Film, video and especially a television have been for the past fifty years in the developed countries and the last thirty to forty years in an undeveloped countries a very important medium for the news broadcasting and entertainment People get informed about the political, economic and environmental events via the television and news channels provided. Who is responsible for the selection of the news and also for the interpretation and the comments that accompany the news? How “objective” and “democratic” can be news that are broadcasted by the news channels belonging to the same cooperation and distribution companies and would like to continue to have a monopoly on world’s news?
A very interesting video got my attention just recently. In the video, Hilary Clinton, the U.S secretary of State is declaring that American television media and channels such as CNN and British BBC are under the “treat” and officially in the information war with the foreign media. The ones treating these Western mainstream media; who for a while, had a monopoly for a short period in the world broadcasting world news, is an alternative media coming from the ‘enemy” countries such as Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela. These countries have established an international channels in different language, such as English, Spanish, Russian.. where they address same questions, events etc. with their own commentaries, that many times clash with the commentaries provided by the American and British news broadcasting giants.
Russia became worldwide known with its RT – Russia Today, which is registered as autonomous non-profit organization. China’s CCTV (China Central television), broadcasting from Peking, has a network of 22 channels broadcasting different programs, such as news, documentary, entertainment. Similarly, Al Jazeera which is owned privately by Al Jazeera Media Network stated in Doha, Qatar.
In the name of USA broadcasting network news, Hilary Clinton supported by the American broadcasting cooperations, perceives that having an alternative views broadcasting by a foreign media on the news and especially on the USA political moves and actions, as a war. Therefore America is in a way a “good guy” here and the foreign media is “an enemy”. Clinton goes with her definitions on the subject saying that Al Jazeera is winning; Russian’s open multilingual channel broadcasting, as did the Chinese. Apparently according to Hilary other influential countries are not supposed to be having an opinion on world’s events, opposing and criticizing the USA government and various events connected to it. She speaks in such a way as if having a foreign media broadcasting in English would almost be a crime, not to mention a great threat to one-view oriented America and Britain.
As a result, CNN and BBC are making cuts, they are losing the public drastically, more and more people are hungry and searching for an alternative media outside these big news broadcasting companies that are no longer satisfying the general publish who started questioning single-minded one-view perspective on the world’s news. On the other hand, channels such as RT, Al Jazeera and CCTV are gaining more and more audience each day. RT has 550 million viewers in more than 100 countries, CCTV has an astonishing billion viewers.
Furthermore, what is interesting in the video with a Hilary Clinton, is the hostility she shows towards these non-American broadcasting channels, she goes as far as to call them “the enemies”, and sees the situation as the “We are in the information war and we are losing the war.” So apparently, having a different opinion or giving a different comment to a situation being broadcasted on let’s say CNN, makes you an enemy, which I perceive as a strongly negative word, enemy is someone who wants to do you bad, harm you and your family and makes you in generally feel frightened. That diminishes the respect and credibility of the whole ideology as America being the role model of a democratic country in the world and even going as far as to “spread and fight for democracy in other countries.”
Can these foreign channels be classified as a radical alternative media towards the mainstream media? In a way, these channels are a mainstream media in their own countries, and truth to be told, they probably won’t stand the test of the Barber’s analytic categories such as agenda setting, exploring mutuality and affiliation and affection, witness and self-expression and community building. However, i am trying to show here that mainstream media all over the world, especially American and British one, may perceive others as a threat, and if they can’t stand difference of an opinion and criticize it so boldly, then this proves that alternative views are indeed necessary, otherwise why would American broadcasting made such a fuss?
Taking USA back in time when the media was still forming in the America. In American constitution is it written in a more freeway manner, that the media should be a “watchdog”, as to follow state’s flaws, mistakes, all and all criticize the government, follow and openly show the corruption in order to build a better and more democratic country. But is that really the case in the USA? The so called “freedom of speech” becomes questionable here, if we take Clinton’s words regarding the foreign TV channels, having a different opinion is not only bad is in fact a form of evil (hence the conclusion” our enemies”), America feels that they are out-communicated by their “enemies”, and therefore they have to defend their country, their interests. I would love to hear the further explanation of the USA Head of Agency for foreign Broadcasting who in fact uses the term “enemies” regarding the foreign media, what exactly does it mean to be out-communicated? No one stops the CNN, FOX TV, BBC etc. to broadcast their news, it just that different views of points are available through different foreign channels and in a more accessible and easy to reach ways, such as internet, you tube etc.
Voices of other people from all over the world should and must be heard or at least they should have a chance to speak up and share their own experiences. One point of view of one country alone and one government cannot speak for the entire world; and if anything tolerance and respect should be practiced in worldwide broadcasting media news, to build a better tomorrow. As Martin Luther King put it:” Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”