Media has at all times been used as a means to conquer the hearts and minds of the people to further strengthen and sustain the dominance of the powers that be in any society. The author, Susanna George, Executive Director, Isis International Manila, contends that the globalised media adopts various means like colonizing the minds of the people, creation of a hyper enemy, normalizing militarism and violence and increasing collaborations with the international agencies to help the dominant sections in sustaining their dominance.
Media plays a crucial role in the project of cultural domination. The western dominated media has attempted to colonise the minds of the people in the South using various subtle and obvious means like putting bans on the indigenous language, religious practice and customs, creating hierarchies of cultural supremacies, introducing notions of correct and modern to replace the primitive etc.
Media also plays an important role in creating and reinforcing the notion a hyper enemy, which then becomes the superpowers excuse to justify its presence and monopoly in third world countries.
Media enterprises that are controlled and strictly censored or that are owned by the status quo have played a crucial role in normalizing the culture of militarism. These same enterprises have perpetuated the notion that violence and war are necessary and even a necessary step towards the creation of peace.
Increasingly in recent times, one sees collaborations between international development agencies and the multinational media or the corporate sector. It cannot be viewed merely as benign gestures by these large corporations or as demonstrations of corporate social responsibility intended for the greater good of humanity - because it has been proven in different instances that corporate dollars never come unattached.
There are various things that civil society must do, to put up resistance that is broad-based and non-sectarian. Various social movements need to be more cogniscent of the struggles of other social movements, their analyses and sites of resistance, and be willing to give support to struggles that have not been our traditional spaces.
The different social movements must recognize and give support to the efforts of use of media and communication resources for public and non-market interests. There are community radio and other community-based media and communications activists that work towards expanding and maintaining what little space exists for non-commercial and community based alternatives.
We need to also give recognition to the important demands being made by indigenous peoples and marginalized communities of various sorts for greater cultural diversity, autonomy and access and control over cultural resources. More often than not, poor, marginalized and indigenous communities are not considered at all in programming equations since they do not form a powerful consumer category.
There is a need for a more vocal and visible force monitoring the movements of large multinational media conglomerates such as Time Warner, Disney, Sony, NewsCorp and such that have already cornered vast shares of the media and communications industry and their impact on smaller regional, national and local media. We need to update our critique and resistance to media monopolies, since they are antithetical to democratic discourse. Resistance needs to come from strengthening the minds of our young folk and old alike to be discerning through various levels of media savvyness.
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