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TEL 319. World Media Systems. The two main questions of this course:. What makes countries and their media different?

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TEL 319

World Media Systems

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The two main questions of this course:

  • What makes countries and their media different?

  • What makes them different along the media “have” / “have not” scale? I.e. Why do some nations have a lot of communication devices and produce a lot of content and other countries a little or none?

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History of Telecommunications

  • Factors determining the evolution of modern communications:

    • Technological progress

    • Social transformations

    • Institutional evolution

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History of telecommunications

  • From Post to Telegraph

    • Couriers – lasted for a few thousand years:

      • King Sargon, 3800 BC – Postmaster, maps

      • Cyrus the Great and his Royal Couriers – The Great Road  Sardes to Susa 1800 miles 111 stations

      • Romans  The Via system – Roman roads width “directly influences” the gauge of modern railways – 90,000 kilometers or 54,000 miles (see link)

      • The stage-coach system in the US – Pony express 2000 miles in 10 days

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From travel to signals

Send the message, not the messenger

Signaling systems:

  • Greek firegrams

  • Persian, Gaelic and Amerindian voicegrams

  • Talking drums and talking cannons (Hudson valley)

  • Chappe’s semaphore – a cross with moving arms that were moved to create coded signals – first optical telegraph – France had in 1850 500 stations covering 2800 miles

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  • GREEK Telegraphs:

  • Water tank and torch

  • Drain water for as long as you see the torch lit at the nearby station

  • When torch disappears read the message on the floating rod

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  • First telegraphs: Chappe’s optical telegraph – Invented during the French revolution

  • Position of the arms determined the letter or a brief message

  • 1850: 500 stations covering 2800 miles in France

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History of Telecommunications

  • Telegraph

    • Built on the idea of optical telegraph

    • Instead of using light, use electromagnetism

    • Noticed that electricity transfers quickly at great distance and creates a magnetic force

    • The inventor of telegraph was an amateur American painter  Morse 1845 Baltimore Washington;

    • Cyrus Field:1858 1st successful transatlantic cable; 1866 first long term cable connection

    • Government refused the monopoly  first telegraph titan Western Union

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The telegraph

Samuel Morse: amateur painter and inventor

Invented the device and its alphabet (1844) – but not telegraphy itself

S = . . .

O = _ _ _

S = …

First transatlantic cable 1858 (successful 1866)

Major impact: the “wire” news agency

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History of Telecommunications

  • THE CONTENT/SOCIAL REVOLUTION - From Quipu-s to print

    • Letters: some written, some orally delivered, some inscribed in ropes

    • Manuscripts took forever to produce: 2 bibles per year

    • Print revolution: 1 bible in a week or even a day – runs of 2000-3000 exemplars

    • 1500 AD: 20 million books in Europe, for a population of 100 million people

    • Print revolution: not only technological but also social

    • The rational-populist revolution:

      • Protestantism and its emphasis on literacy (personal knowledge of Scriptures)

      • Humanism and emphasis on general education and pursuit of knowledge beyond the limits (although not necessarily against) tradition

      • Using science to improve everyday life  needs more knowledge, etc.

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History of telecommunications

  • The modern institutional system

    • Royal post for centralizing absolutist monarchies 1400-1500 – e.g. France or Spain

    • Where the system was decentralized the postal system was private  Germany and the Venetian Taxis

    • Era of war and nationalism (Napoleon):

      • All systems have, in the end, been taken under governmental control

      • For “reasons of state” – frequently war

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Theory of libertarian (“liberal”) and communitarian (social responsibility) media systems

  • Libertarian media systems are based on a theory of society and of the press

  • Libertarian theory:

    • Facilitated by the Reformation

      • freeing conscience from bureaucratic churches frees individuals and consciousness from the manacles of tradition and authority

    • Appears in England, XVII century (Milton, Locke)

    • Developed in the US (Jefferson) and in England (Mill)

    • Consecrated by the US constitution

    • Not a “pure” system of laws anymore

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Libertarian theory assumptions (social responsibility) media systems

  • Three assumptions – all optimistic – about the:

    • Nature of man: rational, end in himself, autonomous and creative

    • Nature of society/state: a natural contract of free individuals to preserve their individual happiness and autonomy; is not a reality greater than its members

    • Nature of knowledge: empirical and plural

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Impact of liberal theory of knowledge on media theory and practice

  • Two part argument

    • Capacity to know is given to all by God; knowledge, however, is to be acquired individually:

      • Knowledge is empirical  given in our experiences;

      • there are as many varieties of knowledge (truths) as many experiences

      • the truth emerges by “rubbing” these individual truths on each other

      • Is a self-correcting, progressive, emergent process

    • A free and unfettered press (“free market-place of ideas”) is needed to allow the opinions to confront and correct each other (“self-righting” process)

    • See quote from Becker on page 44 and Milton’s argument summarized on pages 44 and 45

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Mill’s reasons why the advantages of a free market-place of ideas outweigh its disadvantages

  • Main disadvantage of a pluralistic market-place: we have to put up with a lot of wrong-headed of even malicious ideas that have to be accepted as true until proved wrong

  • Mill says that even wrong ideas and opinions have value:

    • If we silence one opinion, even if this is wrong, we silence not one individual but the truth-making process itself

      • Even a wrong opinion might contain a grain of truth which we need for getting the complete picture

    • Even if the majority holds the right opinion, the dissenting opinion performs a useful function: it forces the majority to defend its ideas and not accept them as dogma

      • Unless challenged, truths lose their vitality and their impact on character and conduct

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Effects of Libertarian theory on political institutions of ideas outweigh its disadvantages

  • The country that has first enshrined the libertarian idea in its laws were the US

  • Bill of Rights  First Amendment

    • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    • Instead of specifying what (or what cannot) be said, the Constitution specifically mentions that everything can be said, without prior censorship

    • However, even in the US, there are limitations:

      • Libelous, offensive and indecent speech are not protected

      • Speech that presents a clear and present danger to the individual and collective security of the US citizens (WWI, justice Holmes)

      • Yet, these are more theoretical than practical – rarely applied, especially to print media

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Communitarian (social responsibility) media of ideas outweigh its disadvantages

  • Main idea – the goal of communication systems is to further the goals and happiness of the community not that of the individual

  • Relies on different assumptions – mostly pessimistic—about man, society and truth

    • Man is not an autonomous agent – society is what makes him what he his – individual freedom is useless unless society makes sure that all have the same potential to achieve

    • Society/governments are the goal of individual existence, they are more than the sum of their parts

    • People are gullible and their innate desire to achieve true knowledge is debatable we cannot trust people to arrive at some greater truth through interaction (p. 100)

      • Somebody needs to tell people the truth, which is related to societal goals

      • Knowledge is always related to its usefulness for furthering the goals of society/state

      • We are given the right to know and express our ideas to further the good of the society as a whole, if we do not do so, we might forfeit this right (?)

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Caveats to the two “theories” of the press discussed here

  • Chapter 3 in Siebert, Peterson and Schramm says that soc. Responsibility theory is uniquely American

  • In fact it develops on the European / socialist tradition (society and the state are greater realities and more important) than the individual

  • Social-responsibility theory was quite successful in the US, but not across the board. While the print media remains libertarian, broadcasting and some telecommunications are regulated within a “social responsibility” framework  although this conflicts with the first amendment

  • No pure libertarian system, anywhere

  • Europe: social responsibility theory and practices are less strong than they used to be, libertarianism has made strong inroads (privatization)

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Communitarian (social responsibility) media systems here

  • Main characteristic of social responsibility or communitarian media:

    • Media should serve a greater purpose, dictated by the state  social development, improve race relations, involve citizens in democratic debate etc.

    • Freedom is not “from” but “for”

    • Freedom of expression is not just a right but also a duty, if duty neglected or misused, right lost

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Social responsibility media in an ideal world here

  • Media should perform pre-set goals (not just in principle, but specifically and self-consciously), such as:

    • service the political system  make people vote

    • Educate people

    • Promote health and other social campaign

  • Hutchins Commission on the Freedom of the Press (see this link for more information) set the following goals

    • Make the factual knowledge presented in the news relevant (by some external standards)

    • Allow fringe opinions, even if unpopular and unacceptable by the public known, even make an extra effort to be known

    • Have a self-conscious race and ethnicity related policy of news coverage

    • Media should present and clarify the goals and values of society (should be subordinated to these goals and values)

    • Greater societal / media transparency

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Social responsibility media: possible problems here

  • Whose standards should we use for making the news relevant?

  • What fringe opinion are to be given an extra-voice?

  • Whose values and goals is media supposed to promote?

