Theme 11: Issues and the Role of Media in an Information Age
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  (Last updated: August 29th, 2005)
 
 
 
 
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  Role and Place of Media in Development: Analysis Applied to Morocco  
  Karima Ragala,  
  Groupe d'Etude et de Recherche en Sciences de L'Information et de la Communication-GERSIC, University Paul Cézanne, Aix-en-Provence, Morocco  
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  The main function of media was limited to provide information to the public about what happens around the world. But the changes operated give more importance to them and to their place in society. In fact, all kinds of media now have a fundamental role in the good functioning of institutions, governments and states. Therefore, it is a felt need to examine the impact of media in society (already done by sociologists of media, principally), but more specifically the influence that they can have on the development process of any country or region.  
     
  Before analysing this global approach, we can consider some criteria. On the one hand, the first and most important is the degree of press freedom around the world. Without free access for journalists to accurate sources of information, citizens will ignore a lot about what is undertaken in their country and about politics applied by governors. So, the more free, independent and various press a country has, the more it can influence individuals’ opinions. In fact, media give people the chance to participate actively in decision making by providing them with some elements, that allow them to take part in the information process as consumers and producers. On the other hand, the second element is the effect of mass media on conducting a democratisation process. But first, we should establish a link between democracy and development.  
     
  Finally, all elements mentioned previously will help us respond to the major ideas expressed above but essentially apply them to our case study: Morocco.  
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  Scientific News and Popular Science: Their Images and Founctions in Russian Based Electronic Mass-Media  
  Dimitri A. Bayuk, Senior Researcher  
  Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia  
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  The last year was marked with the growing cooperation and collective activity in the milieu of Russian journalists specialized in scientific journalism. One of initial impacts to the process has been given with the Vitaly Ginzburg nomination for Nobel Prize in physics. It produced a new wave of public interest to scientific problems and, then, the interest of editors. In order to orient themselves under the new circumstances, journalists willing to write on scientific subjects launched several discussions both off- and on-line, which became the subject of this research.  
     
  First, all of discussions revealed common identification of scientific news and popular science as journalist genres, although they are very different both in functions they have to fulfill and audiences they are addressing to. Second, participants showed the tendency to make inadequately strong stress upon the problem of demarcation line between science and pseudo-science, or non-science, which indicates, on one hand, the oppressive influence of bureaucratic management of the Academy of Science upon research climate and its negative consequences for public opinion, and, on the other hand, high social positions taken by magicians and cabbalists. Third, economical difficulties of Russian scientific institutions and hi-tech branches of industry are also too often considered as possible subjects for scientific news.  
     
  All these peculiarities, analyzed on the basis of journalist discussions, could be with different degree of explicitness found in publications of several internet editions, such as NewsBattery, SciTechLibrary, or Grani.ru. It is not difficult to show that only too often authors of scientific news/popular science publications are not competent enough to interpret adequately the chosen subjects and to trace necessary difference of these genres.  
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  Prospects for Public Service Broadcasting in the Information Society  
  Johannes Bardoel, Senior Associate Professor  
  Department of Communication, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands  
     
  Leen d'Haenens, Senior Associate Professor  
  Department of Communication, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium  
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  The EU’s recent call for a dynamic and evolving remit for public service broadcasting in light of the Lisbon strategy to redesign a decisive role for the audiovisual sector in making Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010 represents yet another challenge for European public service broadcasters. Around 1990 the last public service broadcasting monopolies came to an end and ‘dual’ broadcasting structures comprising public and commercial actors were put in place, following the liberal(izing) EU Directive ‘Television without Frontiers’. At the same time in Eastern Europe state-controlled media complexes were dismantled, and often a shift was made towards highly commercial media landscapes. New information technologies, liberalizing EU and national policies, together with rapidly changing societies – from mono- to multicultural – entail undoubtedly serious consequences for the prospects of public service broadcasters. Consequently, they will need to solve their current identity crisis, reformulate their remit, and reorganize their institutions within the emerging information society. The role of the public service concept within this new context will be centrally dealt with in this article, as well as the specificity and distinctiveness of the European fullfledged, ‘all-in-one’ PSB model versus the US ‘niche’ model with more modest pretensions in relation to popular reach and social impact. Other aspects, such as the digital strategies adopted by PSB’s, their shaping of e-communities and deployment of cross-media applications in an effort to keep in touch with the new demographics and ‘taste cultures’ of Western societies, will be highlighted.  
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  Message Bazaar and Cultural Interference  
  Mehdi Mohsenian Rad, Lecturer  
  College of Culture and Communication, Imam Sadegh University, Tehran, Iran  
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  "Cultural Imperialism" was a term to be used to explain the relationship between the culture and the media in the Third World, before the “global village” and “globalization” terms became popular in the world. Later on, Americanization, denationalization, center-periphery, glocalization, and finally cultural invasion were added into the dictionary of communication. But perhaps none of the above terminologies represent the phenomenon which will happen in the world of communication in the future.  
     
