Cover Page





1 Global Communication


International News

Latin American Media

Left-Wing Connection: Latin America

Chile–US Government Media Interaction

History of the War Correspondent

New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO)

Electronic Colonialism Theory

History of Electronic Colonialism Theory

What is Electronic Colonialism Theory?

World System Theory

The Connection between Electronic Colonialism and World System Theories

Communication Forces among Nations

The Impact of Social Media

Format for the Balance of the Book


2 Development Research Traditions and Global Communication


Development Journalism/Communication

The Economic Growth Model

The Inadequacy of the Economic Growth Model

The Research Traditions

New Departures



3 The Message


UNESCO: Backdrop to the NWICO Debates

Identifying the Issues and Taking Sides

The Non-Aligned Movement

Meetings in Latin America

The 19th UNESCO General Assembly, Nairobi, 1976

New International Economic Order

The Debate Begins in Earnest

UNESCO in the 1980s

New Era, Leaders, and Strategy

UNESCO in the 1990s and Beyond



4 Public Diplomacy


The Personal is Political in Public Diplomacy

From Uncle Ben to Uncle Sam

Public Diplomacy and Global Communication

Public Diplomacy History

Defining Public Diplomacy

From James Glassman to Brangelina

Global Public Diplomacy

Layers of Public Diplomacy

Elevation of Exchanges

Public Diplomacy Goes Public

Public Diplomacy Actors

Country Profiles



5 The Medium


International Telecommunication Union


ITU’s Changing Role and Expectations

World Trade Organization

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development



6 The Internet



The World Wide Web

Video Games

The Internet Timeline

Impact of the Internet

Internet and Global Television Issues

The Internet and Hollywood Films

Internet Users

Computer Viruses


Social Networking




7 American Multimedia Conglomerates



News Corporation

Time Warner



Gannett Company, Inc.

Walmart International

Virgin Media Inc.

Advance Publications Inc.

The Nielsen Company



8 Stakeholders of Multimedia Conglomerates Outside the United States


Cultural Imperialism

The United States of Europe

Multimedia Corporations Outside the United States and Europe

Bollywood: India’s Film Industry

Global Trends


9 Euromedia


The Power of Culture

EU Communication Policy

Sans Frontières

The European Union, GATS, and a Digital Agenda

The European Union and Culture

The Media Program of the European Union

Protecting Diversity while Encouraging Integration

Europeanization and the European Public Sphere

The European Broadcasting Union and Euronews


Shared Histories, Different Understandings



10 Global Issues, Music,and MTV


Cost Escalations

Audience Fragmentation

New International Realities

Modeling: Creating Indigenous Programs with US Cultural Values

Global Media Marketplace

The International Music Industry

MTV: The Dominant Global Music Connection

MTV and Electronic Colonialism



11 CNN


First Live Broadcast

Tiananmen Square

The First Gulf War

World Report

Merger Matters

The CNN Effect

How CNN Was Out-Foxed but Not Out-Classed

The Second Gulf War: Embedded Journalists


Deutsche Welle


Channel NewsAsia

US Department of State and Broadcasting Board of Governors



12 The Role of GlobalNews Agencies


Thomson Reuters

Associated Press

United Press International

Agence France Presse


Dow Jones & Company

Xinhua News Agency

Inter Press Services



13 Arab Media and theAl Jazeera Effect


History of Arab Media

Al Jazeera

Media Wars

Media and Change in the Arab World

Local Journalism

Change Agents

Bloggers, Citizen Journalism, and New Media Activism

Emerging Models



14 Toward Globalization

China: A Newly Emerged Major Player in the Global Media Arena

Japan: A Worldwide Conqueror through Animation

India: Bollywood as Hollywood in the East

Korea: The Continuing Global Sweeping of “K-Pop”

15 The Role of GlobalAdvertising


Omnicom Group and Publicis Group

WPP Group

Interpublic Group

Dentsu Inc.

Havas Media

Hakuhodo DY Holdings

Acxiom Corporation

MDC Partners




16 Summary and Conclusions


Global Economy

New World Information and Communications Order

Electronic Colonialism Theory

World System Theory

Electronic Colonialism Theory Plus World System Theory

McPhail’s Paradox: The United States, Modernity, and Future Actions


Connection between Public Diplomacy and ECT

What is the Relationship of All This to ECT?