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Modern Media systems: hereWestern Media

  • Defined in terms of:

    • Their political and social regimes:

      • Libertarian/populist – American and Anglo-Saxon

        • Private initiative

        • Market driven; loosely regulated

        • Neutral in tone; general purpose; provincial

        • Strengthened by technological innovation

      • Communitarian/elitist – European and Asian (Japanese)

        • State or mixed state-private ownership

        • Tightly regulated and politically controlled

        • Partisan and associated with various groups; located in the capital city

        • Considerably weakened by technological innovation

  • To serve and to entertain the “people” (populist) although in Europe there is a conflict between populism and elitism

  • Two layers: national and multinational

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American Media here

  • Dominant force in the world. Why?

  • Influence or force? (see characteristics)

  • Central values:

    • Political: Freedom (1st Amendment “Congress shall make no law”).

    • Business: creativity, risk-taking, versatility on a market-based background

    • Economies of scale: internally and externally

      • A large internal market allows producing for outside markets at low cost

    • Content and social values:

      • Neutrality in content – people expect to be informed in order to create their own opinions – they do not expect to be preached at or indoctrinated

      • Individuality and personal freedom – each reader/member of the audience is a hero or should be able to identify with the hero – sitcoms and dramas – “ideal mirrors of reality” / Populism

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Main characteristics of American Media: here

  • Fragmented:

    • Geographically -- no national newspaper; typical newspaper 50,000 readers

      • “Hardware” and “software” ownership does not always overlap

      • Broadcasting is both centralized and decentralized

    • Institutionally –

      • the decline of the national networks and ascent of niche programming  fragmented audiences – Superbowl most watched TV show – 60% share; Seinfeld 20-30% share; regularly a show attracts about 15% rating (American Idol, ER, etc.)

    • News media pretends to be “above the fry” – no clear political or social affiliation, although this is eroding – NPR, NYTIMES, CNN perceived as being to close to the left; Fox News and Talk Radio – more in tune with the right

    • Elite (National Review, the New Republic) or low-brow (National Enquirer) publications are relatively small

  • Globalized:

    • American media is not a strictly national affair  CNN, SONY, FOX – combines localism with globalism

    • More and more local shows are produced with an eye to foreign markets (“lowest common denominator”)

    • Technologically adept: pioneers Radio, Television, Cable, Satellite and Internet communication

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United Kingdom here

  • Similarities with the US:

    • Based on an assumption of freedom, not regulation: No press law

  • Dissimilarities (along the lines mentioned above – government and communitarian concerns):

    • Politically-oriented national media dominates

      • Quality newspapers: The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian - centralized

      • A score of tabloids: Sun (Conservative); Daily Mirror (Labour) – circulation 3 - 4 million (for a population 1/5 that of US)

    • Broadcasting:

      • dominated by the BBC and by the ITN (independent but fiercely regulated) networks

      • Satellite and cable has broken the spell of state monopoly

    • Political control: Journalism board and special governmental laws can curtail freedom of speech – remnants of royal (now governmental) authoritarianism

    • World news leader due to its imperial prestige  BBC World Service 150 million listeners although in the US is now available only on-line

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France here

  • Illustrates the difference between US and Europe the best

  • One of the most powerful states in Europe: clear laws for suppressing or infringing on an absolute freedom of the press –

    • See Gubler vs. Mitterand example (

    • Book author convicted for a criminal offense for publishing a book about the illness of the former president Mitterand

  • Media dominated by Paris - centralized

  • Newspapers clearly politically oriented along not only ideological but also party lines: France Soir, Le Monde, L’Humanite

  • Television, until 1987 controlled by the government

    • Changes: Television privatized under technological pressure

    • Mass media more commercial and more global (Vivendi)

  • Struggles technologically – Minitel and low rate of cable and Internet penetration (30%)

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Germany here

  • Regionalized and fragmented (imposed by the Allies after WWII)

  • Several layers of government keep media in check

  • Organization

    • (Paradox) National newspapers are all provincial: FAZ, FR, SDZ (and of course partisan); most quality journals, one national tabloid (Bild)

  • Content

    • Newspapers and TV shows are relatively tame – do not confront authority too violently exception Der Spiegel

    • There is at least one type of speech which is totally censored: fascist and extremist speech

  • Technology and regulation

    • Television scene dominated by governmental networks: ARD and ZDF  great progress toward cable and private but not as much as expected

    • Not the most advanced technologically in Europe, Internet penetration 40% -- after UK (60%) and Scandinavian nations (70%)

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The minor Anglo Saxons here

  • Canada, Australia, New Zeeland

  • Relatively dynamic, combine government with private initiative (like UK)

  • Canadian protectionism (no tax exemption for advertising in American media)

  • Little brother advantage

    • Attractive as movie-making locations

      (Lord of the Rings, Xena, etc)

    • Directors, actors and technicians can more easily immigrate to the US – name an actor or personality

    • Use US as a global platform – Murdoch and his global interests: Europe, Asia and America

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An exception in the making: Scandinavian countries here

  • Traditionally very statist (social-democratic—ie “liberal”) nations

  • Regressive tax on advertising in Sweden

  • Today at the forefront of the Internet revolution:

    • Finland: Highest Internet penetration rate in Europe

    • Some of the highest rates of cable penetration

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Japan here

  • Most communitarian media system – atypical

  • Japan, Inc. – Social organization based on harmony “wa” – adjust your values to those of the group

  • Wa directs the way the media is controlled

    • See press correspondents clubs (rarely include foreign journalists)

    • News that can bother the emperor are not publicized – Crown prince’s search for a wife and her pregnancy were barely publicized in Japan

  • Centralized:

    • Three large newspapers, with local editions, largest circulation: Asahi Shimbun – 14,000,000 daily copies

    • Several Television Station (NHK and Fuji)

    • Governmental control  HDTV partial failure

  • Technologically sophisticated

    • Powerful hardware industry (most tv sets, VCRs or other electronics are produced in Japan or China, by Japanese affiliates)

    • But low computer penetration – complex alphabet and less emphasis on individualized technologies

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European Union media policy here

  • 1989 Television without frontiers: counteract Hollywood domination  50% of programming should be local

  • Paradoxical: without frontiers inside but raising a Chinese wall outside

  • Private industry quite successful in creating Europe-wide media channels: Euronews, Sky, RTL

  • European policy makers followers, not leaders in Internet revolution

  • When ahead in the game, misguided – see the French Internet: Minitel

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The multinational puzzle here

  • Largest media companies rarely national

  • They own and co-own each other across borders

  • Synergy: mix technology, consumer goods and content

  • Transborder “imperialism”: reflection of an interdependent world

  • Most of the transactions are in the Western World

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The multinationals here

  • Time-Warner/AOL – Remember CNN, TNT, TBS, Netscape, Compuserve? They are all here.

  • VIACOM/CBS – MTV and Dan Rather

  • Disney/ABC – Mickey and X-treme sports ESPN

  • Bertelsmann – “German” BMG, Arista (rap and hip-hop) and RTL

  • News Corporation/Fox – “Australian” includes STAR TV, largest Asian satellite service

  • Sony / Columbia Pictures / CBS records (Electronics, Music, Film)

  • Vivendi Universal – “French” Water, energy utility company buys Universal Media & Studios, joins whiskey smuggler company Seagram to form a 50 bn dollar empire

  • VNU – “Dutch” Nielsen; Hollywood dealmaker and distributor owns Billboard, Hollywood Reporter, Adweek

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Totalitarian media systems here

  • Generated by communist and nationalist-socialist political systems

  • They are an extreme form of communitarian media – their most extreme, anti-humanistic form

  • They are NOT the unique product of specific individuals (Stalin, Sadam, Kim Jong Il) or specific nations (Russia, China, Korea)

  • They are the product of ideological fervor and zealotry

    • Produced by political parties armed with an ideology of “enlightenment” – they KNOW the truth, which is one and forever

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Totalitarian Media System Assumptions here

  • Nature of Man: strictly controlled and regulated by a socio-economic (class), race or religious background

  • Nature of Society and State: are not only the primary element of social life but their true and only justified goal – hive mentality

  • Nature of Knowledge: Is acquired by enlightened elites organized in formal institutions – parties -- who have privileged access to “ultimate revealed truths”–

    • e.g. in communist regime true knowledge is revealed by the Marxist doctrine, whose sole repository and interpreter is the Communist Party leadership

    • In nationalist regimes to “savior”-like leaders and parties (NSDAP Germany, or Baath Party in Iraq) and or the military

    • In fundamentalist regimes to a church and its clergy – Iran, Saudi Arabia

  • Totalitarian Systems:

    • Communist and post-communist: Cuba, North Korea, China, Vietnam, Laos, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan

