 123; transnational partnerships, 2 Broadcasting systems, national: dismantling of, 2, 6; transformation of, 15, 18 Brosnan, G., 40 Browne, D., 241 Bruhn, K., 208, 210, 212 Brumberg, D., 148 Bucharest Declaration (2002), 56 Buhari, A.I., 22 Bulgaria: American programming in, 229; audience shares in, 225tab; Bulgarian National Television (BNT) in, 224; cable operations in, 225; Council of Electronic Media (CEM) in, 226; cultural effects of foreign capital on broadcasting in, 220; democratization in, 220; in European Union, 53; foreign ownership in, 225; globalization and, 221222; history of television in, 224226; initial programming distribution plans for television in, 228230; interest in Western-type programming in, 220; licensing procedures in, 226227; media ownership in, 227, 228; media-related educational projects in, 60; Movement for Rights and Freedoms in, 226; National Movement Simeon II in, 226; private media in, 219235; public discontent with television in, 230; quality of media production in, 226; Radio and Television Act (1998) in, 226; radio in, 224; resistance to commercial broadcasting in, 220; success of television programming in, 230234

Burch, S., 54 Burkart, P., 4 Burkina Faso: Horizon FM in, 19; Information Code in, 25; intimidation of media practitioners in, 2829; Le Collectif in, 25; media protests in, 28; radio in, 25; repressive state policies in, 28 Burton, M., 61 Burundi: radio in, 24; Radio Publique Africaine in, 24 Bush, G.W., 144, 181 Caldern, F., 215 Camacho, M., 212 Cambodia: broadcasting expansion in, 93; Cambodia Institute of Human Rights (CIHR), 89, 90; Cambodian Communication Institute (CCI), 88, 89; Cambodian Peoples Party in, 86, 94; censorship in, 91; Center for Social Development (CSD), 89; corruption in, 86, 95; economic collapse in, 77; elections in, 77, 84; film industry in, 84, 85; homogeneity of population in, 79; information infrastructure in, 7778; Internet access in, 9192; investigative journalism in, 85, 86; journalist groups in, 8788; Khmer Institute for Democracy (KID), 89; Khmer Journalists Association (KJA), 87; Khmer Rouge in, 77, 7981; landmines in, 81; League of Cambodian Journalists (LC), 87; liberalization of rules for media in, 85; mass communication in, 7778; media development in, 7795; media failure to gain public confidence, 84; media in postcolonial era, 8283; media rehabilitation in, 8387; media suppression in, 79, 82; media training/education in, 8889; Municipality Radio in, 94; non-gov-



Cambodia (continued) ernmental organizations in, 89, 91, 92; occupation by Vietnam, 77, 81; peace accord in, 81; political interference in media operation, 84; political stabilization in, 7879; post-Khmer Rouge politics in, 8182; press in, 83, 85, 86; professional media organizations in, 8788; Radio Beehive in, 94; radio in, 83, 93, 94; Radio UNTAC in, 84; restrictions on foreign media in, 83; ruination of communication infrastructure in, 83; television in, 86, 87, 93, 94; TV Fark in, 94; TVK in, 93, 94; United Nations oversight in, 81, 84; urbanization in, 78; Voice of the National United Army in, 83; Womens Media Center (WMC), 89, 90, 94 Cameroon: anti-media laws in, 24; democratization in, 21; elections in, 23; media regulatory body in, 26; professionalism in media practice, 26; radio in, 26 Capital: attracting, 211; concentration of, 5; democratization of flow of, 1; foreign, 211; pursuit of, 37; structural networks of, 5 Capitalism: economic transition to, 55; free-market, 240, 242, 243, 244 Capital Morning News (newspaper), 104 Carassava, A., 248 Carazon, D., 185 Carbone, M., 52 Crdenas, C., 204, 207, 208, 210, 211, 212, 213, 216n4 Cassara, C., 54 Cavathas, C., 243 Censorship, 37, 51, 91; in Guatemala, 39, 40; in Iran, 155, 156; in Nigeria, 128; self-imposed, 18, 125; in Taiwan, 114

Censorship and Control of Entertainments Act (Malawi), 17 Center for Social Development (CSD), 89 Central African Republic: criminal penalties for media offenses in, 27 Central America: attempts to undercut democratization in, 36; authoritarianism in, 3548; broadcast media in, 3548; collusion between owners and state in, 36, 37, 38, 39; concentration of media ownership in, 35, 36; conservative viewpoints of media in, 36; political development in, 35; radio in, 35; television in, 35; transition of communication systems in, 40; vertical integration of media properties in, 35 Central Daily News (newspaper), 115 Centre Europen pour lEnseignement Suprieur (UNESCO-CEPES), 62 Cerezo, V., 38 Chad: High Council of Communication in, 26; investigative reporting in, 22; media regulatory body in, 26; Radio Brakos in, 26; radio in, 22 Chamorro, C., 44 Chamorro, V., 44 Chandler, D., 79 Chang, J., 110 Chang, M., 118 Chan-Olmstead, S.M., 4 Chardy, A., 43 Chen Shiu-bian, 100, 104, 109, 110, 111, 114 Chiang Ching-kuo, 104 Chiang Kai-shek, 103 Chih-cheng Lo, 108 Chile: television in, 40 Chiluba, F.J.T., 26 China: Communist takeover in, 103; constitution of, 103; Kuomintang in, 103; media role in democratization of



Taiwan, 99118; Three Principles of the People, 103 China Daily News (newspaper), 115 China News, The (newspaper), 108 China Post, The (newspaper), 111 China Times, The (newspaper), 111 China Tribune (magazine), 106 Cholakov, R., 226 Chou, H-M., 104 Christensen, K., 240 Christodoulides, A., 241 Chu, G.C., 163 Chuang, J., 110 Chun, D-H., 164, 165 Citizen Action Election Program, 59 Clientelism, 6 Clinton, B., 181 Clouthier, M., 204, 207, 208, 216n4 Co-Latino (newspaper), 42 Colonialism, 3; in Cambodia, 82; relation of state and media shaped by, 16, 17, 18 Colosio, L.D., 202, 205, 209 Coman, M., 63, 65, 66 Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 23, 24, 25, 29, 110 Communication: back-channel, 201, 201fig; computer mediated, 60; control of, 37; global networks, 222; mass, 7778, 199; media, 163; models of, 36; modernization and, 3; political, 52, 202, 212; public, 36; social, 52; technology, 1, 5, 55, 144; transition of Central American systems of, 40 Competition: promotion of, 5 Confucianism, 101, 102, 103 Consumerism, 7, 180, 200, 219 Costa Rica: broadcasting system in, 46; democracy in, 46; Repretel in, 46; Teletica 7 in, 46; television in, 40, 46 Cote dIvoire, 16; anti-media laws in, 24; attacks on media in, 23

