Assignment #2 Media and Sovereignty

Since the beginning of the new year, media has been a major topic throughout the world. Due solely to the media, America was notified about the revolutionary attacks that began in Egypt earlier this year. Had it not been for facebook or twitter, we would be unaware to what extent the violence had reached. According to Monroe E. Price, in “Media and Sovereignty: The Global Revolution and Its Challenge to State Power” he discusses the overall power of technology and media. It was interesting to read Price’s idea on “media cartel’s”. I often think of cartels as being drug related but who knew there could be media cartel’s too.  There are far too many examples of how media has played a major role in society primarily due to the innovations of technology. Lucky for us Mark Zuckerberg created the next big thing. Could this be the last? Highly doubtful. People are always inventing another way to socially enhance the world. It is hard to grasp the idea of “technologies of freedom” because there are still countries that are struggling to simply have their voices heard without technology. How can they move on to facebook and twitter without being able to voice their opinions. I have taken a great interest in watching documentaries on North Korea. I was even able to explain to my students how limited the citizens of North Korea are.

Since the split of Korea, North Korea has been considered one of the the strictest countries in the world. Not only are they heavily militarized but they have extremely tight regulations on the media. Although the constitution allows freedom of speech and press, the government prohibits a large part of media exploration. North Korea allows the role of press to be present in terms that it is benefiting the evil dictatorship the country is currently under. The transnational corporations in North Korea take pride in their media censorship. This censorship goes as far as limiting students the ability to use computers. It is safe to say that the TNCs in North Korea use media and technology against their citizens. There are strict laws placed on journalist’s that they must follow or else they are harshly punished. There are no private presses allowed in North Korea, any publishing must be done through a news agency called the Korean Central News Agency.

One of the most well known dictators of North Korea, Kim ll-Sung had very strict orders for his people. Often, news is released internationally and withheld from the North Korean population, and other news is released to the people but is not released internationally. Perhaps North Korea has been so used to this type of dictatorship that the people have grown to believe that the outside world is evil. Who knows what really goes on in North Korea, besides the large amounts of nuclear weapons they posses. As much as these citizens are censored, I strongly believe that they would like to be given the chance of seeing how media and technology makes the world go round. Although they are closed off and live tightly under harsh rulers, they too deserve every right to be able to speak freely, post freely, tweet freely, etc. Without this media and sovereignty will never exist for the people of North Korea. There is a missing piece; media that is hidden by the rulers of North Korea. This should change. Perhaps if North Korea was able to tweet and facebook we would know a lot more about what is going on in one of the most militarized and isolated countries in the world.

I included a short clip of a North Korean documentary made by National Geographic to get an idea of the lifesytles of North Koreans. These people are constantly living under threat by their own people. I can’t imagine living this way. Every single thing is controlled by the state. The speaker quickly points out the ban on media, internet, and overall technology.

National Geographic Inside Undercover In North Korea

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One Response to “Assignment #2 Media and Sovereignty”

  1. Prof. Hala says:

    The North Korean case is critical in any discussion of media and sovereignty worldwide. More than anything, it demonstrates the *limits* of the capacity of new technology to overwhelm territorial borders. As the excellent National Geographic clip states, North Korea is *the most isolated* country in the world. Both overwhelming government control and intense poverty make it virtually impossible for NK citizens to access information freely — or for outsiders to learn about the internal situation. As you note, “every single thing is controlled by the state” — and this includes media. Critically, this means that no TNCs are even allowed to operate here (and international sanctions would prevent this, even if foreign corporations were allowed in). In this totalitarian state, there is no private ownership whatsoever, which means there is no separation between the state and the media at all — the state and the media are one.

    O/T: I never thanked you for the Lykke Li tip. Wounded Rhymes is fantastic!