Assignment #2 Media and Sovereignty

Monroe E. Price discusses how the relationship between media and borders is always in transition; although it does not always promote liberty or liberation. The internet is the key to spreading democracy, Price says. These days technology is always evolving and playing a bigger role in today’s society. We become more dependent on media in our daily lives, and as a result companies are making it easier to access certain material. For example a few years ago we did not have internet on our cell phones, which honestly didn’t bother most of us because we had a cell phone to do just that, make phone calls. Now you can barley find a cell phone that cannot surf the web. If you do not have one you are living in the stone age. Now they have phones that already come pre installed with Facebook and Twitter built into them. I believe this is a prime example of advancement in media and technology.

The earth quake in Haiti really demonstrates media and sovereignty. This terrible disaster took the lives of roughly 400,000 people and left thousands injured. The whole country was basically shut down and in complete chaos. Being Haitian this took a huge toll on our family as we were glued to the television trying to find out if there were any updates on the terrible disaster. We were left in suspense for a few days.

There was a political upheaval and a blackout in terms of news coming in and out of Haiti that occurred. There was no way to get any information about the earthquake. In an age of booming technological advances one would not expect a lack of media coverage on an event. Since media is in our everyday lives (Ex: Aol, Facebook, Twitter, News stations ect.) and very easily accessible one would think the last thing on our minds would be a LACK of information and media coverage on an event. Foreign news organizations were not allowed to come into the country until a certain time. In this case media should have been of more use and actually covered an important catastrophe such as this, instead of waiting for quite a while to get there and have access to broadcast images and videos across the globe. The funny thing is the first glimpse of information regarding pictures or videos on the matter came through Facebook. If it were Angelina Jolie getting a divorce everybody and their mother would know about it due to the constant news updates on various different television channels, web sites and other media tools. Or hearing about how Lady Gaga’s tour in Japan is going would all be at our finger tips but a devastating tragedy such as the Haiti earthquake is not as appealing and would take longer for coverage to be brought to us.

Media often challenges state power. I do not mind government intervention and censorship as long as it is for the right reasons.

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One Response to “Assignment #2 Media and Sovereignty”

  1. Prof. Hala says:

    Many good insights and observations about media — changes over time and differences across countries. The case of the cell phone, as you note, powerfully demonstrates the rapid pace of technological change and of our expectations about technology. Indeed, it’s hard to find a cell phone these days without web-surfing capabilities. I happen to be one of those people ‘stuck in the stone age,’ with my old school ‘prepaid’ phone! No, I can’t connect to the internet with my phone, but nor can my whereabouts and communications be tracked as they can with the latest mobile phone devices. This relates to the ‘sovereignty’ side of Price’s argument, which the post doesn’t engage as much. New technologies can expand individual freedom, but they can also be used to increase governmental control and strengthen national sovereignty.

    The case of post-earthquake Haiti demonstrates the relationship between media and sovereignty as well. It shows that regardless of how ‘advanced’ and theoretically ‘accessible’ technology becomes, its effective functioning ultimately depends on infrastructure (e.g., land-based/wired, as well as wireless networks), a ‘public good,’ supplied by states. The weakness of Haiti’s infrastructure multiplied the devastation of the earthquake, transforming it from a ‘natural’ disaster, to a ‘political-economic’ one. As you suggest, it often takes some celebrity tie-in to bring such issues to the attention of the American public.

    Your concluding statement is quite a doozy. It’s got me wondering what you’d consider the ‘right reasons.’ In the end, that’s what this whole media & sovereignty debate is about — the proper boundaries and limits of government control over media.