Crawford, J., 16, 23, 24, 26, 28 Croatia: Centers for Civic Cooperation in, 59, 61; media-related educational projects in, 60 Crusading Guide (newspaper), 27 Cultural: authenticity, 222; economy, 222; globalization, 180, 185, 191; homogenization, 223; identity, 56, 219, 221; imperialism, 223; invasion, 151; policies, 147; power, 6; practices, 51; production, 5, 181, 221; programming, 224; redefinition, 220; reinterpretation, 7; sovereignty, 1; syncretism, 3; tension, 58 Culture: Americanization paradigm and, 222; colonization and, 3; concentration of, 5; consumer, 7; global, 35, 7, 221222; local, 221222; national, 222; popular, 181, 182, 222; of silence, 20 Czech Republic: in European Union, 53; media access in, 54, 55 Daher, P., 190 Dallas, J., 36, 45 De Bruycker, C., 65 Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression, 30 Deesor, O., 130 De la Madrid, M., 207 Democracy: and commercial media push for up-scale lifestyles, 7; consolidation of, 52; constitutional, 100, 103, 104; effect of income on, 105; exercise of, 7; freedom of press and, 112; of governance, 194; implementation of, 100; mass, 219; media responsibility for shaping, 37; media transformation and, 52; and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 199216; participatory, 7, 52, 58, 194; popular, 108; press freedom and, 110; renewed belief in, 7; secular,



Democracy (continued) 145, 147, 149; understanding through geopolitical history, 3 Democratic Republic of Congo: criminal penalties for media offenses in, 27 Democratic Republic of Kampuchea. See Cambodia Democratization, 57; in Africa, 1531; in Arab countries, 194196; communication and, 106; in Korea, 161, 162; low-threshold definition of, 194; negotiation of, 2; reality television and, 179196; role of media in, 19; transition into, 6 de Moragas Spa, M., 241 Dennis, E.E., 39 Deutsche Welle, 134, 139 Development: of broadcast media, 161173; curricular, 61, 62; economic, 5, 163; information, 163; need for information access for, 56; political, 35; socioeconomic, 163; technology, 55, 126, 200 Dimitrova, B., 234 Dimitrova, D., 55 Diouf, Abdou, 21 Discourse: civic, 57; civil, 20; on democratization, 7; development of, 52; nationalistic, 58; oppositional, 202; pan-Arab, 183; political, 22, 102; public, 20, 86, 180, 181, 183, 192, 194; racist, 58; in white Arabic, 183 Dominican Republic: television in, 40 Dossary, A., 188 Douatzis, G., 245 Downing, J., 223 Dragulanescu, N.G., 55 Dunkerley, J., 41 Dye, D.R., 43 East African Economic Community (EAC), 30 Eastman, L.E., 103

Eastwood, C., 181 Ebesemiju, B., 127 Economic: change, 199; development, 5, 163; institutions, 3; integration, 6, 30; liberalization, 2, 6, 18, 199, 201; policies, 19; power, 3; reform, 5, 19, 146, 199, 200; restructuring, 127; stability, 52; transition from Communism, 55 Economy: cultural, 222; free market, 15; political, 240 Ecuador: television in, 40 Eddins, S., 193 Ehigiator, K., 131 Ehteshami, A., 146 El Bour, H., 54 El Nuevo Herald (newspaper), 43 Emmott, R., 40 Endara, G., 45 Eritrea: radio in, 19; refusal of open media access in, 15 Esersky, B., 4142 Esta Semanai (television), 44 Estonia: media access in, 54, 55 Ethiopia: intimidation of journalists in, 24; radio in, 30 Ethnic: cleansing; conflict, 52, 53; reconciliation, 59; tensions, 52, 57, 58, 61 Ethnocentrism, 221 Europe, (SEE region): conflict resolution in, 5759; cultural imperialism and, 223; ethnic tensions in, 58; foreign investment in, 223; globalization and, 223; hate speech in, 58; increased private sector investment in, 56; knowledge gap in, 56; media literacy in, 5963; media policy in, 5457; media transformation in, 5169; outside influences on, 223; privatization in, 223; regional strategies for, 56; technology markets for, 56; television in, 5963 European Broadcasting Systems, 227



European Cultural Foundation, 63 European Federation of Journalists, 235 European Union, 53, 242; Bulgaria in, 53; Czech Republic in, 53; Greece and, 242; Hungary in, 53; Poland in, 53; Romania and, 53, 67; Slovakia in, 53 Euroregional Center for Democracy, 63 Fardon, R., 15, 18 Fernndez, C., 203, 210 Fernndez, D., 208, 209 Ferrari, R., 46 Figler, A., 136 Fitzgerald, M., 38, 39 Formosa, The (newspaper), 104 Fortner, R., 241 Fox, E., 6, 36, 38, 40, 47 Fox, V., 211, 212, 213 France: privatization of media in, 241 Friedman, T.L., 21 Fromson, M., 38, 208 Frumusani, D.R., 65, 67 Furniss, G., 15, 18 Gabler, N., 181 Gaines, E., 58 Galperin, H., 2, 4, 5 Galtung, J., 4 Gambia: radio in, 19 Gandsegui, M., 45 Ganji, A., 148 Garcia-Canclini, N., 181 Garralda, J., 210 Garvin, G., 44 Geldof, B., 181 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), 161 Gergov, K., 228 Gershon, R.A., 4, 5 Ghana: Bar Association in, 21; colonial era media in, 16; conferences on media pluralism in, 18; election mon-

itoring in, 21; Ghana Journalists Association, 27; Ghana Media Commission in, 28; independent media commission in, 28; Joy FM in, 22; legislation on control of media, 17; media in postindependence era in, 17; media regulatory bodies in, 28; professionalism in media practice, 26, 27; Radio Apam in, 19; radio in, 16, 19, 21, 22; repeal of criminal defamation law in, 27 Ghanian Chronicle (newspaper), 28 Gheissari, A., 145, 146, 147 Giddens, A., 54, 240 Globalization, 203; capitalist, 5; cultural, 35, 180, 185, 191; defining, 240; democracy and, 19; historical aspects of, 35; inclusive, 54; media and, 19, 199; political/economic change and, 199; political factors in, 35; as positive force, 54; reinforcement of hegemonic norms by, 54; transnational media corporations and, 222 Golden, T., 205 Golding, P., 163 Gonzlez Gonzlez, A., 3840, 41, 43 Gonzlez Revilla, N., 4446 Gorriti, G., 36, 45 Gottesman, E.R., 81 Gouliamos, K., 240 Government: accessability of, 21; accountability of, 22, 37; authoritarian, 16; centralized, 5, 41; colonial African, 1617; dynastic, 103; effect of independent media on, 2022; local, 58; repressive, 24; subsidies, 5; transparency, 109 Greece: changes in political leadership in, 244; collusive relations between politicians and station owners, 248249; convergence of radio with global market in, 251252; diaploki



