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International Communication Theory

Tomasz Pudowski, Ph.D. Collegium Civitas, October 20, 2005

Process Whereby World Is Made into Single Place with Systemic Differences Elements: Transborder Capital, Labor, News, Images, Information Flows

Main Engines: TNCs, TMOs

Media Globalization Aspects

Space-time Compression Changing Working Habits Information Accessibility in Most Remote Places Impact on Local Cultures Media Events Providing Common Experience and Uniting Globe

Limitations of Global Village

Uneven Access to Information

Media Distribution per 1,000 citizens

Knowledge Gap

Media Distribution per 1,000

2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Pakistan Newspapers Radios TV's



Unbalanced Flow of Information

Worlds News Agencies Monopoly Control over Flow from and to Developing Countries North-North North-South South-South

Structure of Global News Flow

North North



New International Information and Communication Order UNESCO Conference, Belgrade, 1980
Elimination of Present Inbalances and Inequalities Elimination of Negative Effects of Certain Monopolies & Exessive Concentrations Removal of Obstacles to Balanced Dissemination of Information

New International Information Order, contd.

Plurality of Sources & Channels of Information Freedom of Press & of Information Freedom of Journalists Developing Countries to Improve Sincere Will of Developed Countries to Help

New International Information Order, contd.

Respect for Each Peoples Cultural Identity and Right of Each Nation to Inform World about its Interests, Aspirations and Values Respect of Right of All Peoples to Participate in International Exchanges of Information on Basis of Equality, Justice and Mutual Benefit

In the past, much of the IC debate focuse on the NWICO, which respresents:

1) An evolutionary process seeking a more just and equitable balance in the flow and content of information 2) A right to national sefl-determination of domestic communication policies


3) At the international level, a two-way information flow reflecting more accurately the aspirations and activities of less developed countries (LDCs)

Ultimate goal: restructured system of media and telecommunications priorities in order for LDCs to obtain greater influence over their media, information, economic, cultural, and political systems

Conflict over NWICO

LDCs postulate measures that clash with strongly held journalistic traditions and practices in the West:
Government control of the media Limited reporter access to events Journalistic codes Licensing of reporters Taxation of the broadcast spectrum

Balanced Flow of Information

Approved by UNESCO in the 1970s Even that idea criticized as interference with free flow and free market mechanisms. Only an open and free flow of information is consistent with the goals of a truly free press

Not merely a theoretical issue
Used to legitimize a governmental role in disseminating information in several states, notably in Africa (in Liberia journalists need permits to cover information, no permit ever given to use the Internet)

International News in Western Media

The average mass circulation newspaper in the West carries less international news than ten years ago (with the exception of time around 9/11)

Reasons for less international coverage

Costs ($250,000 per year to place an equip one) Restrictions from censorship to jailing High turnover of foreign correspondents Trend toward parachute journalism-flocks descending in scenes of conflict to trivialize and sensationalize complex issues Lack of public concern, as reflected in the trend toward light, fluffy, and trendy journalism

Changes in International Media in 1980s and 1990s

American Media
Background Deregulation Unprecedented Corporate Growth -Mergers -Concentration -Conglomeration -Monopoly

Media Research
Most research looks at micro issues such as:
agenda-setting Violence Ownership Or a specific medium such as: Print Television

NWICO offers a macro approach, so do the following theories:

Theories of International Communication

Electronic Colonialism Theory (ECT) World-System Theory (WST) Free Flow of Information Modernization Theory Dependency Theory Structural Imperialism

Theories of International Communication, cntd

Hegemony Critical Theory The Public Sphere Cultural Studies perspectives Theories of the Information Society Discourses of Globalization A Critical Political-economy of the 21st century

Electronic Colonialism Theory

Throughout history there have been few successful efforts at empire building:
Military Colonialism (B.C.-1,000 A.D.) The expansion of the Roman empire throughout most of what is today Europe during the Greco-Roman period

Christianity Colonialism (1,000-1,600) Militant Christianity of the Crusades that sought to control territory from Europe to Middle East. Beginning 1095, 200 years of crusades led to the establishment of new European colonies in the ME. The territories were seized from Muslims as Western civilization became the dominant international force

Mercantile Colonialism (1,600-1,950) Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas became objects of conquest by European powers that sought markets, raw materials, and other goods unavailable at home in return sending colonial administrators, immigrants, a language, educational system, religion, philosophy, high culture, and a lifestyle that frequently were inappropriate for the invaded country. International status was a function of the number and location of ones foreign colonies

Electronic Colonialism (1950-Present)

In 1950s and 1960s rise of nationalism in developing countries and a shift to a service-based, information economy in the West set the stage for the fourth and current era of empire expansion

Electronic Colonialism
Represents the dependent relationship of LDCs on the West established by the importation of communication hardware and foreign-produced software, along with engineers, technicians, and related information protocols, that establish a set of foreign norms, values, habits, values, and expectations that, to varying degrees, alter domestic cultures, habits, values, and the socialization process.

Electronic Colonialism Theory

The concern is that this new foreign information will cause the displacement, rejection, alteration, or forgetting of native or indigenous customs, domestic messages, and cultural history. LDCs fear EC as much as MC. Whereas MC sought cheap labor, EC seeks minds. It is aimed at influencing attitudes, desires, beliefs, lifestyles, and consumer behavior.

Electronic Colonialism Theory

As the citizens of LDCs are increasingly viewed through the prism of consumerism, control of their values and purchasing patterns becomes increasingly important to multinational firms. Tools: Western media messages, e.g. at its peak in mid1990s, Baywatch was watched by more than 1 billion people a week in nearly 150 countries.

Electronic Colonialism Theory

EC relies on the long-term consequences of exposure to these media images and messages to extend the Wests markets, power, and influence.

World-System Theory
Provides the concepts, ideas, and language for structuring international communication. WST was proposed and developed by Immanuel Wallerstein. WST proposes that global economic expansion takes place from a relatively small group of core zone nation-states out to two other zones of nations-states, these being in the semiperipheral and peripheral zones

World-System Theory
It is assumed that the zones exhibit unequal and uneven economic relations, with the core nations being the dominant and controlling economic entity. Core nations
exert control and define the nature and extent of interactions with the other two zones provide technology, software, capital, knowledge, finished goods, and services to the other zones which function as consumers and markets

World-System Theory
Capital-intensive, high-wage,high-technology production involving low labor exploitation and coercion

Labor-intensive, low-wage, low-technology production involving high labor exploitation and coercion

Core-like actiivties, periphery-like activities

World-System Theory
Core Nations (30+) Semi-Peripheral Nations (20+) Peripheral Nations (100+)

Free Flow of Information

The concept reflected Western, and specifically US, antipathy to state regulation and censorship of the media. It was part of the liberal, free market discourse designed in the post-WWII bi-polar world of free market capitalism and state socialism. As such it was part of the Cold War discourse. The FFI doctrine assisted the West in advertising and marketing their goods in foreign markets, in ensuring continuing influence of Western media on global markets, and in strengthening the West in its ideological battle with the Soviet Union. Also helped communicate, in subtle rather than direct ways, US governments points of view to international audiences

Modernization Theory
Complimentary to the doctrine of free flow in the post-war years was the view that international communication was the key to the process to the modernization and development of the so-called Third World. Daniel Lerner, MIT, The Passing of Traditional Society (1958)- early 1950s research into audience exposure to radio in Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iran. Hypothesis: exposure to the media made traditional societies less bound by tradition and made them aspire to a new and modern way of life.