    • National-socialist: Syria, Iraq, Lybia, Burma,

    • Fundamentalist: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Taliban Afghanistan, Osama’s Caliphate

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Totalitarian Media Systems -- Communism here

  • Born out of the great Marxian-proletarian intellectual revolution of 19th Century

  • Main goal: replace all that is bad and imperfect on this world (economic inequality, social conflicts, injustice) with a perfect world

  • Perfection to be achieved not through reform but through radical revolution  violence

  • Why? Marx said that world progresses through contradictions, and reform only moves only the object of contradictions, not contradiction itself

    • Proletarian revolution the only one that removes contradictions by removing social class. This is done by eliminating private property and free markets

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Classic Communist media systems here

  • The political system is reduced to ONE party which is identified with the state –

    • The state is usually identified with the Supreme Leader

  • Each state institution is intertwined with a parallel system of party control

    • the state is a front for the party and for the upper clique ruling the country

  • The party considers itself entitled to absolute control because it is the institution that has absolute control over understanding where society and the world are going

  • Media becomes a bureaucratic department of the party: Propaganda and Agitation

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Functions of Mass Communication in Totalitarian Systems here

  • Serve other state institutions: Army, Health, Education, Propaganda

  • Are seen as an instrument of unity

  • They “explain” and interpret political “revelations”

    Freedom in these systems: “freedom to participate within the system; to acquiesce with the system”

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News content in Communist/totalitarian Media here

  • There are no episodic events that can be reported as they come

  • There is only one event, building socialism, strengthening the nation, revealing God’s will

  • Each article is meant to reveal and reinforce this event – they are proof that the story is right, not that there is a story to tell

  • It is all interpretation and all opinion (no objectivity). The only “straight” news refer to the Leader’s Acts – see North Korea Handout

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Structure here

  • All media is owned and controlled by the government

  • It is part of the governmental structure

  • It is fiercely centralized and narrowly specialized:

    • Trade Union Newspapers

    • Military Newspapers

    • Medical Newspapers

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Totalitarian Media -- Examples here

  • North Korea – N Korean Press Agency

    • Daily news – see handout:

      • The leader visits agricultural project

      • Secret Police officers offer thousands of potted Kimjongillias to the government. The flower was named after the President – Kim Jong Il (see details here)

  • Vietnam

    • Media has to have an “Educational” content  sometimes supported by American money see link here

    • News are usually congratulatory or self-congratulatory. When reporting incidents, they are usually created by the capitalists (see here)

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Chinese Media here

  • A media system “in transition”

  • Dominated by state media owned by the Communist Party, the Military, or by the local and central government

  • Somewhat more liberal in the area of entertainment but news is tightly controlled

  • More liberal media policy

    • Free Talk radio

    • Lively magazines

    • Party and governmental newspapers increasingly rely on advertising

  • Critical issue

    • Ownership: capitalist market without capitalists,

    • State organizations own and cross-own media

    • Makes regulation and control easier

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Chinese media here

  • The seven NOs

  • You are free to publish whatever you want as long as you do not:

    • Negate the guiding role of Marxism, Maoism or Deng Xio Pingsm

    • Oppose the Communist Party

    • Reveal “state secrets”

    • Oppose the national (“minority”) policy of the govt.

    • Advocate superstition, pseudo-science, violence and obscenity

    • Spread rumors

    • Violate national publishing and advertising discipline

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Non Western Media here

  • Dominated by authoritarian media systems

  • Authoritarian system:

    • Although there are laws on the book that guarantee freedom of expression, similar to communitarian and libertarian systems, they are ignored, circumvented and suppressed by raw force

    • The countries are ruled as dictatorships (royal or republican)

    • They can easily convert to democracy and libertarianism or communitarianism if the political leaders are eliminated (Italy, Spain)

  • Difference, communitarian—authoritarian—totalitarian:

    • Communitarian systems: media is regulated by clear laws which although more restrictive than in libertarian systems also ensure certain liberties

      • Communitarian media always function within the confines of the law

    • Totalitarian media systems suppress and repress freedom using laws:

      • Communist freedom of expression is always to be exercised within the system, which requires to support and promote the socialist/religious values of the system – See the 7 Chinese “NOs”

    • Authoritarian systems

      • Brutal and direct censorship and political manipulation of news content

      • Political influence above and beyond the law – uses raw force to impose its will

      • Some areas of freedom are allowed: e.g. entertainment

      • Although slightly communitarian, they have no set assumptions about man and society, it is all in the needs and ideas of the leaders/elites

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Causes of authoritarianism here

  • Why are many non-Western media systems authoritarian?

  • Social, ethnic and political cleavages –

    • authoritarianism a way of keeping the nation together:

  • Media is a symbol of control and power

  • A symbol of national pride and identity

  • Access to media unequal within and between nations

  • Purportedly facilitates development

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    Nigeria: Case study in authoritarianism here

    • Most populous African nation, one of the richest (oil) and ethnically diverse (Muslim-Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba-Christian, native religious split)

    • Hierarchical vs. egalitarian political traditions (North vs. South)

    • A strong secular legal and political tradition (British law) but very fragmented and corrupt political system (Transparency International ranks Nigeria second before last in a list of 90 nations)

    • Strong business class especially among the Southerners

    Nigeria case study l.jpg
    Nigeria – case study here

    • Ethnic tensions  frequent coups

    • Alternates between democracy and dictatorship

      • Frequent journalists imprisonment (local lore “you are not a journalist until you spend some time in prison”)

      • Poor infrastructure hinders media work

    • National news agency mandated by law to:

      • Be patriotic, truthful, honest and fair

      • Don’t be an opponent of government, but a friendly critic

      • Frequent discussions about licensing journalists

    Nigeria l.jpg
    Nigeria here

    • More recently there has been a period of relative democratization but the authoritarianism of the leaders was replaced with that of the various ethnic and religious traditions

    • Northerners, Muslims, want common law to be replaced by Sharia (Islamic law), which uses corporal punishments and amputations

    • The great Nigerian Miss World Debacle of Nov, 2002 see link and video

      • Miss World to be held in Lagos, capital of Nigeria

      • The fundamentalist northern Muslims wanted the event to be cancelled (“decadent,” “corrupts the youth”)

      • A secular newspaper (ThisDay) published a funny/sacrilegious editorial written by an English educated young woman saying that the Muslims should not be offended by the event; if Mohamed, who had several wives, were to attend the event he would for sure choose at least one of the contestants to join his harem

      • Muslim riots—sacrilege—hundreds of deaths, Miss World was cancelled and moved to London

      • The journalist had to leave the country and the newspaper to apologize

    • Conclusion: authoritarianism does not need to come from above, sometimes it can come from below, from the grassroots. Mass media can be a particularly powerful source of contention

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    Non-Western media and the issue of development here

    • Non-Western world inheritor of:

      • Colonial rule and underdevelopment of modern civil life

      • Historical low level of education and technology (including farming and health)

      • Traditional values: power, religion, personal worth  hierarchical and personal

    • Media can/should be used to solve these problems

    • Currently two understandings of “developmental media”

      • In the communitarian and libertarian tradition

        • Media as great multiplier, use its potentialities (as prescribed by traditional theories) – Lerner, Schramm

          social watchdog

          broadens horizons, rises aspirations

          feed interpersonal channels

          enforce social and political norms

        • Media should be used as agent of diffusion of innovation (like agricultural extensions in US); supplements existing culture

      • Second understanding of developmental media – closer to totalitarian theory:

        • Using a socialist-Marxist paradigm

        • Challenges the idea that democracy or Western-style industrialization are good for a nation

        • Western-style media and “freedom of speech:” commercialism fosters colonialism

        • Need for “Development news”: news-process owned and directed by the nation

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    Can media and technology help development? here

    • Second wave of media development was a disaster – it fostered authoritarianism and it did little for improving people’s lives

    • Media can help in health, education or training campaigns, but not when vaccines are missing, teachers are underpaid and training is ideological indoctrination

      • First take care of the basics

    • Can technology solve the problem of development?

      • Setting up state owned television and radio only helps the leaders to indoctrinate the people  TV and radio set ownership does not translate into development

      • However, setting telephone systems fosters development – Leapfrogging: cellular telephony a great success throughout the world, but limited by need to interoperate with land-based companies and cost

        • Success stories: Lebanon, Romania, Nigeria, China (see link)

      • The formula that worked was that of free markets not universal taxation

        • ITU proposals: Maitland program and tax on telecom 

          Tax on international telecom for World Universal Service (1day walk rule) – 12 bn / year

        • Private industry ignored, but it did exactly that: satellite telephones at lower price (however, its most avid users are Osama and isolated terrorists)

    • Free markets usually solve rather than impair development (see the development of television in Latin America)

    • Can democracy and freedom of expression save countries from poverty?