Select Bibliography




Junhao Hong received a PhD in communication from University of Texas at Austin in 1995. He is a professor at the Department of Communication, State University of New York at Buffalo. He is also an associate in research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University, and a senior fellow at the Communication for Sustainable Social Change Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has served as president of the Chinese Communication Association (CCA) and president of the United Societies of Chinese Studies (USCS). His research areas include international communication, media and society, and the impact of new communication/information technology, with a focus on China and Asia. He has published and edited several books, and has published more than 120 research articles in various journals and book volumes.

Lawrence Pintak is Founding Dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. Previously, he was Director of the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research at The American University in Cairo and publisher and co-editor of the online journal Arab Media and Society. He is the author of The New Arab Journalist: Mission and Identity in a Time of Change(I. B. Tauris, 2010), and several other books about the media and international affairs. A former CBS News Middle East correspondent, he has contributed to many of the world’s leading news organizations in his 30-year career in journalism on four continents. His work regularly appears in in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Columbia Journalism Review online, Daily Star (Beirut), Arab News, and a variety of publications around the world.

Alexa Robertson is Associate Professor at the Department of Media Studies (IMS), Stockholm University, Sweden. A historian by training, she moved to IMS after many years at the Department of Political Science, where she earned her PhD. Robertson does research and teaches on the political role of the media under globalization, and the role of culture in politics. She recently completed a book entitled Media and Politics in a Globalized World which, like her 2010 book Mediated Cosmopolitanism: The World of Television News, will be published by Polity. In Global News: Reporting Conflicts and Cosmopolitanism (Peter Lang, forthcoming), she compares reporting on three channels often referred to as “counter-hegemonic” (Al Jazeera English, Russia Today, and Chinese CCTV) with four “Western” channels (CNN International, BBC World, Deutsche Welle, and Euronews) to see whether they do indeed report the world differently. The thread running throughout is the question of how media representation is conceived and effected in a world of diversity and transborder flows. Her studies of media coverage of the Arab uprisings have been published in the International Journal of Press/Politicsand New Global Studies.

Nancy Snow is Professor of Communications at California State University, Fullerton and Adjunct Professor of Public Diplomacy in the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. She is the author or co-editor of eight books, including the Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy, Propaganda, Inc., and Information War. She has taught public diplomacy at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Sophia University in Tokyo, and the Interdisciplinary Center’s Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy in Herzliya, Israel. A two-time Fulbright recipient (Germany, Japan) and Abe Fellow with the Social Science Research Council, she holds lifetime memberships with the Public Diplomacy Alumni Association, the Public Diplomacy Council at George Washington University, and the Fulbright Association.


After September 11, 2001 the peaceful satisfaction of many nations that began with the end of the Cold War and the demise of communism came to an early and abrupt end, foreshadowing the rise of a new enemy – global terrorism. Along with this new elusive enemy came new wars and an increase in global communication, primarily war coverage. From embedded journalists with videophones covering the wars, to new media outlets, such as Al Jazeera, Al-Arabiyya, and Al-Hurra, to photos being sent home and around the world on the Internet, the role and scope of international media shifted dramatically. This fourth edition captures the major aspects of this new and in many cases disturbing era, updates the materials contained in earlier editions, and contains updated information on the importance of global public diplomacy (Chapter 4), the European scene (Chapter 9), the volatile Arabic media scene (Chapter 13), and China/Asia (Chapter 14).

This book portrays international communication from differing perspectives – it examines a number of major trends, stakeholders, and global activities, while promoting no particular philosophical or ideological school, whether of the left or the right. Rather, it seeks to provide information about major international trends of a theoretical, cultural, economic, public policy, or foreign relations nature. Moreover, in order to provide a framework for understanding the interconnection between the international communication environment and the global economy, Global Communication documents major historical events that connect the two. It also highlights communication industry mergers and acquisitions which now frequently transcend national boundaries.

Just as the printing press and the assembly line were necessary events for the industrial revolution, so also the Internet and modern communication technologies are essential for the international communication revolution. This book traces the influence and roles of major global communication technologies such as satellites, videophones, mobile devices, and personal computers. Collectively, these and other technologies have transformed the international communication environment, making possible the advent of global media systems such as CNN (Cable News Network), MTV (Music Television), the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), and the Internet itself.