Greece (continued) in, 248249; domination of media environment by elite in, 239; in European Union, 242; free radio movement in, 239; frequency allocation in, 239; Hellenic Radio Television in, 241; influence of globalization on privatization of radio in, 240242; licensing processes in, 239, 240; Mass Media Bill (1995) in, 245; media transformation in, 240242; National Council for Radio and Television (ESR) in, 245, 248; New Democracy Party in, 250, 251; new regulatory structure for private radio in, 244248; Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement in, 244; pluralism in, 239, 240, 241, 249251; political/economic initiative for free-market capitalism in, 242244; privatization of radio in, 239254; public opinion on state media, 244; Radio Broadcasting Service in, 241; state control of media in, 241 Griffin, M., 222 Gross, P., 65, 66, 67 Guatemala, 3840; censorship in, 39, 40; elections in, 38; foreign ownership of major media properties in, 38, 39, 40; media collusion with government, 3840; radio in, 39; Radio Sonora in, 39; reinstatement of civilian government in, 38; rise and fall of political parties in, 38; Telecorporacion Salvadoreo in, 41, 42; television monopoly in, 36, 3840 Gulf Cooperation Council, 184 Gutierrez, J., 43 Gyimah-Boadi, E., 19 Habeas, A., 186 Habre, H., 22 Hachten, W.A., 17, 18

Hahn, B-H., 163 Hajjarian, S., 148, 149 Halkidiki Declaration on the Relationship of International Education and Human Rights (2003), 57 Hall, S., 5 Hallahan, K., 20 Hallin, D.C., 2, 6, 205 Hammond, P., 52 Hamshahri (newspaper), 149 Hannerz, U., 221 al-Hariri, R., 182, 193, 194 Hassan, A., 185 Hatzifotis, Y., 243 Haylor, G., 94 Hays, M., 85 Head, S., 240 Hearst, D., 249 Heath, C.W., 6, 18 Herman, E.S., 4, 7, 52, 143, 222 Hernndez, O., 4, 6, 206 Ho, S-Y., 116 Hoffman-Riem, W., 241 Hogan, J., 54 Honduras: broadcasting system in, 46; television in, 46 Hsiao, H-M., 104, 106 Hsieh, H-H., 104, 106, 114 Hsu, C., 117 Hsu, P-Y., 105 Hsun Tzu, 102, 103 Huang, J., 114 Hungary: in European Union, 53 Hun Sen, 82, 86, 87, 92 Huntington, S., 105 Husing, T., 54, 55 Hwang, J., 169 Ibroscheva, E., 219235 Identity: cultural, 56, 219, 221; group, 182; national, 181; political, 219; social, 52



Imperialism, 4 Independence Morning Post (newspaper), 104 Independent Evening Post (newspaper), 104 Independent Media Commission (IMC), 59 Information: access, 52, 56, 109; affordability of, 56; control of flow of, 17; democratization of flow of, 1; development, 163; digital divide and, 54, 55; gaps, 55; government, 109; haves/have nots, 54; media access to, 60; technology, 92, 162, 166 Institutions: academic, 61; civil society, 17, 118; democratic, 51, 149, 241; economic, 3; political, 2, 3; social, 3; transformation of, 3 International Center for Journalists, 29 International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), 87 International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), 30 International Monetary Fund (IMF), 6; and Nigeria, 127; pressure on African countries for reform by, 19 International Press Institute, 107 International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), 61 International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 56, 106; Plenipotentiary Conference (1998), 54 Internet: access, 53, 55, 65, 9192; civic participation and, 52; costs of, 55 Investment: foreign direct, 4, 199, 206; private sector, 56 Iran: attempts to contain, 144; censorship in, 155, 156; civil society in, 144, 145, 146, 149; economic reconstruction in, 146, 151; economic reform in, 146; e-government in, 155; Internet access in, 144, 154156;

Islamicization of media in, 147, 148; Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) in, 150; literacy in, 155; media transformation in, 151156; National Iranian Radio Television (NIRT) in, 147; opposition to theocracy in, 144, 146, 147; Persian weblogs in, 155; pluralism in, 145; political participation in, 146; Post, Telegraph, and Telephone (PTT) in, 155; postrevolutionary cleansing of media in, 147; postrevolutionary media in, 147150; postrevolutionary politics in, 145147; power imbalance in, 146; press in, 144; print media in, 148; prodemocracy movement in, 143158; Rang-a-Rang network in, 153154; reform movement in, 148, 149, 150; relations with United States, 143; role of media in, 143158; state restrictions on media, 144; strategic significance of, 143, 144; television in, 144, 151154; as theocratic state, 145, 146; three republics in, 146; Voice and Vision of the Islamic Republic (VVIR) in, 147; war with Iraq, 145, 146, 148 Iran (newspaper), 149 Islamic Action Front, 185 Italy: privatization of media in, 241 Iventcheva, A., 227 Jahangard, N., 155 Jakab, Z., 223 Jalaipour, H.R., 148, 149 Janus, N., 36, 39, 41, 42 Jennar, R.M., 79, 82 Jimenez, C., 91 Jin, D.Y., 161173, 167, 168 Jou, Y-C., 118 Journalism: brown envelope, 86, 95; education, 67; hate mongering, 26,