      • Democracy does not create prosperity but can break the cycle of tyranny, corruption and under-development

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    India – a case study in development here

    • Second largest democracy in the World

      • A working federal system and a lively print media

         Influenced by the British system

      • 1,000 dailies and 20,000 weeklies (3 newspapers per 100 persons vs. 26 and 57 in US and Japan)

    • Developmental role of the media: a monumental failure – see example

      • Podapadu village in Andra Pradesh

      • 46 radio sets for 1000 residents  2/3rds of respondents listened to the shows

      • 5 copies of 2 regional newspapers sent to the village  two regular readers

      • However: Most effective means of influencing people remains interpersonal communication

    • Electronic Media tightly controlled by the government (Doordarshan) and stymied by the under-development of the electronics industry (self-reliance)

      • Paradoxically, India has one of the most lively cinema industries in the world (Bollywood) – not regulated

      • Bypassing services: VCR magazines and satellite services (boosted by wars) – but a total disaster when in came to cell phones see link

    • National media involved in an on-going debate with Pakistan and the Muslim world

    • Communal fights, same danger of “authoritarianism from below” as in Nigeria

      • 1992: a mythological TV series about one of the Gods of the Hindu Pantheon, RAMA, has sparked a major revolt in Ayodhya – 1,100 deaths

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    Latin-American media hereBetween authoritarianism, development and democracy

    • Countries with old culture and urbanization

    • Early integrated in the world system

    • Market oriented, technologically astute and economically viable

    • Strong governmental control: undermined by political instability, conflict with the West and social inequality

      • Reflected in media systems: private but muzzled or subservient to the powers that be

      • Core values: populism, entertainment (telenovelas), low political involvement

      • Frequently threatened not only by the government but also by various guerillas, especially left-communist terrorists (see Columbia link)

    • Some of them have made spectacular progress both in terms of freedom and media diversity

    Brazil l.jpg
    Brazil here

    • One of the largest countries in the world  pop 150 million

    • Huge urban centers: Rio and Sao Paolo

    • More TV sets than the rest of LatAm combined

    • Fifth TV network in the world (GLOBO)

    • A great power with a provincial language

    • TV: entertainment oriented, subservient to the government but more and more vociferous

      • Directly involved in “assisting” the military gov to step down in 1984

      • Supported President de Melo, who proved to be a corrupt politician but also instrumental in toppling him


    • Newspapers:

      • Free and vivacious – maintain a climate of debate and discussion

      • Money making machines

      • Reflect the socio-cultural cleavage of the nations: tabloids dominate

    • Brazil has elected its first populist president – far left; fate of democracy unknown

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    Mexico here

    • One of the most solid and secular/radical regimes in Latin America – Mexican Revolution

    • Statist and nationalist: opposed to the US

    • Media, market oriented, was quite early capable in establishing itself as a source of content for the rest of the Hispanic world

    • Old newspaper tradition, some independence but marred by frequent bribes, threats, assassinations and arrests  self-censorship

    • Vast network of connections between party-state oligarchs and media barons


      • PRI removed from power

      • Television privatized and freed from political constraints

      • Two competitive networks TELEVISA – now extended in the – US challenged by AZTECA


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    Media in the Third World today here

    • The great democratic revolution – but freedom of the press always threatened

    • Freedom Forum Scores (how many political and civil rights there are and if they are respected):

      • 1973 50% of non-industrialized world (GDP < 15,000) was totalitarian or very authoritarian

      • 1989 20% totalitarian or authoritarian

      • 1998 10% totalitarian or authoritarian

  • Freedom of the press:

    • 1979 35% of the countries press not free

    • 1989 50% of the countries press not free

    • 1999 35% of the countries press not free


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    Theories explaining international communication inequalities here

    • Electronic colonialism theory ECC

      • CLAIM: After the downfall of classical colonialism (military and political) a media and cultural imperialism remains

        • Mass media and telecommunications depend on Western tools and practices

        • Less developed countries dependent on the West for expertise and hardware

        • ECC = inequal news and programming flows

        • Underdevelopment creates further underdevelopment

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    World-systems or dependency system theory (WST) here

    • Develops electronic colonialism theory

      • Starts from an undeniable reality:

        • There is a center-periphery structure of the world: rich/Western in the center, poor/Non-Western at the periphery

        • The world-system:

          • formed 200 years ago

          • first capitalist colonial systems: metropolitan countries in the center, colonies at the periphery

        • The center extracts materials from the periphery, produces goods and sends it to the periphery consumers (Indian cotton export)

        • As the center grows richer, the periphery grows poorer (Indian poverty)

        • WST theory applies both to economics and media

    • Problems with WST

      • World system position is not destiny: US, Japan

      • For media, there is no “raw material” that is extracted from the periphery – this is information

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    NWICO debate here

    • 1970s New World Information and Communication Order:

      • There is an inequitable distribution of hardware and news which tends to deepen

      • Effect: resources comes and coverage is directed from the center (Western world)

        • Third World image is dominated by the biases of the center

        • Invasion of cultural products – suppresses national identity

      • MASS MEDIA DECLARATION 1978 – International comm. should be re-equilibrated:

    • 2 Positions:

      • Socialist, non-western nations:

        • Strengthen control both over hardware and software

          • News gathering and diffusion process should be made more “national” and directed by governments – alternative news agencies

          • 3rd World information should be filtered and regulated by governments to redress inequities

        • Heavy intervention of governments in the news process  creeping authoritarianism, even totalitarianism

        • USSR had a special interest in this since the torrent of foreign news was threatening internal stability

      • Western nations:

        • world information should flow freely and addressed to individuals

        • private agencies and state agencies should be left to compete for people’s attention in all countries (libertarian theory “free marketplace of ideas”)

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    NWICO compromise here

    • 1978 Media declaration  Plan for action: McBride Commission (Belgrade, 1980):

      • Equitable diffusion of news, technology transfer, elimination of monopolies public or private

      • Guarantee freedom of expression but with caveats: journalists have to be responsible, governments can limit freedom of expression if they deem it as “not reflective of the local situations,” governments are guaranteed a role in fostering a specific information policy, based on national goals

      • State control of news and media for developmental purposes

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    NWICO here

    • Outcome

      • Rejected by the US (withdraws from UNESCO):

        • not because it wanted 3rd world media development, but because this was demanded in the name of the state and required curtailment of freedom of expression.

      • No checks and balances within totalitarian states to prevent them from abusing their power to regulate the media

      • Question: can there be state-directed development AND press freedom?

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    The international flow of television programs here


      • When

        • 1983 – after a previous UNESCO study

      • What

        • Maps the flow of television programming in the world: how much of each countries’ television programming is imported and how much domestically produced

      • Who

        • Various research centers around the world directed by Tapio Varis – UNESCO (United Nations Education Culture Science and Culture Organization) sponsorship

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    The international flow of television programs here

    • Methodology:

      • Sample two-week period in each country

      • Record how many hours of programming were dedicated to:

        • 8 types of programming (info, education, cultural, religious, children, entertainment, ads, unclassified)

        • Foreign vs. domestic

        • And if the above were shown in prime time or not

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    The international flow of television programs here

    • Findings:

      • 1983: 1/3 of world television programming is imported – same as 1973

      • Regional:

        • N America: US imports 2% (Mexico and UK); Canada imports about 30%

        • Latin America: import 50%, all entertainment, 75% from US, 12% from other Lat Am, rest from Europe

        • Western Europe: 30% of programs imported; of which 44% are from US; UK, Germany and France the rest

        • Eastern Europe: about 20-25% imported of which 50% from non-Communist countries and 21 from USSR

        • Asia: 36% imported – highest New Zeeland; lowest India

        • Middle East – 30% imported of which 30% produced in the US

        • Africa – 40% imported – caveat: most of the population does not have access to television

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    Varis study here

    • Other findings

      • Regional exchanges on the increase:

        • Western Europe – over 40% from the region

        • Middle East – over 30% from the region

      • North-South and East-West gaps

        • South and East are recipients

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    Antola and Rogers study here


    • Television flows in: Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Argentina

    • American programming very important

    • TV imports in key Lat. Am. nations have decreased (1972-81):

      • Brazil: 60%  39%

      • Venezuela: 50  33%

      • Chile: 56  44%

      • Peru and Argentina go in the opposite direction

      • Mexico stationary (50%)

    • Mexico major exporter in other countries

    • Rise of Japanese cartoons

    • Adaptation and transformation of American programming

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    Antola and Rogers here

    • Flaw of previous studies:

      • Did not weight the hours by the size of their audience

      • Dramatic changes:

        • Mexico (Televisa): American programming represents 50% in terms of hours but only 30% in terms of total audience size

        • Brazil (Globo): 20% US vs. 80% local in terms of audience

    • Ranking of television prime-time shows in all nations studied:

      • Domestic production

      • Latin American production

      • American production

        Only 4 of top 50 rated shows in study countries are imported

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    Antola and Rogers here

    • Latin American countries became exporters of programming to the US (Hispanic population)

    • Mexico as the “neck” of the hourglass

    • Larger markets (Mexico) make the decision what smaller countries will see (they cover the cost of dubbing)

    • The debacle of Dallas: not bought by Mexico and did poorly in Brazil

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    Antola and Rogers here

    • Why did Mexico and Brazil succeed:

      • Domestic and original productions: telenovela

      • Large markets

      • Market savvy executives

      • Permissive regulatory environment

    • Why did Argentina fail?