As part of the background needed to examine global media and related sectors, it is important to understand the history of the international communication debate, which developed initially within the halls of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This debate about the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) is important because it identified two significantly different philosophies, each supported by a different set of scholars and nations. Because the debate reflects much of the concern about the philosophical, cultural, and artistic threats that are of paramount concern to many nation-states, the phenomenon of “electronic colonialism” – the impact and influence of music, Hollywood feature films, and syndicated television series, plus other media from industrial nations – is also detailed. One large and vocal group supports a free press perspective without regard to its economic and cultural consequences; the other group supports a more interventionist approach, calling on governments and other organizations to be concerned with essentially non-commercial dimensions of the international communication environment. Because of the roles each group played, the policy positions, agencies, and leaders on both sides of the debate are examined extensively. Several new major global stakeholders, including the significant role of the global advertising industry, are also detailed.

A second major theme of the book concerns the economic implications of international communication. Although the economies of the international communications industries cannot be separated from governmental and cultural policy debates, it is important to recognize that most communication organizations are independent, active, commercial, and aggressive players in the international communication arena. They have global influence and they affect the communication environment both at home and abroad. As such, attention is also given to communication enterprises such as the Hollywood feature film industry; media giants such as Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, Bertelsmann, Sony, and News Corporation; as well as the Internet, international wire services such as the Associated Press and Thomson Reuters, and several multinational advertising agencies. As will be demonstrated, some of these organizations appear to be oblivious to the global policy debate and are willing to let the marketplace alone determine the winners and losers, whereas others are very concerned about the non-economic aspects of “trade” emerging in the international communication sector.

All major global multimedia conglomerates are based in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Most of the concern about cultural issues emanates from nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Therefore, a world system theory (WST) perspective is outlined in Chapter 1 to decipher some of the structural cleavages in the international communication field. It approaches the nations of the world through an economic lens. In Chapter 1 electronic colonialism theory (ECT) is outlined and it basically views the world through a cultural lens. These two theories, WST and ECT, help unify the various stakeholders as well as identify their collective impact on globalization.

Any book about international communication would be deficient if it examined only one of these two major themes. A review focused solely on NWICO without mention of CNN or the BBC, for example, would ignore the contemporary reality and economic aspects of global communication. Similarly, a book that emphasized the Internet and other new communication options and opportunities to the exclusion of the philosophical debate would fail to provide the necessary historical and cultural background and perspectives. To a surprising extent, the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union have shifted the debate in favor of the trade-focused parties. Only by detailing major themes and examining their interrelationships can a student of international communication come to understand the complexities of the global communication scene and the implications of the rapid change in the global communication landscape that continues on a daily basis worldwide.

We should not underestimate the nature and depth of the transformation taking place in global communication. The era of the Enlightenment (c.1600–1800) contributed to the intellectual transformation of Western societies, and so today we are going through a similarly profound alteration in our societies, fueled by the major structural changes in global communication, primarily the Internet. Just as the major contributors to the Enlightenment era were Francis Bacon, John Locke, Adam Smith, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Isaac Newton, Catherine the Great, and others, so also today we have a critical mass of change agents who are forming the intellectual nucleus to create a new type of society with their profound insights and innovations. People such as Marshall McLuhan, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Charles Saatchi, Tim Berners-Lee, Margaret Whitman, Carol Bartz, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, and others are collectively providing the intellectual architecture and means to transform and create a new information era. Hundreds more working in their homes, laboratories, or universities in various nations around the world have contributed to the ongoing revolution in international communication. Yet few of these individuals responsible for creating a new media framework or paradigm have truly understood the long-run ramifications of their contributions on the type of society we will have in 50 years’ time. In all likelihood, our future society will be dramatically different from the industrial society of even a mere 70 years ago at the end of World War II.

It is important to keep in mind that this intellectual transformation is not limited to economics, politics, trade, or education; rather, it will affect all of these areas as well as transform our concept of self, community, and nation-state. Yet one major problem with this transformation is appearing already: this new society changed by the media is located only in select parts of the globe, primarily in those core nations that have already benefited from the previous industrial era. This overall intellectual transformation is occurring at the same time as a large number of poor nations are still attempting to come to grips with enormous social problems ranging from illiteracy, poverty, subjugation, famine, civil wars, and poor health, particularly HIV/AIDS. As we move forward into a new era transformed by global media, we might also consider dichotomies created by the reality of a relatively small cluster of nations with full access to the Internet, digital television, and wireless telephony, and at the other extreme billions of people on the other side of the “digital divide” who have yet to make a phone call, read a newspaper, or use a PC mouse. One cannot be certain how parts of a world so intrinsically linked to media will interact with the vast numbers of individuals who so far have lived without it; but we will be watching closely.