Journalism (continued) 27; irresponsible, 58; market-driven, 205 Journalist, The (newspaper), 104 Journalists Association of Korea, 164 Juluri, V., 7 Kalafti, N., 246 Kang, J.G., 163 Kang, J-M., 164, 165 Kanharith, K., 93 Kao, A., 111, 112 Kapsis, P., 143 Karamanlis, C., 241, 248, 251 Karami, O., 194, 195 Karapostolis, V., 241 Karvalics, L., 55 Kasoma, F.P., 6, 15, 18, 20, 26 Keane, J., 36, 44 Keddie, N.R., 146 Kempe, F., 44 Kenya: journalism in, 21; Monitor Radio in, 30; Nation Group in, 30; professionalism in media practice, 27; radio in, 19, 21, 30 Kerekou, M., 23 Keshishoglou, J.E., 241 Khatami, H., 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 151, 155 Khatami, M.R., 148 Khiabany, G., 149 Khieu, K., 79, 82 Khieu, S., 79, 82 Khmer Institute for Democracy (KID), 89 Khmer Journalists Association (KJA), 87 Khomeini, R., 146 Kiki, J., 242 Kim, H., 164, 165 Kim, W.Y., 163 Kim, Y., 165, 168 King, A.D., 3 Kiyan (publication), 148, 149

Kluver, R., 52 Ko, S-L., 115 Koh Santepheap (newspaper), 93 Kokkalis, S., 252 Kola, K., 92, 95 Kolade, C., 124 Koliopanos, P., 246 Kolios, G., 250 Koltsova, O., 52 Korea: Act on Registration of Periodicals (1987) in, 165166; American Forces Korean Network (AFKN) in, 162; anger against media in, 165; Association of Laid-off Journalists, 164; Basic Press Law (1980) in, 164, 165; Broadcasting Act (1990) in, 166; Broadcasting Law (1963) in, 164, 166; broadcast media development in, 161173; cable television development in, 166170; chaebols in, 164, 166, 167, 168, 169; Christian Broadcasting System (CBS) in, 164; communication systems in, 162; corruption in, 167; Daehan Broadcasting Corporation (DBC) in, 162, 163; democratization in, 161, 162; deregulation in, 161; economic crisis in, 168; economic development in, 163; export-oriented industrialization in, 163; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and, 161; government subsidies to media in, 163; history of broadcasting in, 162166; information technology-based economy in, 166; information technology in, 162; Journalists Association of Korea, 164; Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) in, 161, 163, 165, 170; Korea Office Radio Corporation of America (KORCAD) in, 162; Law on the Communications Ethics Commission (1964) in, 164; liberalization in, 161;



media transformation in, 161173; military coup in, 163, 164; Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) in, 161, 164, 166; neoliberal policies in, 161; political importance of broadcasting in, 163; Press Registration Act (1963) in, 164; privatization in, 161; program providers in, 167, 168; satellite television in, 170172; Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) in, 166; television in, 161, 162166; Tongyang Broadcasting Company (TBC), 164; United States military in, 162, 163; World Trade Organization (WTO) and, 161 Korean Broadcasting Ethics Commission, 164 Koufopoulos, V., 249, 251 Kraidy, M., 3, 4, 52, 179196 Kriklanis, G., 243 Krimsky, G., 58 Kugblenu, J., 16 Kuklinski, A., 62 Kung, T-C., 102 Kuomintang, 103, 105, 112 Kyriakou, M., 252 Labaki, N., 193 Labastida, F., 211, 212 Lai, I-C., 104 Lajos, T., 62 Lambrakis, C., 252 Lambsdorff, J.G., 248 LaPastina, A., 7 La Prensa (newspaper), 43, 44 La Tribuna (newspaper), 43 Latvia: media-related educational projects in, 60 LAurore (publication), 28 Lawson, C.H., 199, 200, 202, 208, 210, 212, 213 League of Cambodian Journalists (LC), 87

Leapfrogging, 56, 68n2 Lee, C.J., 117 Lee, H.K., 169 Lee Teng-hui, 100, 104, 105, 106, 109 Lengel, L., 5169 Lerner, D., 3, 105, 163 Leslie, J., 91 Lesotho: radio in, 19 Levario Turcotte, M., 210 Levinson, D., 240 Leys, C., 35, 36, 37 Liberalization, 57; big business and, 6; broadcast, 123140; cultural impact of, 138139; economic, 2, 6, 18, 199, 201; effect on broadcast freedom, 136137; global agenda for, 6; in Korea, 161; media, 51 Liberia: radio in, 25; Radio Veritas in, 25; Star Radio in, 25 Liberty Times (newspaper), 112 Lin, C-l., 115 Lincoln, A., 103 Lindsay-Poland, J., 45 Lister, M., 52 Lithuania: media-related educational projects in, 60 Liu, W-C., 101 Lo, C-C., 100 Lon Nol, 82 Lpez Obrador, A., 215 Lubecka, A., 58 Ly, D., 84 Macedonia: television in, 58 MacFarqhar, N., 187 MacKenzie, T., 194 Magnier, M., 118 Mahan, E., 202 Mahmood, W., 126, 137, 138 Malawi: Censorship and Control of Entertainments Act in, 17; independence, 17; professionalism in media practice, 26; radio in, 24



Mali: intimidation of media practitioners in, 25; Kayes Rural Radio in, 19; Radio Bamakan in, 19, 20; radio in, 16, 20; Radio Kayira in, 19; Radio Kledu in, 25; Radio Liberty in, 19; Radio Tahlae in, 19 Manginas, V., 241 Mannova, B., 62 Mardiha, M., 149 Marga, A., 61, 62 Marin, N., 5169 Market: broadcast, 123140; capitalist, 126; domination, 37, 40; free, 7, 15, 18; global media, 7; niche, 37; offshore, 206; restructuring, 6; telecommunications, 6 Martn-Barbero, J., 7 Marx, K., 103, 221 Mattelart, A., 4 Mazza, J., 199 McAnany, E.G., 5, 6, 206 McCann, J.A., 212 McChesney, R.W., 4, 6, 7, 37, 143, 222 McCracken, P., 67 McDaniel, D., 7795, 92 McElroy, C., 23 McLuhan, Marshall, 1 McNeill, W.H., 221 McQuail, D., 17 Media: access to information, 60; accountability and, 21, 22; as agent of capitalist domination, 4; alternative, 100, 106; asymmetrical flows of, 45; autonomy of, 40; awareness, 63; blamed for electoral defeats, 23; centralized, 16; challenges of in Africa, 1531; colonialism and, 1; commercial, 2, 7; communications, 163; control of, 104; cumberson licensing/approval process, 25, 26; defining functions of, 17; democracy and, 19; development role of, 17; effects on political evolution, 38; elec-