      • Television was nationalized

      • Technical incompatibility

      • Marketing contacts were lost

    Antola and rogers71 l.jpg
    Antola and Rogers here


    • Imports from the US are still important

    • Domestic fare attracts larger audiences

    • Mexico = gatekeeper (largest market)

    • Brazil and Mexico are main exporters

    • Mexico the only exporter of programming to the US

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    De Melo: Development of Audio-visual industry in Brazil here

    • Traditional (19th century) Brazilian culture was a colonial culture:

      • Dominated by Europe

      • Served a local elite with European connections

      • Cultural content: books, art, theatre imported

    • Modern Brazil: mix of local (populist) artistic forms and modern formats (music, TV, etc) prepared to meet the needs of the local population

    • Affirmation of national identity and local content in Brazil


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    The Globo Story here

    • A small production company, relatively late starter (1960s)

    • Takes advantage from: modern technology and modern marketing and management

    • Has early set its eyes on a foreign market (Italy and other Latin American countries): never think of your audience as strictly local

    • Taking advantage of lower labor costs, Brazilian telenovelas cost 1/3 of what Americans would charge

    • Profit from telenovelas alone: 20 mil beginning of 1990s

    • As a sign of maturity, Brazil sells not only content but also format: Manuela (telenovela) and Xou of Xuxa (kids)

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    The media “imperialism” argument and the Western Countries

    • Western European nations try to impose barriers and obstacles to American products

    • They believe that if free markets are left alone, America will flood Europe with a deluge of cheap programming

    • This will corrode the standards of the local broadcasters and will debase the public

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    The “Iron Law” of Hollywood dominance: Countries

    • When forced to choose between cheap American programming and costly domestic programming European stations will prefer American programming

    • American programming is cheap because Hollywood and New York producers pay only a minimal cost to re-produce extra-copies (all other costs + profit already covered by domestic consumers)

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    “Iron Law” critique Countries

    • 1. The argument confounds total costs with costs of reproduction:

      • Argument reduced to: “It is cheaper to take a taxi than to buy a car” – in the long run this is flawed

    • 2. American programming was successful not because is cheap (both ways, quality and price) but because it was the only one available, at decent quality and fit for universal distribution at a time when America was the only source of commercial broadcasting

      – broadcasters just like other customers look for “value for money,” not for the cheapest possible price

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    Iron Law critique Countries

    • 3. Cheap imports produce income!

      • Italy:

        • 1 State television channel

        • 10 million dollars for 10,000 hours of broadcasting/year.

      • If all content is domestically produced, Italy can only spend 1000 dollars for each broadcasting hour.

      • If Italy decides to buy 5,000 hours of American programming at 100 dollars an hour, how much is left for domestic production/hour?

      • 9,500,000 dollars left to spend on 5,000 hours of domestic programming either spend almost twice for each hour of programming (1900 dollars) or produce 4,500 extra hours of domestic programming for a second domestic channel

    • Imports do not destroy but can potentially boost higher quality domestic production or extend domestic programming. It depends where you show the content.

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    “Iron Law” critique Countries

    • 4. The iron law assumes that only US can sell its wares abroad, that only it can sell stuff at “marginal cost.” Why can’t England or Brazil do the same?

    • 5. (version of 4) The iron law assumes that the US is the only nation that has a large enough internal market to cover the initial investment of the production, which allows after market sales at “marginal cost”

      • In fact, the US market is quite fragmented, its large production of movies (or TV shows) chases a fixed number of viewers; Friends is usually watched by 10-15% of the American audience; CNN has about 500,000 viewers a week

    • 6. Production decisions are determined by potential not actual market: if this weren’t true the Swiss were not making the Swatches and New Zealanders would not grow kiwis

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    “Iron Law” critique Countries

    • 7. US products are cheap in Europe not only because of “marginal cost” effects but also because there was no one to bid prices up  monopsonistic (one customer) markets – that is how the EBU affords to pay 1/10th of the price paid by American companies for broadcasting the Olympics

    • 8. Although American programming is mediocre (catering to the medium public) it has evolved and is more sophisticated than it used to be (see Discovery, National Geographic, HBO etc.)

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    “Iron Law” critique Countries

    • 9. The assumption that American programming is simply dumped abroad, without regard for local traditions or universal appeal is wrong, this is finely calculated by the studio executives

    • 10. The iron law assumes that a market oriented system will benefit only the Americans, in fact as the systems becomes organized around production for sale more actors will emerge (such as Televisa) that will be better prepared to serve various niche markets

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    What explains US success? Countries

    • The only producer in a world of consumers

    • Aiming at the average viewer and his/her expectations

    • American programming is designed to appeal to diverse (universal audiences) because the American audience is diverse itself

    • American culture was a “pre-sold” product, the American mystique of the West has long preceded the success of the Western (Karl May)

    • American content industry is highly sophisticated and managed as a mass-consumption industry

    • American economy is a service economy, of which content is only a segment (this is what US is good at)

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    Iron Law conclusions Countries

    • The US was strong because was the only sale oriented nation in a world of under-achievers (state dominated monopolies)

    • In the long run it is cheaper and smarter to buy a car than to rent one, provided that the system is market based

    • Commercial production in the US has in fact subsidized European high quality production and access to world events (see Olympics)

    • Yet there is a need for balancing public and private

    Midterm l.jpg
    MIDTERM Countries


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    Mini-summary: Countries

    • We learned that broadcasting and telecommunications live through an interplay between interdependence (internationalization) and localization

    • Production or distribution have become more international but content consumption is still locale-bound

    • Great disparity between nations but isolating nations from the world is not the solution

    • More interconnection, not less, should be the solution

    • Freer media environments have increased diversity of programming

    Telecommunication and interdependence l.jpg
    Telecommunication and interdependence Countries

    • Major issue of the first part of the course:

      • Differences between media systems

      • How does dependence of some countries on other countries is mediated by the type of media system they have

      • Authoritarian and communitarian media systems are more likely to be dependent on libertarian media systems

        • Libertarian systems produce more and control more of the media resources of the world

    • Second part of the course looks at the same issues focusing on Telecommmunications

    • We can look at dependence by considering other types of connections:

      • Telephone

      • Internet

    Balance and dependence in the world of telecommunications telephony l.jpg
    Balance and dependence in the world of telecommunications: telephony

    • International telephony is a central tool for bringing people together

    • What are the changes in the world telecommunications arena observed over the last 20-30 years?

    • What countries dominate the arena of international telephony and why?

    How much more interdependent and globalized is the world today l.jpg
    How much more interdependent and globalized is the world today?

    • Telecommunications between nations have increased

    • Prices have decreased

    • Technology has improved

    • How much?

    • Who has benefited from this process the most?

    • How should the benefits of this economic and technological revolution be spread around?

    Improvements in telecommunications brief history l.jpg
    Improvements in telecommunications – brief history today?

    • A little bit of perspective:

      • No matter how great are the discrepancies today, the world has become smaller ACROSS THE BOARD



      • Space before 1840s (telegraphy) was immense

        • Most people, including members of aristocracy, spent their lives within 30 miles of their homes

        • Only the rich and government people traveled

        • It took several weeks – up to a month to travel across Europe

        • Two months – two weeks to cross the Atlantic

        • Two years to get an answer from a letter sent to Australia

        • It took Lewis and Clark at the beginning of 19th Century 3 years to travel from Saint Louis to Washington State and back

        • Daniel Boone – 6 months to get from W Virginia to Boonesborough

        • Trip up the Hudson (before steam): 50 hours for 140 miles

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    Improvements in telecommunications - 2 today?

    • Travel: Boston – New York

      • 1800 3-4 days

      • 1830 1-2 days

      • 1860 10 hours

      • 1920 6 hours

    • Mail service in the US – New York to S. F.