I would like to thank my friends who tested the materials and provided useful feedback and suggestions. I also want to thank Brenda McPhail for her assistance, patience, and feedback; and Rebecca and Ryan McPhail for keeping me abreast of the significance of new media, blogging, YouTube, MTV, and the latest in technologies, like the iPod and tablets. Jason Fisher undertook several duties in excellent fashion relating to this new edition. Finally, I want to thank my students, who survived earlier drafts of the new material.


Global Communication



The world of international communication has changed rapidly in recent years. Following World War II, global communication was dominated by the tensions arising from the Cold War, pitting the old Soviet Union against the United States and its allies. Much of the rhetoric, news space, face time, and concern dealt with some aspect of government control of mass communication, or the impact of governments and other entities on free speech, or the free flow of information or data across international borders. Likewise, much of international coverage on both sides of the Atlantic had an East/West tone, reflecting a communism versus democracy wedge. With the demise of the former Soviet Union and communism as a major global force, the factors underpinning international communication shifted dramatically. No longer did crises around the globe create major confrontations between two superpowers. What’s more, the end of communism spelled the demise of the Soviets as enemies of the free press and the free flow of information. In many editors’ and producers’ opinions, it also spelled the end, ignoring, or at least downgrading the importance of foreign news coverage. That clearly changed for a while after September 11, 2001.

Today, the United States stands alone as the world’s only superpower. While other economic entities, such as the European Union and parts of Asia, compete daily with the United States in the global marketplace, there is no large-scale foreign military threat to the United States. But today there are new enemies and threats out there. The Taliban, al-Qaeda, the Islamic jihad, suicide bombers, extremists, and a vast array of terrorist cells around the world have taken up new weapons to confront the Western nations. The new weapons are primarily low-tech: smartphones, netbooks, the Internet, social networking sites, video cameras, Twitter, Facebook, and other means. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have replaced the nuclear bomb scare of the Cold War era. This widespread terrorist phenomenon has again seen a modest editorial shift to greater coverage of international affairs. The “good guys versus bad guys” mentality has returned. Terrorists of many stripes are replacing communism as the evil force. The Middle East and other nations harboring and training extremists are the new Evil Empire.

International News

Why is international news important? Essentially we are experiencing an expanding global economy where events in foreign lands impact us on a daily basis. Examples are everywhere. A volcano in a Nordic country spreads choking ash over most of Europe; a revolution in the Middle East impacts the price of gas around the globe; a banking disaster in the United States or Greece shakes the stock markets around the world.

Yet the problem is that though we know the global economy is expanding, the amount of international news coverage overall, particularly in the United States, is declining. Consider that the United States still exerts substantial influence around the world via both hard and soft power. This in turn should translate into a citizenry that is well informed about both foreign events and foreign policy decisions.

This decline is significant when viewed through the prism of how the media contribute to the promotion and expansion of the democratic process both here and abroad. Given this metric the overall decline seems to be accompanied by a parallel decline in support for both foreign aid as well as the promotion of transparent and open democracies around the globe. For example, the Nordic countries have a more internationally focused press and give the highest amount of foreign aid while the United States now ranks eighteenth in terms of per capita giving. Foreign aid for humanitarian efforts is not a major policy issue for the average American, and with decreasing foreign news coverage this downward trend is likely to continue.

Looking back, the golden age of international news coverage lasted from the 1940s to the end of the 1980s. A major boost during this era was the introduction of satellite broadcasting. The three main reasons for the decline are: first, the end of the Cold War and the implosion of the old Soviet Union (editors lost their “good guys versus bad guys” frame); second, the decline of newspaper circulation and revenues (part of this was the result of alternative Internet-based information sources of all types, and the expensive costs of running foreign bureaus); and, third, the global economic crisis of the last decade. Collectively they forced almost all for-profit media outlets to lose enthusiasm for foreign stories, and foreign bureaus were reduced.