  There are certain evidences which indicate that in the future the concept of mass audience would be replaced by a new one, which can be called numerous communicators (numerous senders and numerous receivers). The popularity of Internet chat rooms and web sites throughout the world along with the usage of DV cameras in the movie industries especially in the African countries are the best example for the argument that I am presenting in this paper.  
     
  This article explains how the "mass media" system would change its structure to include numerous "communicators," similar to the traditional market space that can be called Global Message Bazaar. This space is similar to the Old Persian market or oriental Bazaars which were used to sell, buy, and trade goods. The traditional market, in terms of communication, represents the largest pluralistic and diversified media space in the human history. The system is such that it allows audiences to participate in the communication processes as individuals rather than a faceless “mass.” These individuals share some characteristics with some minorities and majorities in the society, but remain independent and choose to receive only specified messages. Therefore, there will be numerous representations and message that would serve the needs of individuals. Just similar to the oriental bazaar, which this paper presents in the “Message Bazaar Model,” the mass media must fulfil their increasingly diverse audience needs.  
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  Information is Power: Building an Interface to the New Information World  
     
  Michael Gasser, Associate Professor, Computer Science Department  
     
  Ahmet Hamed, Masters Student, Computer Science Department  
     
  Stephen Hockema, Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology and Cognitive Science  
     
  Amr Sabry, Associate Professor, Computer Science Department  
     
  Matthew Kane, PhD Student and Associate Instructor in Computer and Cognitive Science,  
  Computer Science Department  
     
  Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA  
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  Despite the vast array of alternative sources of information brought by the advent of the Internet, it seems harder than ever to get access to reliable information. Indeed, it appears that much of the information is provided by unqualified agents using poorly-defined terms, circular arguments, or unverifiable and vacuous claims. Even worse, and more ominously, media corporations and their government partners are openly waging an “information war,” where information is intentionally filtered and distorted to influence and mislead the perceived enemies of North-centered capitalism, among others. An additional problem is that much of the information is generated by English-speaking sources and is not readily available in many important languages in the global South.  
     
  As experts in various aspects of information science, we have embarked on an ambitious project, an Interface to the Information World, that we hope people everywhere can both contribute to and rely on to provide them with the information they need. The specific immediate subprojects we have initiated include the following:
• a system that analyzes a given report in light of other reports and facts, the chain of sources and supporting arguments, to calculate a believability ranking.
• a system for translation between Amharic and English which could serve as a prototype for future systems that aid in translation between English and other languages.
 
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  Indigenous Digital Media and Cyber-Sovereignty in the Pacific Northwest or Native North America  
  Adam Fish, Executive Director for the Center for Landscape & Artefact  
  Nespelem, Washington, USA  
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  Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest have begun tou se the World Wide Web (WWW) to articulate their identities and histories. The phrase “indigenous digital media” (IDM) describes all forms of visual and aural media used by Native Americans to accurately create, claim, and display their local intellectual property in a global digital environment. Emergent technologies are shaping the direction of tribal public history and tribal participation in worldwide digital democracies.  
     