      • 24 days to 12 hours (FedEX)

    • Even air travel has improved - New York – Paris

      • Lindbergh – couple of days

      • Early air travel 10 – 12 hours

      • Standard air travel – 6 – 7 hours

      • Concorde – 3 – 4 hours

    Improvement in telecommunications 3 l.jpg
    Improvement in telecommunications - 3 today?

    • The long distance explosion

      • Length to place a call:

        • 1920 – 14 minutes

        • 1931 – 2.1 minutes

      • Cost to place a call (NY – SF)

        • 1920 - $15/3 min

        • 1930 - $8

        • 1941 - $4.8

        • Today 10c/min

        • Tomorrow – flat rate plan ( – $29.99/month)

    What is the present state of telecommunications l.jpg
    What is the present state of telecommunications today?

    • Despite tremendous increase in traffic and affordability, there is an equally tremendous disparity in capability and potential to communicate

    Direction of traffic inequalities l.jpg
    Direction of traffic inequalities (1999)

    • 1999 direction of traffic report:

      • Summarizes how much time people from any specific country in the world have spent talking on the phone with people in other countries

      • 23 developed countries generate 75% of the outgoing traffic but only 57% of incoming traffic  deficit

      • US has the largest deficit: no country sends more phone calls to the US, than the amount the US sends to it

      • This works in favor of the sending countries due to the settlement mechanism

    Why the disparity l.jpg

    • Why are these disparities still so great?

    • Why isn’t telephony more prevalent in the world

      • Considering that is relatively cheap considering the benefits?

    • Mix of commercial and political reasons

    • Most important: International settlement mechanism

    International telecommunications settlement mechanism l.jpg
    International telecommunications settlement mechanism (1999)

    • Telephonic conversations very hard to price

    • Marginal costs are really small: all that is consumed in a call is electricity, everything else is fixed costs or labor

    • Prices are conventional and cover:

      • Cost of fixed assets (building the networks and the connections between the two countries)

      • The value of the network itself (the fact that it makes people available to the other partner) – “right of passage”

    • Each country signs a convention with each of its telephonic partners

    How international telephony pricing works l.jpg
    How International telephony pricing works (1999)

    • The convention partners commonly agree to a “reasonable” price for a minute of conversation – “settlement rate”

    • At the end of the year the country that spent more minutes pays for the balance (the other calls “cancel out”)

    • They pay up for the “unequal use” of the network by its subscribers – payment using the “settlement rate”

    • If one country has a monopoly system and the other one a competitive one, the monopoly system will get far larger benefits from the clearing because it will always keep prices higher, limiting outgoing calls and encouraging incoming calls

    How international telephony pricing works98 l.jpg
    How international telephony pricing works (1999)

    • Example

      • India and the US

        • Countries decide that it costs 71c per minute to establish a connection between them (wholesale price)

        • American callers spent 100,000,000 minutes on calls to India in 2001

        • Indian callers spent 10,000,000 minutes on calls to US in 2001

        • American companies have to pay the Indian monopoly telecom 63,900,000

        • In addition, because the Indian telecom is a monopoly, it has charged each Indian customer a retail price of 1.80c per minute

          • it makes an additional 18,000,000 dollars = $81,900,000

        • In the US, where the market is more competitive, American companies charged only 90c per minute, so they made $90,000,000 – 63,900,000 = 26,100,000


    Conclusion l.jpg
    Conclusion (1999)

    • International telephonic traffic between 3rd world and 1st world countries is a gigantic cash cow for the latter, especially if they maintain monopolies

    • 1993-1998, developing countries have received $40bn dollars: enough to add 45 million phone lines in the third world

    • First world countries want to abandon the system and set it on a more realistic basis:

      • Settlement rate should reflect cost

      • People in the third world should have more equal access to calls to first world countries

    • If 3rd world countries do not do this, their outgoing traffic might go to zero, due people moving the calls to the Internet or always preferring to be called from abroad

    Internet diffusion digital divide causes and geography l.jpg
    Internet diffusion / digital divide: causes and geography (1999)

    • The world of information technology is very unequal: some have a lot, some a little

    • How large is the divide?

    • What are the factors that predict (are associated) with Internet diffusion?

      • Old media endowment

      • Economic development

      • Human capital or democracy

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    How great are the differences (1999) data (1999)

    • See tables I distributed in class (they are also linked here)

      • In 1999, Top 30 wired nations contained, compared to bottom 30 wired nations:

        • 57 times more Internet users  85% of all Internet population

        • 162 time more hosts per capita

      • A top 30 wired nation, compared to a bottom 30 wired nation

        • Is 10 times richer

        • Is typically libertarian/communitarian (vs. authoritarian)

        • Has 5 times more television per capita

        • Is more educated (98% literate compared to 60% literate)

    Internet diffusion digital divide l.jpg
    Internet diffusion / digital divide (1999)


    • Internet penetration: users (NUA) and hosts per capita – highly correlated (R=.8, sig. = .001)

    • Most wired nations are economically advanced (figs. 3.1, 3.2)

    • Several clusters: Nordic/Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon, Asian/Tigers, Smaller European, Other Asian, Middle Eastern, South American, African

    Internet diffusion digital divide103 l.jpg
    Internet diffusion / digital divide (1999)

    • What factors explain the disparity between the groups?

    • Is it:

      • How rich is the media environment in a nation?

      • How rich is the nation?

      • How much a nation spends on research and development?

      • How well educated/skilled is the population in a nation?

      • How democratic is it?

    Internet diffusion digital divide104 l.jpg
    Internet diffusion / digital divide (1999)

    • Research method used:

      • Correlation

    • How much the values on a variable (measure) increase as the values (measures) on another variable increase, too.

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    Internet diffusion / digital divide findings (1999)

    • Correlation diagrams (3.4 – 3.6)

      • As old media endowment increases, new media endowment increases, too – old media = newspapers, radio, tv, telephones and mobiles telephony

      • As Gross Domestic Product Increases, Percentage of population on-line increases, too

      • As money spent for research increases, percentage of population on-line increases, too

      • Countries with better educated populations or more democratic are more likely to be connected

        • However, keep an eye on the outliers, under or over connected relative to their level of old media, economic or research

    Internet diffusion digital divide106 l.jpg
    Internet diffusion / digital divide (1999)

    • Caveat:

      • Economically developed nations are also more likely to spend on research, to have highly educated populations and to be democratic

      • Which of these factors really influences connectedness?

      • TABLE 3.4: It’s Economic development and R&D spending, plus being a Scandinavian or North American country

    Internet diffusion l.jpg
    Internet diffusion (1999)

    • Conclusion:

      • Economic development conditions all the other factors, including connectivity, education, skills, etc.

      • However, this conclusion begs the questions:

        • How do you become developed, in the first place?

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    Next class assignment (1999)

    • There will be no “official” lecture on Thursday. Instead, we will have a class discussion. The topic is:

      • How can the current world digital divide be reduced?

      • The discussion should be rooted in this week’s readings. The discussion will focus on the following topics:

        • Is the digital gap bridgeable?

        • Can specific technologies be used to “leapfrog” a nation’s current predicament?

        • If you were an international consultant working for the World Bank, what would you advise the less developed nations to do? Come up with specific proposals for

          • Economy

          • Society

          • Political life

        • Summarize your thoughts into a bullet-point list or one-page mini-essay and be prepared to talk about it!

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    REMINDER (1999)

    • Your final paper is due April 16

    • Last two weeks of classes will be dedicated to final presentations

    • Each student has about 15 minutes to present their paper

    • Have a small powerpoint presentation

    • Explain what your topic is, main issues discussed in the paper, conclusions

    Intl organizations l.jpg

    • ITU

    • UNESCO

    • WTO

    • ICANN

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    What are International organizations (1999)

    • Are diplomatic arrangements

    • Organized under the rule of international law

    • States, not individuals, are the subjects of this law

    • Regulates the way nations / states interact with one another

    • These are organizations and laws in which people enter voluntarily and can withdraw from at any point without (real) penalty from the organization, although there could be consequences coming from the other member states (embargoes, war)

    • Weaker than internal national organizations because the laws are weaker – they are based on treaties and customs

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    Communication International Organizations (1999)

    • ITU: details

      • One of the oldest international organizations (1865)

      • Four functions:

        • Regulate access to radio frequencies for space and terrestrial communications – Maintains “table of frequencies”

        • Mediates international telephonic charge settlements

        • Facilitates interconnection between nations (standards)

        • Conducts and implements development studies and proposals

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    International organizations (1999)

    • The need for ITU

      • Late 19th century – interconnection between nations and telegraphic fees settlements

      • Early 20th century – radio frequencies allocation for maritime radio-telephony, later international broadcasting

      • Mid-late 20th century – satellite slot allocation

      • Major issue, spectrum and geostationary orbit scarcity

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    International organizations (1999)

    • ITU and its role in administering the international radio spectrum

      • Radio spectrum – possible range of vibrations of radio waves

      • 1 vibration/sec = 1 Hertz

        • Use for communication 9KHz – 400 GHz – in the World

        • Used for broadcasting 3KHz to 30 GHz – in the US

      • For each frequency band one can only have one user: otherwise interference

      • Each user has to be licensed (its right to broadcast on that frequency should be guaranteed)

      • MAIN PRINCIPLE: FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED  Western nations advantaged?