Yet despite all of the compelling reasons for more, not less, international news, this coverage continues to decline: the reality is that the proportion of international news across the media is at an all-time low, down from 30 percent 30 or 40 years ago to about 14 percent today. It is as if the global interconnectivity has been cut in half, where the reality is that it has doubled. The interconnectivity has been driven by factors such as the expansion of the global economy, the spread of cable and satellites, along with growing access to the Internet.

A paper presented at the 2012 annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication by Katherine Bradshaw, James Foust, Joseph Bernt, and Brian Krol entitled “Domestic, International, and Foreign News Content on ABC, CBS, and NBC Network News from 1971 to 2007” makes the point that “viewers saw far fewer stories about the rest of the world in the three most recent years sampled 1995, 2001, 2007.”1 All three years are in the post-Cold War era. But in their study, which included 1989 (the last year of the Cold War), there were 342 foreign stories on the three major networks compared to only 68 in 2007.2 Clearly editors and producers across the media spectrum are showing less interest in foreign news. They see foreign news as expensive in an era of cutbacks. In a lecture, Alisa Miller, head of Public Radio International, explained how in today’s media environment, international stories and news have declined: “From a decrease in foreign news bureaus to the prevalence of recycled stories, the news map of our current landscape is both dangerously one-sided and scandalously negligent in its management of the global village.”3 Miller documents the startling statistics about the state of international news coverage in the United States and the same is true in several other places.

Part of the larger problem is the turmoil and uncertainty created by the online phenomena and opportunity for others to provide information, formally or informally. Consider a report in October 2012 by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism:

even after more than a decade of often dramatic turmoil in the media sector, we are only at the beginning of a longer transitional period. Today, inherited forms of media, especially linear television, still dominate media use, attract a large proportion of advertising, and support the majority of content creation-especially when it comes to news. All of this is likely to change, with profound implications for media as we know them.4

During the 1990s, Time magazine, the New York Times, and network newscasts had been replacing their foreign bureaus and international coverage with a parochial domestic agenda. The terrorism and its followers have put international news back in prime time. In addition to the various government investigations into issues like weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the 9/11 Commission, the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prison scandals, war crimes, and public safety have led to a new global agenda and media focus.

International communication refers to the cultural, economic, political, social, and technical analysis of communication and media patterns and effects across and between nation-states. International communication focuses more on global aspects of media and communication systems and technologies and, as a result, less on local or even national aspects or issues. Since the 1990s, this global focus or prism through which interactions are viewed or analyzed has been altered substantially by two related events. The first is the end of the Cold War and the sweeping changes this has brought; this includes political realignments across Europe. The second is increasing global interdependence, which is a fixture of the expanding global economy. The global economic recession demonstrated the interdependence of economies big (like the United States), and small (like Iceland). But this interdependence has more than an economic orientation; it also has a cultural dimension. This cultural dimension, in turn, has three important traits:

1 How much foreign content is contained, absorbed, or assimilated within the cultural domain?
2 How is this foreign content being transmitted (e.g., by books, movies, music, DVDs, television, commercials, mobile appliances, or the Internet)?
3 How are domestic or indigenous cultures, including language, being impacted by this foreign content?

These aspects, issues, and questions are what this book is about. Global Communication highlights an international or global approach to the broad range of components that collectively make up the discipline of international communication. Because “we live in an era of new cultural conditions that are characterized by faster adoption and assimilation of foreign cultural products than ever before,”5 this book investigates in some detail who and where these cultural products are coming from and why, and addresses issues and concerns about their impact in foreign lands and on foreign minds.

Historically, the US government has orchestrated international communication policy and the many activities relating to transborder communication activities. During the 1950s and 1960s, the US State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Council, and the Pentagon played central roles within international organizations to promote policies to suit Cold War agendas and objectives. This behavior was evident at a number of international conferences, but it was particularly clear in the US position regarding the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO). Ultimately, the hostile rhetoric became so intense that the United States (under President Reagan) withdrew from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the 1980s. The United States remained outside UNESCO until 2004 and left again in 2012. The United Kingdom withdrew as well and has since returned.

When the Soviet Union disintegrated in the early 1990s, the counterpoint to much of the US rhetoric and foreign policy, whether overt or covert, disappeared. The old rationales – Cold War rhetoric, concern about communism, and fear of nuclear destruction – became less prominent in the new environment of openness and cooperation with Eastern Europe, as well as Russia. Foreign trade replaced concern about foreign media initiatives.