tronic, 15, 79, 82; emerging expectations for, 19, 2022; entertainment, 2; ethics, 67; ethnic conflict and, 53; ethnic diversity and, 57, 58; exacerbation of tensions by, 58; firms, 6; flow, 7; global, 221; globalization and, 19, 199; historical issues in African development of, 1618; impact on conflict resolution, 58; independent, 1531; infrastructure, 163; investigative reporting by, 22; legitimization of democratic power through, 2; liberalization, 51; literacy, 52, 53, 5963; manipulation, 38; markets, 7; mass, 2, 52, 82, 86, 107115, 163, 200, 207, 219, 220; models, 6; monitoring elections by, 21; nation building and, 17; ownership, 7, 35, 37; pirating, 4; pluralism and, 2, 6, 1531, 51, 239, 240; policies, 53, 192; political education and, 2122; political role of, 16; political satire in, 181; practices, 52; print, 2, 6; private, 2; professional organizations, 8788; propaganda dissemination and, 37; reform, 67, 202; repressive policies against, 18; responsibility for shaping democracy, 37; revenue for, 18; role in education programs, 5963; small, 104; social role of, 17; state control of, 20, 51; traditional, 52; transformation, 1, 2, 7; transnational conglomerates, 4; understanding through geopolitical history, 3; urban participation in, 20; watchdog functions of, 20, 21; women in, 90 Media, radio: commercial, 16; cumberson licensing/approval process, 25, 26; in Ghana, 16; interactive programming in, 20; in Mali, 16; participation in civil discourse through, 20; suspension of licenses in, 25, 26 Media corporations, transnational: mergers and acquisitions among, 6



Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), 29, 30 Media Law Reform campaign, 30 Media transformation: in Africa, 1531; in Central America, 3548; complexity of, 51; in Costa Rica, 46; for countries in democratic transition, 5169; democratization and, 52; dismantling of national broadcasting systems and, 51; effect on society, 51; in Greece, 240242; in Guatemala, 3840; in Honduras, 46; in Korea, 161173; in new Europe, 5169; in Nicaragua, 4244; in Nigeria, 123140; in Panama, 4446; in El Salvador, 4142; in Taiwan, 99118 Mee, A., 94 Mehan, J.A., 163 Mehlis, D., 193 Mehta, H.C., 82 Mei, Z., 84 Meldrum, A., 23 Melloan, G., 248, 251 Mencius, 102, 103 Mendiola, R., 210 Mergers and acquisitions: international, 6 Merrill, J.C., 249 Metaxas, J., 241 Metzger, T.A., 103 Mexico: bias in media coverage in, 207, 208; Citizens Movement for Democracy in, 209; competition in television in, 206; consumerism in, 200; corruption in, 200; criminal activities in, 200; currency devaluation in, 202, 205; economic crisis in, 202; economic liberalization in, 201; economic reform in, 200; education levels and media use in, 203; effect of globalization on television in, 203; elections in, 207213; electoral fraud in, 202; electoral reform in, 203;

Federal Code for Electoral Institutions and Procedures (1996) in, 209; foreign direct, 207; Imevisin in, 204; influence of television on democratization in, 199216; Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in, 38; Internet access in, 203; media/government relations in, 202; media transformation in, 200; media use for political information, 203tab; National Action Party (PAN) in, 204, 208; North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and, 199216; oppositional discourse in, 202; Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) in, 202, 203, 205, 210, 211, 212, 213; politics in, 200; print media in, 205; public opinion in, 200; Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) in, 204; single-party rule in, 200, 202; social change in, 201; state control of media in, 202, 204, 205; telenovelas in, 206; Televisa in, 6, 38, 40, 41, 202, 203, 205, 206, 208; television and political communication in, 207213; Televisin Azteca in, 205, 206; television in, 40, 199216; television in transition in, 203207; transparency/accountability in, 200; Zapatista uprising in, 201, 202 Milani, A., 145, 148 Mill, J.S., 103 Mirdamadi, M., 148 Mitchell, J., 45 Modernization: communication and, 3; Third World, 3 Moi, Daniel arap, 21, 30 Mollison, T.A., 65 Monitoring and Defense of Press Freedom in West Africa, 29 Moore, H.E., 42 Moore, M., 181



Moschovitis, J., 242 Moscoso, M., 45 Mosharekat (publication), 149 Mozambique: intimidation of media practitioners in, 29; radio in, 29 Mswati III (King of Swaziland), 24 Muan, I., 84 Mugabe, R., 23, 24, 28, 29 Mungiu-Pippidi, A., 67 Muoz Ledo, P., 212 Murdoch, R., 227, 234 Murphy, P., 19, 196 Muslim Brotherhood, 185, 191 Mydans, S., 85 Myers, R.H., 103 Mytton, G., 16 Nam, S., 164 Namibia: anti-media laws in, 24; Powers, Privileges, and Immunities Act, 24 Nasr, V., 145, 146, 147 Nastase, A., 56 Nationalism, 60, 103; policies promoting, 17 Nelles, W., 55 Neoliberalism, 19, 199 Neres, G., 246 Nevradakis, M., 248 New York Times v. Sullivan, 112 Next (magazine), 109 Nicaragua, 4244; authoritarianism in, 4244; Canal 2 in, 42, 43, 44; foreign ownership of media in, 43; government corruption in, 43; harassment of media practitioners in, 43; investigative reporting in, 43, 44; level of professionalism in media practitioners, 43; Liberal party in, 42, 43, 44; right-wing rhetoric in media in, 42; Sandinista revolution in, 42, 43, 44; Somoza dictatorship in, 42; television in, 36, 40, 4244

Niger: Radio Anfani in, 20, 29; radio in, 20, 29 Nigeria, 123140; access to foreign media in, 134135; African Independent Television (AIT) in, 133, 136, 137; Atlantic FM in, 133; attempts to maintain state control of media in, 124126; Brilla FM in, 133; broadcast freedom in, 136137; broadcast liberalization in, 123140; clandestine broadcasting in, 134; closure of stations in, 131; colonial era media in, 16; community broadcasting in, 133134; Cool FM in, 133, 138; Cosmo FM in, 133, 138; cultural impact of liberalization, 138139; democratization of, 123, 124, 130132; entertainment programming in, 133; entry of foreign programs into, 129, 138, 139; external debt in, 127; Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in, 130; federal system in, 124125; fixed service satellites and, 126, 134; Freedom Radio in, 131; Glory FM in, 131; governmental fear of private ownership, 126; government ownership of media in, 125126, 137; growth of civil society in, 130; history of broadcasting in, 124126; impact of liberalization on democratization, 132139; inadequate government funding for media systems, 126; increased press freedom in, 130; International Monetary Fund (IMF) and, 127; investigative reporting in, 22; lack of broadcast freedom in, 125; lack of competition in broadcast industry in, 126; licensing of media in, 129, 131, 131tab; media access to foreign markets, 135136; media market liberalization in, 123140; media practitioners hired on political



