Global Governance and the Role of Media and Communications Technologies: Powerful Tools in Relation to Ecological Integrity
Abstract:For its reach and access by the masses — influencing values, culture and public opinion — the control of and influence in communications has long been essential to those in pursuit of power. Indeed, in countries where there has been an overthrow of an existing regime, forces leading change first seize control of the broadcast media. The primary reason for such control is for access to the masses, to “inform” and “control” them.
As a powerful form of communications, mainstream television and film (movies) have tended to reinforce dominant ways of thinking. They have appealed to normative social standards associated with the dominant paradigm, whether is has to do with normalising behaviours (e.g., the use of cigarettes through glamour appeal throughout the 20th century), to controlling and, indeed, censoring newspaper reports and editorial content to support moneyed interests allied with the dominant paradigm. The latter is ever-present, particularly as control of the media has become dominated by few powerful individuals whose primary concern is to entrench the status quo, ensuring business-as-usual and bolstering their dominance.
Since the advent of the Internet and associated communications technologies, the democratization of information has been at hand. Left and right of the political spectrum, information is accessible to all with computer access. Despite the benefits of access to alternative points of view, some government authorities persist in seizing control and ensuring their access to Internet communications. Laws in most developed countries, even those with advanced industrial economies, permit access to Internet communications and thereby retain ultimate control, all said to be in the so-called public interest for preserving peace and security.
In this part of the book, we are called to recognize through some case studies that all advances, whether in communications technology or not, can be used for the public good, or harm. Vigilance on the part of public interest groups is needed for ensuring that the line is clearly drawn between good and evil uses, and everything in between.