Latin American Media

Latin American media are significantly different from media markets in America and Europe. Several countries in Latin America, such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru have experienced political, economic, and social turmoil since the end of World War II. Some other nations continue to be controlled by dictators with military backing. Given this environment, the radio and television industries in these nations tend to be either government-owned and government-controlled or heavily regulated. In a few cases powerful domestic media conglomerates are controlled by wealthy families, such as Televisa in Mexico or Grupo Globo in Brazil. In other Latin American nations, the independent print press frequently is allied with the political and religious elites. There is little investigative journalism since both the state-owned or commercial media do not favor it and several investigative reporters have wound up dead. Although Latin American markets are substantial in terms of population and growing consumer base, they are still relatively underdeveloped compared to their North American and European counterparts, but that is changing. Sallie Hughes and Chappell Lawson discuss the obstacles which Latin American media confront on a frequent basis. They identify

five general barriers to the creation of independent, pluralistic, and assertive media systems in the region: (a) violence against journalists encouraged by a generalized weakness in the rule of law; (b) holdover authoritarian laws and policies that chill assertive reporting; (c) oligarchic ownership of television, the region’s dominant medium; (d) the spottiness of professional journalistic norms; (e) the limited reach of print media, community-based broadcasters, and new communication technologies.6

Despite these structural issues, the Latin American environment is changing in terms of governments and mass communication. Many governments moved to a more open and democratic way of attempting to improve overall social and economic conditions for the populace. In telecommunications and mass media systems, there was a noticeable liberalization, deregulation, and privatization as reform legislation was passed in many Latin American nations. The growing increases in literacy, access to the Internet, and cheaper satellite dishes have collectively moved the debate over media’s role in society. Several Latin American countries are clearly at a crossroads; they must decide whether they will follow this new neoliberal path, including broader ownership of the media, or revert to the historical tendency of military coups, government control and ownership, favoritism to elite families, and heavy censorship.

Despite the uneasy balance between old and new, the Latin American market is characterized by two significant phenomena. First, by virtue of the domination of the Spanish language (with the exception of Brazil, where Portuguese is spoken), Latin America has not been as readily inundated with US television shows or films, which carry English-language soundtracks. In contrast, English-speaking nations such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom were easy international markets for, first, Hollywood feature films, and then US television programs, followed by music. This language difference led to a second important Latin American media phenomenon. Because these countries were forced to produce their own programming, they created an interesting and successful genre known as the telenovela. Telenovelas are Spanish soap operas that are extremely popular from Mexico to the tip of South America. They have been successful enough to be exported to Spain, Russia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and many other non-English-speaking European countries, as well as Florida, Texas, and California. Many of the leading telenovela actors and actresses are national celebrities, like soccer stars, in the various regions of Latin America. The export market for telenovelas is expanding rapidly because they cost much less to produce than their Hollywood and New York counterparts.

On the feature film front, the scene is not as encouraging. Over 60 percent of the theater screens across Latin America regularly show Hollywood films. In Latin America there are few film houses or even nations that can mount and finance blockbuster films to rival Hollywood.

Another difference between North America and Latin America is the role and success of newspapers. In North America, many newspapers have folded over the last decade, and single-newspaper cities are the norm rather than the exception. By contrast, Latin American newspapers are still a substantially growing market, with over 1,000 newspapers in circulation and readership, on a daily basis, in excess of 100 million. Because of the high circulation figures, newspaper advertising is competitive with radio and television, making it a challenge for start-up private stations to succeed. Finally, because newspapers are privately owned, the publishers and editors generally support the movement toward greater democratization as well as government reforms to privatize the communication sector.

Left-Wing Connection: Latin America

In the postwar era, Latin America displayed a unique joint interest in labor unions, priests and nuns pursuing liberation theology as they sought Marxist or left-wing solutions to deal with corrupt regimes, many of which had military connections. Ideological fervor and rhetoric spread across Latin America as unions, clergy, and academics sought to tap the discontent of the peasants to mobilize support for economic and political change. For the most part, their efforts failed, the prime exceptions being Cuba, now Venezuela, and likely El Salvador and Chile. There were occasional major confrontations, such as the uprising in Chiapas, Mexico. In this revolt, the rebels went so far as to exclude the major Mexican broadcaster, Televisa, from their various press conferences. Latin American academics were particularly critical of North American models, such as open markets, free enterprise, private ownership, and advertising-supported media. They frequently attacked the violence of Hollywood feature films or the wasteland of television shows ranging from The Simpsons, to Baywatch, to reality shows, to MTV videos. They regarded American junk culture with the same disdain as they did American junk food.