basis in, 126; military dictatorship in, 123, 124, 125, 129, 130; Minaj Broadcasting System (MBS) in, 133, 135; National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Decrees, 129, 130, 131; Nigeria Broadcasting Service (NBS) in, 124; Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in, 130, 133; Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria in, 131; plans for nationalization of media stations in, 136137; pressure to liberalize broadcast market, 126130; private competition in broadcasting in, 125; private-interest participation in media systems in, 123; programming diversity in, 132133; Radio Democrat Nigeria in, 134; Radio Freedom Frequency in, 134; radio in, 124, 126, 131, 131tab, 133, 138; radio rediffusion in, 124; RayPower in, 131, 133, 138; restrictions on freedom of expression in, 125; satellite reception in, 126; special interest radio in, 133; Spectrum FM in, 133; subsidies in, 127; television in, 125, 126, 129, 131, 131tab, 133, 137138, 138; Treason and Treasonable Offences decree (1993) in, 125; Voice of Biafra International, 134, 135; Voice of Nigeria (VON) in, 136; as welfare state, 127; Western cultural symbols in, 138; World Bank (WB) and, 127 Non-governmental organizations, 60, 69n7, 89, 91, 92 Nord, P., 221 Noriega, M., 44, 45 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 199216 Nweke, O., 124 Oaca, N., 65 Obasanjo, O., 130

Obeng-Quiadoo, I., 18 Ochs, M., 17 Ocitti, J., 17, 18, 23, 24 Odunlami, T., 22 Ogbondah, C., 125 Oikonomidis, A., 248 Onasanya, A., 126, 137, 138 Oncheva, Y., 230 Onoko, O., 138 Onwumechili, C., 123140 Open Society Institute, 63 Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, 59 Ortega Pizarro, F., 205 Oyadongha, S., 131 Palan, A., 88, 94 Palmer, L.K., 61 Panama, 4446; authoritarianism in, 44; Cable Onda in, 45; Canal 13 in, 44; conservative oligarchy in, 44; Democratic Revolutionary Party in, 45; MEDCOM media holding company in, 4446; protectionist policies in, 45; radio in, 45; RPC Radio in, 45; television monopoly in, 36, 4446; United States invasion of, 44 Pan-European Regional Ministerial Conference (2002), 56, 65 Panos Institute, 29 Papandreou, A., 244, 245 Papathanassopoulos, S., 2, 6, 244, 245, 248, 249, 250 Papayannakis, M., 250 Papoutasakis, C., 242 Pappas, C., 243, 249 Paraguay: television in, 40 Pramo, T., 211 Paraschos, M.E., 239, 245 Paris Agreement (1991), 84 Park, C-H., 163, 164 Park, W.J., 168 Parson, A., 228



Paulu, B., 240 Paxman, A., 203, 210 Pech, L., 58 Prez, J., 39 Perez Balladares, R., 45 Peru: television in, 40 Petcu, M., 65 Peterson, T., 17 Petrides, A., 244, 245 PHARE Democracy Program, 62, 69n7 Phnom Penh Post (newspaper), 85 Piano, A., 46 Poir, A., 208 Poland: in European Union, 53; media access in, 54, 55; television in, 58 Policy: accession, 53; cultural, 147; media, 53, 192; neoliberal, 19; for promoting nationalism, 17; repressive, 17, 18, 28; summits, 52; technology, 56 Political: accommodation, 38; activism, 180, 195; assassinations, 22; authority, 2; centralism, 17; change, 199; communication, 52, 202, 212; development, 17, 35; discourse, 22, 102; economy, 240; education, 21; elections, 21; identity, 219; institutions, 2, 3; leadership, 241; opposition, 17, 18, 99; participation, 106, 146; parties, 6; patronage, 86; philosophy, 101; pluralism, 19, 102; power, 6, 103; reform, 100, 104, 116, 146; regimentation, 101, 102; rights, 195; satire, 181; stability, 20, 100; traditions, 2; transition, 52; turbulence, 52; values, 2, 192 Politics: cold war, 3; democratic, 145, 147; electoral, 23, 145, 146; entertainment and, 180182; reality television and, 179196 Pol Pot, 82 Pompadour, M., 228

Popova, V., 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 233, 235 Portillo, A., 38, 39 Poverty: increase in, 56 Power: absolute, 17; alternative centers of, 20; associated with media, 16; centralized, 41; cultural, 6; democratic, 2; economic, 3; executive, 37, 39, 41; of global corporate hegemony, 5; imbalances, 4; political, 6, 17, 103; state, 45 Powers, J., 52 Prensa Libre (newspaper), 38, 39 Preston, C., 62 Preston, J., 203, 207, 210 Privatization, 57, 223; global agenda for, 6; in Greece, 240242; in Korea, 161; opportunities for transnational media corporations in, 6 Protectionism, 6 Protopapas, C., 248 Przeworski, A., 105 Puddington, A., 46 Quarshie, J.E., 21 Rabb, L., 39 Raboy, M., 54 Radcliffe-Brown, A.R., 163 Radio. See Media, radio; individual countries Radio Australia, 93 Radio China, 139 Radio France International, 93 Radio Free Asia, 93 Radio Moscow, 134 Rafsanjani, A., 145, 149 Rahbord (publication), 149 Rahimi, B., 155 Raicheva-Stover, M., 219235 Rainsy, S., 77 Rajagopal, A., 181 Rampal, K., 99118



Ranariddh (Prince of Cambodia), 81, 86 Rantanen, T., 52 Rasmei Kampuchea (newspaper), 85, 86, 93 Rawlings, A., 27 Red Pepper, The (newspaper), 28 Reform: constitutional, 100, 107, 109; democratic, 20, 162; economic, 5, 19, 146, 199, 200; electoral, 203; liberal, 20; media, 67, 202; neoliberal, 4; political, 100, 104, 116, 146; regulatory, 5; social, 223 Regional: competition, 56; control of media, 125; media regulation, 30; newspapers, 183; television, 183, 196n7; trade, 1, 5 Reljic, D., 57 Remy, R.C., 58 Reporters Sans Frontiers, 29, 110, 116 Reppas, D., 245, 246 Research Center for Interethnic Relations, 63 Rice, Condoleezza, 143 Rights: consumer, 106; human, 52, 60, 106; labor, 106; minority, 60; political, 179, 195 Rincn Gallardo, G., 212 Ritzer, G., 222 Robertson, R., 221 Rockwell, Rick, 3548 Rogers, E., 3 Roh, T-W., 165, 168 Romania: European Union and, 53, 67; increasing professionalism of media practitioners in, 66; journalism development in, 66; media access in, 54, 55; media transformation in, 53, 6466; press system in, 65, 66; priorities for media transformation, 57; radio in, 65, 66; state-controlled system in, 65; television in, 65, 66 Roumeliotis, A., 244 Rousseauy, J.J., 103

