The speed of globalization, namely with electronic and technologically based communications, have increased cultural awareness worldwide. 14 Canadian culture specifically, is a target for foreign media and because it is the home to thousands of different ethnic groups, it risks jeopardizing the interests of specific cultures in order to cater to the mainstream. Once media become increasingly international in scope, the tendency for bias and discrimination abounds. Ethic minorities in particular, have a difficult time defining and maintaining their culture due to the fact that they are constantly misrepresented in the media.
As stated by both Biagi and McKie, “the mainstream media, especially daily newspapers and the television networks, have traditionally represented the interests of mainstream culture. Scores of media studies have documented stereotypical representation, and a lack of representation of ethnic minorities in all areas of culture. “15 The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines ‘mainstream’ as pertaining to the dominant trend of opinion or style. The concentration of power with regards to ownership of media is almost entirely in the hands of typically white, middle-aged, well-to-do males.
Consequently, the prevailing opinion in the media will also be bound to that particular gender, class and race. In addition, the majority of media consumed globally is owned and operated by right-wing corporations. 16 Other scholars echo this argument by adding that, “political elites become the ‘primary definers’ of mass media. “17 Further studies also prove that groups with greater political and economic status have found the media to be better suited to their needs than do groups with lesser status.
This can also be characterized as “excessive media-centrism” which fails to take into account objectivity, especially in journalistic works.
18 In short, popular culture is simply the privileged dominant media establishing its social interests over others and, thereby, sacrificing diversity for power. Evaluators of globalization recognize the fact that media related events do not occur within a vacuum, and that many differing forces can effectively influence the media. Subsequently, a comprehensive study of the driving forces behind the media concludes that a good deal of bias and discrimination within modern newspapers, television programming and film is prevalent.
The overall consensus is that various minority groups which exist outside of the social, economic and political status quo suffer feelings of degradation as the media blatantly ignores their needs. Many feel as if they are second class citizens because the media does not even bother to exercise fair and accurate reporting when discussing issues concerning them. In his essay, Out of the Mainstream: Sexual Minorities and the Mass Media, Larry Gross examines the portrayal of homosexuals in the media. Gross argues that both gay and lesbian men and women are constantly stereotyped, exploited and labeled in various forms of media.
He even goes so far as to assert that “for the most part, gay people have been simply invisible in the media. “19 As a result, the above implications suggest that if media were not produced on such a massive scale, or on an international level, minorities of all types would be more accurately portrayed. Visible and well-publicized minorities are not the only groups that are subject to discrimination in the media. Arguments have been made that ‘class’ distinctions also suffer profound prejudices at the hands of the mass media.
Subsequent studies conducted by Bruce Livesy and his colleagues suggest that the homogenization of culture imparts preconceptions against working-class people. Livesy concludes that “stories and issues about working people are rarely addressed by the mainstream media. “20 Women in general, can also be underrepresented or exposed in a negative manner through various forms of media. Gail Robertson claims that racism, sexism and homophobic views are prominent and obvious even in Walt Disney films geared toward children. “The world can be a wonderfully magical and imaginary place in movies.
It can also be a violent, angry place, and one that is filled with negative stereotypes. “21 In light of these circumstances, other various groups are not only underrepresented but completely ignored in the mainstream media. A survey conducted by Michael Karlberg and Robert Hackett identifies numerous ‘blindspots’ in the media, including ethnic and racial issues, as well as some women’s issues. 22 They note in their studies that sources prove the media as “having the upper hand in framing events and selectively admitting voices into public discourse.
“23 Those who do not fall in line with popular culture simply do not have a voice, or representation through the mass media for that matter. There are definite parallels being drawn between globalization and the disappearance of culture. Analyst, Wayne Ellwood is not alone in his contention that, “local cultures are being wiped out” due to this trend and that not only are these local cultures faltering, but they are being replaced by a uniform culture that is fostered by globalization.
24 Accordingly, the importance of media remaining on a local scale becomes especially clear when discussing the great fear of globalization leading to a monocultural society. Local culture and media systems are advantageous in various ways. They are actual members of particular societies so they understand and can help to foster culture by acknowledging specific needs. They are unconcerned with international events and speak on behalf of different social groups rather than huge corporations, thereby increasing awareness and accuracy in media reporting.
Variance in ownership is important in order to promote diversity and ensure representation of all social groups. Ironically, although local media institutions would certainly aid in counteracting the negative effects of globalization on culture, it is this very globalized media which makes it difficult for them to exist. It is also quite common for small community networks to be purchased by huge media corporations. Often, small media outlets simply cannot compete for readers with larger, more global media institutions that offer up to the minute international news written by acclaimed journalists.