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    International Organizations (1999)

    • ITU and its role in regulating satellite transmission

      • Geostationary orbit scarcity

      • Satellites that fly over the equator at the same speed with the Earth’s rotation are stationary (stay in the same spot on the sky)

      • Spots over equator are limited

      • Most Equatorial nations are poor, no satellites, but they claim a right for a slice of the geostationary orbit for future use

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    International organizations (1999)

    • ITU and satellite broadcasting

      • Answer to the geostationary orbit scarcity

        • INTELSAT

          • An international consortium of 114 nations who own “Shares” in a system of 14 satellites

          • Nations exchange telephone and video information

          • Initiated by the US as a technology sharing initiative

          • 2001: Transformed into a private corporation

            • Most nations have privatized their telecom systems

            • Competition from private satellite operators

        • INMARSAT

          • Similar system for maritime communications: a sophisticated satellite telephony system

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    International Organizations (1999)

    The NWICO debate and ITU

    • Maitland report: points at the great telephone disparities in the world

    • Proposed a more equitable redistribution of “resources”

    • Proposed tax on international communication

    • Ignores the fact that Third World countries have already instituted their “private” taxes, in the form of the International settlement rate

    • Ignores the role of private industry in reducing disparities

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    International Organizations (1999)

    • International broadcasting organizations

      • Eurovision, Intervision, Gulfvision

      • Made sense when national broadcasters were national monopolies

      • Exchanged programs in a barter system

      • Superseeded by the new satellite channels: al jazeera, CNN, Sky, BBC

    • UNESCO

      • Deeply involved (and compromised itself) in the NWICO debate

      • Dedicated to development programs

    • WTO

      • World Trade Organization

      • Reduction of export tariffs (reduction of protectionism)

      • Many countries fear open trade, for the reasons mentioned in the “iron law argument”

      • One of the favorite targets of the anti-globalization activists

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    Internet regulation (1999)

    • The Internet is not ONE network but a NETWORK OF NETWORKS

    • To call a webpage from a server in Australia or to send E-mail to Russia you need to use a specific address

    • Since the networks are autonomous they need a neutral system, connected to them all, which stores the address system and standardizes the connections

    Internet regulation120 l.jpg


    • Non-profit organization incorporated in California

    • Roles:

      • Maintains a master list of domain names and conventions for using domain names

      • Maintains communication standards (TCP/IP) that allow computers to talk with one another

      • Settles disputes over domains and standards

    • WHY CALIFORNIA: Because the Internet was invented in the US and most of its nodes are in the US

    • Set up by the US government to prevent being accused of “imperialism” (Initially ICANN was a person, Postel, then a technical commission IANA)

    • Voluntary divestiture of powers—but not as an intl. treaty organization—it is an individual membership international organization

    Internet regulation121 l.jpg

    • ICANN functions:

    • Maintains the DNS (Domain Name Server) root file and links it to the 12 root servers

      • ROOT FILE: File that specifies what the top level domains are (TLD):

      • g(eneric)TLD: .edu, .gov, .com, .org, .net, .int, .mil, .arpa, .info, .biz, .museum, .name, .coop

      • Cc(country code)TLD: .au (australia), .pl (poland)

      • ROOT SERVERS: Giant Internet “Phone” books

        • They know where each root server for a specific TLD is

        • when you send an email to [email protected] (Australia): fromUS root server.au root server

        • See visual router server:

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    • ICANN functions:

      • Coordinates the Registrars—independent companies that register your name when you buy a domain and keeps it on file e.g.:

      • Settles disputes over domain names—deals especially with cybersquatters

      • Proposes and maintains Internet standards and protocols

        • TCP/IP the set of computer instructions that allow computers to talk with one another over the Internet

        • Html = the Internet language – cooperates with WWW consortium

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    • ICANN – organization:

      • Non-governmental organization

      • Board of directors

        • 19 members

        • 9 nominated by ISPs, Internet registrars, and engineers

        • 9 nominated by ordinary Internet users who joined ICANN as “members at large”

        • The President of the board

      • Main issue: representativity

        • Bureaucracies + self-appointocracies (Germany has more members at large than the US, although Germany has far less Internet users!)

        • First elections very skewed: 160,000 members at large for millions of Internet users

        • More elected reps from continents with low Internet representation

        • Preferred in order to avoid governments from taking over (but governments are democratically elected!!)

    Internet regulation124 l.jpg

    • ICANN challenges

      • Although is a non-gov. body it has law-making powers:

        • Determines the allowed domain names

          • After adding .info and .biz it talks about adding new ones, such as .coop and some ask for .suck!

        • Settles disputes

      • This makes it a political institution, although its mandate is mainly technical

      • Alternative and competing name systems


        • AOL keywords

        • In effect each network can invent its own system, if it decided to forgo the advantage of using an international domain name system

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    Conflict and communication (1999)

    • Better communication facilitates both international understanding and conflict

      • Understanding

        • We get the chance to know the enemy as a human being – coverage of civilian casualities

        • Give people who wouldn’t see each other eye to eye a chance to communicate without being in each other’s presence

      • Conflict

        • direct military use of telecommunication

        • Instantaneous communication sometimes takes the time needed for reflection, spurs conflicts

          • Examples:

            • Avoided situations like the 1812 war: New Orleans, the battle that should’ve have happened

            • Made comm vulnerable and hastened other wars: Zimmerman telegram  British give the US intercepted German telegraph about Mexican invasion

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    Conflict and communication (1999)

    • International communication systems shaped by war

      • World Empires tended to carry world wars  need for world systems of communication

        • Roman, Inca empires leader in road construction

        • American and British Navy first users of radiotelegraphy

        • British Empire leader in world telegraphy and telephony

        • Satellites first used as spy devices

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    Conflict and communication (1999)

    • Communication was used not only to convey information but also to mobilize the masses

    • Modern wars were “total wars:”

      • Use the whole population as a war machine: national conscript armies

      • To make people to sustain the war  propaganda and mass circulation newspapers

      • Spanish-American war: a war between Hearst and Pulitzer

      • World War I escalated into a crisis due to speed of telegraph communication amplified by mass circulation newspapers

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    “The age of the crowd:” (1999)

    Mass media used to whip people into a frenzy

    Both wars were prepared by mediated preludes and its actors were educated by them: Hitler was the product of this era

    World War I: war of national pride

    Masses stimulated by media to defend

    their national heritage and rights

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    Conflict and communication (1999)


    • Diplomats hate open and mediated communication of international conflict

    • Media stereotypes and characterizes

    • Diplomats need to reach compromises and save face

    • If situations are defined by the media they cannot control de terms of the discussion

      • Example:

        • Once Bush told the world that he will disarm Saddam he could not back off, not matter how strong the opposition

        • In the current Mid East conflict, Sharon and Arafat cannot back off because they are locked in pre-set positions:

          • Defend the right of Israel to exist (Sharon)

          • Defend the right of a Palestinian state to exist (Arafat)

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    Conflict and communication (1999)

    • New communication devices and techniques are a double edge sword not only for large states but also for those who oppose them

      • Terrorists and non-state actors seem to benefit from globalization of communication

        • Al Qaeda uses extensively satellite phones and “donkey-back” email

      • Using modern communication makes you more vulnerable

        • Pearl’s killers were tracked through their emails

        • Satellite telephones are small transmitters – can be tracked

        • Dudayev, the first leader of the Chechen rebellion was killed in a bomb attack after his satellite phone was tracked

        • However, Osama used this feature to escape the 2001 encirclement of Tora Bora, sent his bodyguard away with the phone (see handouts CBS and AP 1, 2)

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    Conflict and communication (1999)

    • Does modern technology help war coverage? Does it make it not only faster moving, but also better?

    • What do you think about embedded journalists?

      • Embedding -- response to the way Gulf War I was covered – pooled reports

      • New technologies – videophones, make coverage instantaneous – does this make the coverage better or worse?

        • Immediacy vs.

        • Fog of war

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    Conflict and communication (1999)

    • Direct involvement of communication in conflict

      • Psyop

        • Used by large countries -- Examples from Afghanistan:

          • Bin Laden Wanted

          • Is this the future you want for your country?