Roussopoulos, T., 250 Rowen, H.S., 105 Ruiz-Massieu, J.F., 202, 205, 207 Russell, M., 170 Saad, R., 193 Sabhe Emrouz (newspaper), 149 Sacasa Sarria, O., 42, 43 Saddam Hussein, 145 Sadri, A., 148 Said, E., 54 Salaam (publication), 149 Salam (newspaper), 149 Salinas de Gortari, C., 202, 203, 204, 205, 207, 208 Salinas de Gortari, R., 207 Salinas Pliego, R., 205, 207 El Salvador, 4142; advertising boycott in, 42; blocking of privatization in, 42; civil war in, 42; media collusion with government, 4142; television monopoly in, 36, 4142; TV12 network, 42 Sandbrook, R., 15, 21 Sarayeth, T., 88, 94 Sarmiento, S., 203, 206, 213 Savage, W., 94 Schaeffer, R., 240 Schiller, H., 4 Schou, S., 222 Schramm, W., 3, 17 Schwarzenegger, A., 181 Schweitzer, J.C., 224 Selian, A., 54 Semati, M., 143158 Senegal: intimidation of journalists in, 24; media reports on voting in, 21 Senghor, D., 20 Seo, J., 169 Serrano Elias, J., 39 Shamsolvaezin, M., 148 Sharp, B., 81 Shim, D., 161173, 163, 165, 166



Siebert, F.S., 17 Sierra Leone: colonial era media in, 16; Truth and Reconciliation Commission in, 28 Sihanouk, N., 79, 82, 83, 84, 92 Simitis, C., 245, 248 Simonson, P., 45 Sims, J., 239254 Sinclair, J., 202 Siochru, S., 54 Skidmore, T., 38 Slovakia: in European Union, 53 Smeets, M., 36, 39, 44 Smith, H., 249 Social: change, 3, 191, 200, 201; communication, 52; conservatism, 189; conventions, 102; identity, 52; institutions, 3; interaction, 180; reform, 223; status, 21; values, 52, 192 Society: formation of, 52; global, 221; information, 54; liberation of traditional, 4; transitional, 51 Society, civil, 37; building, 59; formation of, 52; global, 54; institutionalized promotion of, 53; institutions of, 17, 118; in Iran, 144, 145, 146, 149; media transformation and, 52; in Nigeria, 130; potential of independent media to strengthen, 16; reformation of, 2; in Taiwan, 100; television programs promoting, 58; transformation of, 51 Society for Regenerating China, 103 Sorokobi, J., 29, 30 Soros, G., 225 Soros Media Center, 61 Soroush, A., 146, 148, 149 South Africa, 28; media protests in, 28, 29; World Press Freedom Day (2002) in, 30 South China Morning Post (newspaper), 116 Spain: radio in, 241

Spence, J., 43 Splichal, S., 66 Sreberny, A., 149 Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, 63 Stanley, P., 210, 211 Star Academy (television), 180, 182, 189191, 192, 193, 194 Starck, K., 65, 67 State: centralized, 16; changing roles of, 2; collectivist, 82; control of media by, 16, 20, 51; failed, 77; monopolies, 15; nation, 5; power, 45; radio, 20; repressive, 24; single-party, 20 Statesman (newspaper), 27 Straubhaar, J., 36, 37, 47 Street, J., 182 Strover, S., 4 Strzemieczny, J., 58 Subsidies, 5 Sultanbaev, A., 87 Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Council of Europe in Vienna (1993), 60 Summit on Mobile Open Society through Wireless Telecommunications (MOST), 65 Sun Yet-sen, 102, 103 Superstar (television), 180, 182, 184, 185, 191, 193 Sussman, G., 3 Svejnar, J., 61, 62 Swaziland: anti-media laws in, 24; Media Council Bill, 24 Szucs, A., 62 Taiwan: alternative media in, 104, 106; Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ), 109, 117; Broadcasting and Television Law (2003) in, 114, 116; Broadcasting Corporation of China, 115; broadcasting in, 112115; cable



law in, 100; Cable Radio and Television Law (1993) in, 114; campaign against Publication Law in, 108; censorship in, 114; China Television Company (CTV) in, 112; Chinese Television System (CTS) in, 112, 115; Civic Organization Law (1989) in, 104; civil society institutions in, 118; competitive media environment in, 117; Confucian humanism movement in, 101102; Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in, 99, 104, 112; democratization in, 100, 104, 105107; economic development in, 105; elections in, 99, 105, 108; freedom of press in, 107; government control of media in, 100; growth of civil society in, 100; income levels in, 105, 106; Internet access in, 106, 107; Kuomintang in, 103, 105, 112; libel as criminal offense in, 111; literacy in, 105, 106; loss of United Nations membership, 104; martial law in, 104; mass media in, 107115; media control in, 104; media professionalism in, 117; media push for more transparency in government, 109; media role in democratization of, 99118; mobile telephony in, 106, 107; National Secrets Protection Law, 111; Pan-Blue Coalition in, 105; Pan-Green Coalition in, 105; political reform in, 104; press laws in, 104; privatization of television in, 115; public demand for political participation, 106; Public Television Service in, 115; radio in, 112115; Satellite Radio and Television Law (1999) in, 114; social movements in, 106; Taiwan Independence Party (TAIP) in, 105; Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) in, 105; Taiwan Television Enterprise

(TTV) in, 112, 115; technologyintensive economy in, 106; television in, 107, 112115; terrestrial Radio and Television Law (1976) in, 114 Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, 117, 118 Taiwan News (newspaper), 117 Takeyh, R., 148 Takirambudde, P.N., 17 Takougang, J., 21, 26 Tamidjich, D., 227 Tanzania: democratization in, 20; intimidation of media practitioners in, 29; legislation on control of media, 17; media in postindependence era in, 17; radio in, 30; Tanzanian Association of Journalists and Media Workers, 29 Taylor, R., 39 Technology: change, 214; communication, 1, 5, 55, 144; computer, 55; development, 126, 200; digital divide and, 54, 55; embargos, 55; information, 92, 162, 166; military, 55; policies, 56; social uses of, 194; transfer, 3 Technology, information and communication: access discrepancies, 67; access to, 59; civic participation and, 52; development of, 55; educational enhancement, 57; employment opportunities and, 57; global impact of, 56; improvement in living standards and, 57; intercultural sensitivity and, 52; leapfrogging and, 56; modernization of public administration and, 57; new familiarity with, 55; in post-Communist countries, 67; as vehicle ofr conflict, 52 Tegopoulos, C., 252 Telecommunications: changing structures of, 5; important roles of, 54; markets, 6



