Globalization: Social & Geographic Perspectives

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Assignment #2 – Graziella Ceravolo

November 4th, 2010 · 7 Comments
Assignments · Media & Sovereignty Report - Assignment # 2

Media has been used as an essential tool for governments to assert power; however media is constantly changing due to globalization.  With media constantly evolving due to technological innovations, the government must continuously try to compete to prevent their power from declining.   It is as if the government’s role is to try to control the citizen’s awareness.   With technology and especially the internet, it is much easier for information to travel throughout the world.  The internet has enhanced broadcasting and has made it much easier for people around the world to get and share information.  It has also made it much more difficult for the government to keep information from getting to the citizens.  Many feel that globalization reduces the relevance of borders, governments, and geography.  However, there is evidence that governments instead will shape the internet.

In the reading “Media & Sovereignty: The Global Information Revolution and Its Challenge to State Power” by Monroe E. Price, Price asks how the state, with institutional and technological change, controls the forms of information reaching its citizens.  Governments regulate the media, and with this huge innovation, governments must now be able to exercise their power and authority over the Internet.  They are able to do this by putting blocks or filters on certain searches or sites.  The Chinese government is a perfect example of this.  They have put a block on sites or searches involving sexually explicit content, democracy sites and sites including human rights.  They blocked sites about health generally about health in China specifically.  Blocked sites also include a number of well-known institutions of higher education.  BBC news, CNN, Time magazine, PBS and many additional news sites, government sites, entertainment sites such as MTV and even religion sites including information on atheist, catholic, Islamic and Jewish are all blocked.  The list is constantly being updated as changes have been evaluated.  Chinese network filtering has become an important instrument of state internet policy. This is a good example of how governments will indeed shape the internet in many ways and how a state uses technology to maintain or expand its sovereignty and control over citizens.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1    Yhuang109 // Nov 5, 2010 at 1:45 am

    I agree with you that the effect of globalization on the effectiveness of government control over media is not universal. 

    The Great Firewall of China may seem to be a technologically successful example of government censorship. when examined under a global perspective, I would like to argue that the media control in China is still just in its infancy because everything is too direct and too obvious. Chinese government may be almighty within its physical boundary but it has merely on influence over international audience. In other words, the Chinese government is lack of soft power in this regard. Now, let’s review the role British and American media played before the Iraq War. Did they make a stand on their independence in examining government’s claim of WMD as their glorified title ‘the fourth branch’ suggested? Or they were instrumental in the selling of the war to both domestic and international audience because they were too afraid to be painted as unpatriotic? I think the answer is obvious.

    So the point is, country, regardless of its form, will always try to use media to push forward its agenda. It is up to the citizen to be informed. If we heavily rely on media without excising our own judgement, one way or another, we will be mislead, no matter we are in China or America.

  • 2    josmarreborn // Nov 5, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Preach it!

  • 3    Prof. Hala // Nov 5, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    This is an excellent report, exactly what I’m looking for — you provide some good analytical context and then empirical information, i.e., an overview of media censorship in China, a list of blocked sites. Great stuff. But I can’t tell who wrote this — add your name, please.

    And what a thoughtful, well-composed comment, Christie. Sophisticated analysis (And nice to see you weave in concepts like “soft power” and the “fourth estate,” etc.)

  • 4    graziella ceravolo // Nov 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I wrote this, I also have this posted on my blog. I am not sure on how to add my name on this.

  • 5    antm // Nov 7, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I find it extremely unbelievable that in today’s age the people of China let this go on. It is like the Chinese government wants to keep their people “dumb” and not let them think for themselves. All a person has to do is walk over the border into another country and use the internet. It really makes no sense.

  • 6    clare // Nov 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    i understand putting blocks on sites that may seem risky or inappropriate but i mean higehr education, wouldnt you concider that a good thing? Something you would want more people looking into? i never knew this went on in China. Good paper Graziella

  • 7    Prof. Hala // Nov 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks for adding your name to the title, Graziella.

    Clare raises a critical point with the education example. It’s easy to criticize censorship, but do we want to abolish all regulation and controls on media? What about the importance of preserving local/national culture and “civil” debate? What about national security?

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