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    THE END (1999)

    • What follows below is material not covered in class. It will not be used for the final

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    Conflict and communication (1999)

    • Media (TV) as a tool of government

      • In totalitarian regimes television is a powerful tool of control

      • But it can backfire, he who controls TV controls the country

        • Examples:

          • RomaniaCeausescu

          • Iran

          • Manila

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    Driven by democratic markets (1999)

    • Go to Wall Mart, buy a hammer, look at the label. Where was it made?

    • Let’s look at our clothing labels? Where are our clothes made?

    • Is there a good Sushi restaurant in Lexington? Why?

    • Where is X-files made?

    • If you do not live in the US, what is your favorite TV show?

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    Media and democratic markets (1999)

    • When markets dominate we do not have less but more diffusion of power and interdependence

    • Markets are systems of production and distribution, where everybody needs in everybody in order to succeed

    • Multi-national corporations succeed only in so far as they take advantage of these markets and decentralize themselves

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    Can there be a uniform global culture and media? (1999)

    • Interdependence subsists only in so far as the actors are different; as long as I need something that you have in exchange for something that I have and you want

    • Media products – consumers are very demanding; people want to see themselves on TV (the democratic impulse, again)

    • Big media will succeed only when reflecting universals – populist common denominators

    • There will always be a need for media products that reflect what is unique to a specific place

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    The need for global governance (1999)

    • Commerce and markets are ahead of our political institutions

    • We need them just like we need local institutions

    • But they need to arbitrate and facilitate, not to impose their will on the people

    • Most importantly: they should reflect a basic covenant that encapsulates our rights, liberties and responsibilities – and this is missing in the global arena

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    Has the new deregulated media environment helped or deterred diversity?

    • The argument against liberalizing television is sometimes reworked

    • Although liberalized/non-public commercial, transnationalized television increases local offers, this only increases in volume the low-quality programming already available, not true media diversity

    • The amount of output provided to us has dramatically increased:

      • American media production

        • 3  11 million words/capita (1960-80)

      • American media consumption has increased, but does not keep pace:

        • 20,000 to 40,000 words/capita/day

    • Production/consumption ratio has decreased from 1.4% to .6%

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    Has programming become more or less diverse with the advent of liberalization?

    • The argument is not that we are poorer in channels, but the increase in channels does not reflect an increase in content diversity

    • Comparing the New York with the London TV scene the difference is shocking, as late as 1990

      • 1969-1990: From 13 to 70 channels in NY and from 3 to 15 in London

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    The international media menu available in NYC 69 compared to 90 (table 3.2 Noam)


    • Two Spanish movies


    • Spanish, Greek, Korean, Chinese, Hebrew news

    • Chinese and Spanish movies

    • Special current affairs program covering the Senate gavel-to-gavel

    • Documentaries about Florence, Vietnam war

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    International media menu in England 90 (table 3.2 Noam)


    No foreign news or programming


    Sky news


    American Programming

    We can probably add today Al-Jezeera

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    The increase in quality/high brow programming diversity in the US

    • Expansion of programming is so staggering that even if we get multiple channels of garbage, the space made for quality programming is greater than anything ever dreamed: the tide rises all boats

    • Omaha example:

      • Although entertainment has increased by about 7 times between 1970 – 85, it represents less, percentage-wise of total output

      • Informational programming remains the same (percentage of total) but in fact has increased dramatically in terms of total number of hours

    • New York example. Programming as % of tot:

      • Increase: News, Financial, Music, Religious

      • Decrease: Drama, Game/quiz, Variety, Movies

      • Herfindahl index shows a net increase in diversity

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    Tracey and Redal study: capping the story the US

    • Starts from the Varis study: there are more lateral connections in the world than expected, decline of dependency and affirmation of national identity

    • Bias in local televisions toward: “the parochial, the distinct, the proximate” what does he mean by this?  Oshin vs. Dallas – greed vs. harmony

    • Brazil shows that, as Noam says, cheap does not necessarily mean popular and domestic unsophisticated

    • Thailand, Ireland and South-East Asia confirm the same thing  they all go in the direction of more local production

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    Tracey: News flows the US

    • NHK study reveals that THERE IS NO SINGLE STORY that dominates the global news interest, each nation emphasizes other issues and news

    • What directs the news flows is proximity:

      • Geographic

      • Cultural

      • Ideological

      • Alliances and competitive relations

    • We live in a world of next-door neighbors that do not necessarily know what goes on in each other’s living rooms

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    The need for cultural adaptation the US

    • “Transnational” programming is not really transnational, it is locally adapted “re-versioned” – To be global, be local

      • keep characters and storyline but adorn it in local clothes

      • sell the format not the content (Video Age Intl.’)

        • Hungarian Wheel of Fortune)

        • The Brazilian-Argentinean telenovela coproduction

        • Vanessa, Vera am Mittage and Catherine (European talk shows produced by the company that produced Hercules)

        • CNBC Future File

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    Tracey: why is television so local? the US

    • People watch TV to learn who they are, like looking in a mirror

    • Television is dominated by domestic populism, not by electronic colonialism

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    Example: Canada’s “colonization” by the US the US

    • Divided not by the North - South fault, but by the French – English one;

    • While the French population consumes preponderantly domestically French fare, the Anglo-Saxons consume American programming

    • Reflection of Anglos integration in the North American cultural outlook.

    • If American television dominates this is not a sign that someone imposes foreign values on Canadians but that the Canadians are local by being North Americans

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    Major contributing factors to telecommunicative progress the US

    • Fiber-optic

      • A new technology – thin threads of glass used to send messages modulated by light

      • A single fiber-optic thread has the capacity of a coaxial cable (like the one used for cable tv)

      • A fiber-optic cable the size of your finger can send tens or even hundreds of thousands times more information than a regular wire cable

    • Satellites

      • Enormous economies of scale, once put in orbit, a satellite serves the same function of wire network does, it usually carries tens of thousands of channels simultaneously – footprint 40% of the earth

      • Daring initiatives: Iridium – tens of low flying satellites acting as a cellular telephony system at the scale of the entire globe (bankrupt)

    • Cost decline:

      • Satellites: $23000/hour for a color TV broadcast (1975)  5,000/1,000 today

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    Increase in interdependence = a smaller, more democratic world

    • Overall, technological advance is undeniable and potentially democratizing in its effects

    • Not because Bill Gates affords things that not many people can afford, but because most of the things he can afford, we can afford, too

    • Let’s look at telecommunications

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    Patterns of telecommunicative progress – inequality in space

    • Rich pole: an always-on, flat rate world – everyone connected to everyone (Star Trek “communicators”) – distance makes no difference (Figure 3.5 page 70)

    • Poor pole: a world of wide disparities – center cities in the Third World are just like New York, vast rural areas can still be in 18th or even 10th century

    • Most of the traffic flows from the First to the third world

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    Telecommunications and position in world system space

    • Barnett, A longitudinal analysis of the international telecommunications network 1978-1996

    • Main questions

      • Does World System Theory apply to the world of telecommunications?

      • What countries are central or peripheral in the world telecommunications network?

      • Does the world become more globalized?

      • Is the global telecom system more centralized today than 20 years ago?

      • What predicts centrality?

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    Telecommunications and position in the world system space

    • Dataset:

      • Telecomunication flows between nations

      • Matrix data: what countries “talk” on the phone with other countries?

      • How do you measure centrality, integration, density? (page 1652)

        • CENTRALITY: How many links does it take to get from node A to node B

        • DENSITY: Number of links by total possible number of links

        • INTEGRATION: Proportion of node links that are linked to one another

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    Telecommunications and position in the world system space

    • Findings

      • There are distinct cultural areas in the world, organized in a center periphery system (Figure 1)

      • OVER TIME: The world telecommunications network has become more integrated and denser. Has it also become more centralized? (Table 1 and 2)

        • There are more links between nations and more direct

        • There is a problem with interpreting centralization: here it means not how hierarchical is the system but how compact it is

      • Richer countries are more central: they have more telephonic connections

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    Telecommunications and position in the world system space

    • Findings

      • Connectivity is present not only between central and peripheral countries, but also between nations situated in the same geographic area or in the same cultural group (Figure 1)

      • Eastern European countries have become more central, compared to Latin American countries – some of the most isolated countries are former Soviet Union colonies (Figure 1)

      • Countries that talk with one another the most, are more likely to be geographic neighbors and to share the same language (previous research)

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    Conclusions space

    • The world is relatively stable in terms of “centrality,” but has become much “smaller”: there are denser and more integrated ties between nations

    • There is a center-periphery structure in the world but does the “central become more central, and the peripheral, more peripheral” still holds true?