Television. See also individual countries: cable, 4, 107, 127, 134, 135, 136, 137138, 166170; digital, 161; and fixed service satellites, 126, 134; monopolies, 3548; music channels, 190; regional, 182, 183, 184; satellite, 4, 107, 126, 129, 138, 151154, 161, 162, 183; social change and, 200; as source of political information, 200 Television, reality, 179196; accused of promoting Western interests, 191; Al Rais, 180, 182, 186189, 191; Arab values and, 187, 188; business and, 186189; competing arguments on, 191193; condemnation of, 180; controversy over, 190; criticism of based on religious morality, 186189; democratization and, 194196; as entertainment, 180182; fatwas issued on, 190, 191; implications of for political participation and democratization, 191193; inter-Arab rivalries and, 182186; Islamic principles and, 180; patriotic feelings from, 185; as political programming, 192, 193; politics and, 180182, 184, 185, 186; public contention and, 191193; reactions to, 180; religion and, 186189; Star Academy, 180, 182, 192, 193, 194; Superstar, 180, 182, 184, 185, 191, 193; undemocratic means of voting in, 194 Temas de Noche (television), 39 Tettey, W.J., 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 28, 29 Tharoor, S., 56 Thayer, N., 82 Theory: of diffusion of innovations, 3; of liberation, 4 Thompson, M., 58 Thussu, D.K., 240 Togo: elimination of prison sentences for media offenses, 2728 Tomlinson, J., 3

Torrijos, M., 46 Torrijos, O., 44, 45 Toussaint, F., 211, 215 Toynbee, A., 221 Trade: agreements, 6; barriers, 5, 199; free, 199216; international, 6; practices, 7; regional, 1, 5; Star Academy, 189191 Trifonov, S., 231 Trigkas, G., 245, 246 Trump, D., 181 Tseng, Y-H., 114 Tu, W-M., 102 Tzannetakos, Y., 243, 249 Uganda: Capital Radio in, 30; independent media commission in, 28; intimidation of media practitioners in, 29; media regulatory bodies in, 28; National Frequency Registration Board in, 30; radio in, 30; Uganda Journalists Safety Committee, 29; use of antiterrorism laws to stifle media, 2324 UNITED for Intercultural Action, 60, 68n5 United Nations Decade of Development, 3 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, 56 United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 163 United Nations Index of Human Development, 56 United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), 84 United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (UNWSIS), 52, 53, 54, 56, 59, 64 United States: Cellular Vision Technology and Communications Company in, 45; invasion of Panama by, 44



Vanden Heuvel, J., 39 Vanguard, The (newspaper), 136 Varinoyannis, V., 252 Vartanova, E., 67 Venezuela: Cisneros Group in, 6 Ventura, J., 181 Vgontzas, A., 244 Vickers, G., 43 Villalobos Quirs, E., 46 Vincent, S., 94 Voice of America (VOA), 93, 134, 139 Voice of Nigeria (VON), 136 Waisbord, S., 36, 37, 40 Wan, J., 118 Wang, E., 108 Warsaw Ministerial Conference (2000), 57 Waters, M., 221 Watson, B., 102 Webb-Vidal, A., 40 Weitzman, J., 54 Wells, A., 4 Wiest, N.C., 117 Wilkinson, K.T., 5, 199216 Wolfensohn, J., 95 Womens Media Center (WMC), 89, 90, 94 World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC), 29

World Bank (WB), 6; and Nigeria, 127; pressure on African countries for reform by, 19 World Press Freedom Day (2002), 30 World Trade Organization (WTO), 6; Korea and, 161 Yale Genocide Project, 80 Yaneva, M., 227, 228 Yang, C-Y., 106 Yazdi, A., 153154 Yotis, A., 242 Yugoslavia: dissolution of, 53 Zabludovsky, A., 207 Zabludovsky, J., 203, 204, 207, 210 Zaharopoulos, T., 239, 245 Zambia: anti-media laws in, 24; legislation on control of media, 17; media in postindependence era in, 17; professionalism in media practice, 26 Zarco, J., 39 Zedillo, E., 207, 208, 209, 212 Zimbabwe: anti-media laws in, 24; Criminal Law Bill in, 24; intimidation of media practitioners in, 2829; radio in, 19; refusal of open media access in, 15; repressive state policies in, 28, 29 Zongo, N., 25 Zuberi, N., 5

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Media Transformations in Emerging Democracies Isaac A. Blankson and Patrick D. Murphy, editors

Negotiating Democracy addresses issues that have defined the challenges and consequences of media transformation faced by new and emerging democracies. These issues include the dismantling of national broadcasting systems, the promotion of private independent and pluralistic media, the clash between liberal democratic and authoritarian political traditions, negotiations about the appropriate broadcast language, and the potential for free press and for freedom of speech. The contributors use examples from countries such as Cambodia, Bulgaria, Iran, Nigeria, and Taiwan to not only provide detailed analysis of regional and/or nation-specific cases of media, but also to identify transnational patterns that help deepen the understanding of the medias role in globalization. I like the inclusion of the wide and diverse selection of nations, all the more so because most of them arent the usual suspects. Most of the contributors are relatively new, fresh voices in the field and in a good position to present new perspectives. The topic is highly significant, very important, and as yet has not been addressed in this particular form. Donald R. Browne, author of Ethnic Minorities, Electronic Media and the Public Sphere: A Comparative Approach This book provides rich, interesting historical and very useful contemporary descriptive material. The cases illustrated show a nice variety of primary concerns, from private media monopolies in Guatemala and Bulgaria, to media globalization in Bulgaria, to press freedom and media democratization. Joseph Straubhaar, coauthor of Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology At Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Isaac A. Blankson is Associate Professor of Communication and Public Relations and Patrick D. Murphy is Professor of Mass Communications. Murphy is the coeditor (with Marwan M. Kraidy) of Global Media Studies: Ethnographic Perspectives. A volume in the SUNY series in Global Media Studies Yahya R. Kamalipour and Kuldip R. Rampal, editors

State University of New York Press