With the demise of Marxism and the end of the Cold War, these same Latin American groups have lost steam and credibility. Labor unions are becoming isolated as democratization begins to take hold in several nations, along with greater economic prosperity. Leftist academics are finding fewer opportunities to promote anti-US media criticism as liberalization, privatization, and deregulation take hold across the communication sectors. Latin American academics tend to write flourishing and lengthy essays critical of American culture with little, if any, empirical data to support their assertions. Today, change is bringing greater media choice, more advertising, less government ownership, and reduced regulatory control of electronic media across Latin America.

The roles of media and culture, together with their impact on economic growth in Latin America, have been demonstrated in the literature. Cultural change and economic change are linked, but as David Holman points out, “the ‘McDonaldisation’ of all societies is possibly inevitable, but it is possible to eat McDonald burgers, and to wear jeans, without losing any of the most cherished aspects of the national culture.”7 Yet historically Latin American communication scholars have been among the most critical of the United States, even anti-United States, in their writings. The vast majority work from a Marxist platform, which is now stale and suspect with the end of the Cold War. Yet some continue their diatribes, not appreciating how substantially the global communication scene has changed.

What follows is a dramatic example of how the Cold War atmosphere framed media activities in relation to Washington and a Latin American nation, in this case Chile.

Chile–US Government Media Interaction

The 1973 military coup in Chile during the Cold War provides an example of the US government’s concern, influence, and backstage role in the US media in dealing with foreign events. In this case, as in others, it is important to realize that frequently the US press corps has little background knowledge, local information or sources, cultural awareness, or even native language skills in preparation for breaking foreign stories. In the past, this weakness was frequently addressed by willing and well-trained US embassy staffers who provided background briefings to visiting US journalists in order to furnish them with “off the record” information and to help them establish meetings and interviews. The information generally was selected to frame, support, and promote US position and foreign policy objectives abroad. Although there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this practice, problems develop when journalists write their stories or file their video clips without acknowledging the substantial influence or assistance of US embassy personnel.

From 1970 to 1973, the US government sought to assist in the overthrow of Chile’s democratically elected leftist government. The United States was hostile to Chilean president Salvador Allende, whom US President Richard Nixon had labeled a communist threat. According to the US State Department, Allende had to be removed or he might set an example, and communism spread across South America. When the Chilean military seized power in September 1973, the US government supported General Augusto Pinochet, despite the fact that he had been associated with many nefarious crimes, including supporting Chilean death squads. Pinochet subsequently ruled Chile for 17 years.

The specific role of the CIA cannot be detailed, but it is instructive to examine its relationship with the US media in Chile. Prior to and during the revolution, the CIA directed its Chilean station chief to engage in propaganda. He was to spread misinformation when it suited US objectives. According to the New York Times:

The CIA’s propaganda efforts included special intelligence and “inside” briefings given to the US journalist … Particularly noteworthy in this connection is the Time cover story which owed a great deal to written materials provided by the CIA. [Moreover,] CIA briefings in Washington changed the basic thrust of the story in the final stages, according to another Time correspondent.8

The result of this cosy relationship between US foreign affairs officials and foreign correspondents was a Time magazine cover story openly calling for an invasion of Chile to thwart the Marxist president and to stop the spread of communism throughout South America. During this era Time was a cheerleader for stopping leftists by any means.

The point of this example is not to debate the role of the CIA in ultimately assisting in the overthrow of a democratically elected leader, but rather to focus on the role of foreign correspondents during the height of the Cold War. The US State Department, Department of Defense, and CIA all actively courted US foreign correspondents. The foreign correspondents in turn were to varying degrees willing to accept advice, leads, and in some cases copy from US embassies around the world. This situation was particularly true in countries where English-speaking US journalists did not speak the native language. In these cases, embassy staff and CIA operatives had enormous clout and access. They knew which locals spoke English and were sympathetic to the US position. American embassies set up media interviews and assisted journalists with logistics and acquisition of compatible equipment and other necessities for gathering pro-United States news in foreign venues.