  Under the auspices of a Life-Long Learning Online program (http://l3.ed.uidaho.edu), the Schitsu’umsh (Coeur d’Alene), the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation (CTUIR), and the Nimíipuu (Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho) created sophisticated WWW multimedia modules dedicated to progressively maintaining cultural diversity, history, environmental justice, language preservation, hypertext cartographies, and expressive arts.  
     
  There will be two stages to this presentation: an analysis of the strengths of digital medias for indigenous sovereignty projects and an online exhibition of empirical cases (e.g (http://l3.ed.uidaho.edu/ShowOneObject.asp?SiteID=50&ObjectID=713&ExpeditionID=).  
     
  Within current tribal WWW modules, indigenous performance, indigenous digital media, and hypermedia historiography are in trialogue. Each narration employs multimedia, phenomenologies of landscapes, and interactivity to embrace the tribal and non-tribal reader as a co-storyteller, networker, and author. Participation in digital medias empowers tribal members to engage in the production and consumption of traditional information. The communication tactic and content of these hypermedias undermine visual imperalism, textual histories, and scientific epistemologies while claiming cyber-sovereignty for Columbia Plateau tribes in the “dot-commons” --thereby surmounting the digital divide.  
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  Lost in Translation?: United States Television Media Coverage of Climate Change, 1988-2005  
  Max Boykoff, Doctoral Candidate  
  Environmental Studies Department, University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California, USA  
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  In this information age, previous research has found that public understanding of science and policy in the United States (U.S.) comes primarily from the mass media, nearly half of it from television news. Concurrently, climate change is widely considered to be one of the most crucial environmental, social and political problems facing the planet. In March of 2003, UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix said, "To me the question of the environment is more ominous that that of peace and war...I'm more worried about global warming than I am of any major military conflict”. In January of 2005, Rajendra Pachauri – chairman of the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – called for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions for humanity to survive. Therefore, this paper investigates the role of the media in communicating climate science and policy; specifically, major U.S. television media coverage – NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN – from 1988 to 2005. Through quantitative content and iconic analysis, this paper argues that television coverage of the causes and consequences of climate change has been deficient, and that key conflicts regarding climate change have, in fact, arisen through and been perpetuated by institutional features of the mass media via political economic, cultural and journalistic norms, pressures and values. While this case-study focuses on the U.S., it has manifold international implications. Ultimately, this work seeks to facilitate tangible possibilities for significant improvements in international climate policy and global development. This can benefit stakeholders most vulnerable to impacts from threats connected to human-induced climate change.  
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  NWICO and Other Media-Related Events at UNESCO and the ITU, and Implications for the WSIS: Reflections of the Legacy and Present Summit Agenda and Activity  
  Richard C. Vincent, Professor, Department of Communication  
  Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN, USA  
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Many have anticipated that the benefits of a “communications revolution” will be equally shared.  We have seen how ICTs have already made a difference in various social and political conflicts around the globe.  Yet future success depends on further developments and the ability to reach agreement on a multi-themed platform supported by the various stakeholders.  Based on events during and following the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), successful incorporation of a Civil Society agenda will; not be easy to achieve.  During the first phase, many participants complained that sessions had been either closed, or limited to government delegate presentations.  It is argued by some that the summit's declaration include little that is daring or original so far.  Civil society opinions often appeared to be at odds with official summit views, and differences were also seen at times between countries.  Many Civil Society participants, in particular, feel disenfranchised by the official declarations and activities and may continue to feel unwelcome as the second phase of the Summit unfolds.  However, the process is still quite unique to the U.N., for this marks the first time ever a formal structure has been established for the participation of Civil Society.  With this in mind, this paper will examine how key previous movements such as the United Nation’s and UNESCO’s New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) and the Declaration on a New Economic Order (NOEI, 1974), and the Maitland Report: the Missing Link (1985) at the ITU all faltered due to a lack of interest or outright opposition from dominant world governments and industry leadership, marginalization of concerns by the developing world, and the failure to include Civil Society participation.  This analysis will then be compared to the WSIS process in an effort to provide clarification of present events and speculate on the likelihood for success as the WSIS draws to and end and we look to the implementation of its goals and recommendations.

 
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