For over a decade, without the raison d’être of the Cold War and the anti-communist fervor that once dominated the agenda and mindset at the US State Department and its network of foreign embassies, CIA operatives have been marginalized and replaced by trade representatives. US ambassadors and their staffs courted economists, investors, and the business community. Journalists no longer received priority access or assistance. Indeed, unless journalists are reporting on successful business ventures by US investors or corporations, they have difficulty getting their phone calls returned.

In the post-Cold War era, US embassies focused on trade and the provision of the organizational and logistical work necessary for US corporations to expand exports in these countries or regions. Senior embassy personnel spent the majority of their time seeking out investment opportunities, organizing trade fairs, or identifying new export markets while nurturing existing ones. Within the new reality of US embassy culture and foreign policy there is now a shared emphasis. The business press now shares media attention with security, terror, or war issues. Some US journalists abroad deal with foreign policy and terrorism while others still look at foreign profits, mergers, and acquisitions in the post-Cold War environment.

This book looks at global media; global communication technologies such as the Internet; global advertising; multimedia organizations; European, Middle Eastern, and Asian media; and global events from post-Cold War and 9/11 vantage points. But some historical themes of concern continue to shape the scope and impact of global communication. These themes are best understood by examining where, why, and in what context NWICO emerged. But before we discuss NWICO, we need to note that, from a historical perspective, the role and invention of the telegraph in the mid-nineteenth century had profound consequences for international communication. This new technology resulted in a paradigm shift from national to international communication.9 It resulted in information becoming a commodity, particularly for the expanding print press and telegraph traffic. Finally, it also fostered a new breed of journalists – the war correspondent.

History of the War Correspondent

Prior to the Crimean War (1853–6) there had been many wars. What separates the Crimean War from the others is the impressive fact that it was the first to be covered by a foreign correspondent. For example an earlier war of 1812, fought by Canada and Great Britain against the United States, ended in 1815 with the Treaty of Ghent, with Canada and Great Britain as the victors. The treaty was signed in Europe in December 1814, but this agreement did not reach North America until February 1815. During the Crimean War, however, with the newly invented telegraph, it was possible for reporters to send daily dispatches. The new technology of the telegraph had been patented in Europe by Charles Wheatstone in 1838.

The background to the war was a dispute between Russia and France, under Napoleon, over control of the Middle East. The British also had a vested interest in the conflict since they controlled the seas and trade routes, and aspired to continue their colonial expansion in the Middle East. The Russians lost the Crimean War under the Treaty of Paris. Following this, they pulled back from their global expansionist goals. They soon sold Alaska in 1867 to the United States for $7.2 million.

William Harold Russell was the first foreign war correspondent for the London-based Times, which was founded in 1785 and is now controlled by News Corp. Three interesting factors emerged from his coverage. First, Florence Nightingale, the legendary nursing pioneer, complained to the British press about how poorly British war casualties were being treated, and about the horrific medical conditions compared to the excellent French facilities. The coverage in the Times eventually led to the dismissal of the cabinet minister responsible for the conduct of the war. Second, Queen Victoria of Britain called for a Royal Commission on Health and War (1856–7), but Nightingale was not appointed to the commission because only males were eligible. Third, the impact of the Times coverage was so important and explosive that the number of journalists assigned to cover the US Civil War (1861–5) skyrocketed. The London Times circulation nearly doubled. In the United States, with over half a million deaths, the pictures and accounts were major copy for the infant print press across both North and South. Several foreign correspondents from Europe also covered the Civil War. For example, British reporters supported the slavery-afflicted South to protect the cheap source of cotton for British factories. Finally, the massive circulation increases also fueled the demand for greater literacy so that many more people could read the war coverage in the newspapers.

New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO)

The foregoing examples are indicative of some of the major issues in international communication. In the past, much of this debate focused on the New World Information and Communication Order. NWICO dominated the international communication agenda for decades. It represents:

1 an evolutionary process seeking a more just and equitable balance in the flow and content of information;
2 a right to national self-determination of domestic communication policies; and
3 at the international level, a two-way information flow reflecting more accurately the aspirations and activities of less developed countries (LDCs).10