Moreover, audiences tend to be drawn to media that are visually pleasing, attention-grabbing and professional-looking. 25 Large media are also relatively cheaper, more abundant and easily accessible. Since larger media institutions are more financially sound, they can afford to package products that are more appealing to audiences. In addition, their vast human resource base allows them to thoroughly research market patterns, conduct surveys and target specific audiences by building upon niche markets. Finally, the loss of patronage that small media outlets experience as a result of being forced into competition can result in their demise.
In December of 1995, the World Summit for Social Development held a conference discussing issues involving the threats and opportunities of globalization and citizenship. 26 Participants and representatives considered such issues as: “the conceptual underpinnings of ‘globalization’ and ‘citizenship,’ the changing political economy of the international system, the impact of globalization on people’s rights, and the enforcement of international standards. “27 Concerns regarding citizenship which take place within national boundaries affect the basic civil, political and socio-economic rights of individuals.
The rights of citizens are often sacrificed during times of uncertainty and rapid polarization. In response, citizens seek institutions that are able to provide social protection and establish a sense of community. The convention held that, “economic liberalization and restructuring have eroded the economic and social rights of people in many countries, but falling barriers to communication have also expanded international awareness of rights and facilitated the creation of civil society networks on a global scale.
“28 The ease at which communication is possible, combined with the rapid spreading of ideas and notions across geographical boundaries creates conditions where individuals are forced to define and protect their social rights. Consequently, government officials argue that the growing emergence of transnational institutions are weakening established citizen-states, and are effectively alienating political establishments in order to strengthen their own commercial interests. 29
Despite arguments contending that globalization leads inevitably to Americanization across the globe; proponents argue that rather than homogenizing culture, globalization actually hybridizes culture. It has been proven that a local cultural media system can exist and possibly prosper even in the era of globalization. Minorities who are underrepresented or ignored in the media at an international level can be more accurately portrayed in a more localized media system. The existence of companies involved in alternative media provide differing views as people would rather see, hear and read about events that affect them personally.
Journalist Larry Gross finds that programs and films geared toward homosexual audiences can fare very well, arguing that, “the products of the nascent lesbian/gay cinema find a powerful response among their primary audience. “30 Many specialized cultural groups appreciate and encourage media facets that give them a glimpse of themselves. Support in Quebec for domestic programming is also a prime example of a community that enjoys and maintains a local media system that caters to their specific needs. Unfortunately, these media outlets face growing competition from all arenas and many will not survive without support from their communities.
Mary Vipond states that, “culture is the glue that holds any society together. “31 The trend towards globalization threatens this cultural ‘glue’ in countless ways. Where a local media is concerned with preservation of culture, such as language and tradition, an international media can be associated with a significant loss of such identities and customs. In a world of rapid globalization, some scholars state that movement toward a world without borders is due to the fact that, “in many cases, the capacity to communicate ran ahead of the capacity to produce communications,” which inevitably led to the drawing in of media from other countries.
32 Critics assert that this is trivializing a much larger issue especially since the existence age-old cultures are a stake. Local media institutions, which serve to protect and maintain culture, are wiped out as the movement toward globalization continues. Debates between scholars concerning the benefits and repercussions of globalization are subject to deliberation; but one thing is clear, globalization is premised on the notion of a single unified world, and if allowed to do so, cultural diversity as we know it will cease to exist.
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2 Rowland Lorimer and E. O’Donnell, R. , “Globalization and Internationalization in Publishing,” Canadian Journal of Communication 17 (Autumn, 1992), Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 493. 3 Marjorie Ferguson, “Media, Markets and Identities: Reflections on the Global-Local Dialectic: The 1994 Southam Lecture,” Canadian Journal of Communication 20 (Autumn, 1995), Vol. 20 No. 4. 4 Institute of East Asian Studies, “Look Who’s Talking Now: Globalization, Film, Media, & the Public Sphere,” University of California, Berkley. Retrieved 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://ieas. berkeley. edu/events/z2002. 03. 09. html. 5 Ferguson, op. cit., par. 3. 6 Robert I. Wakefield and Coleman F.
Barney, “Communication in the Unfettered Marketplace: Ethical Interrelationships of Business, Government and Stakeholders,” Journal of Mass Media Ethics 16 (2001), Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 213. 7 Frederick Fletcher, “Media and Political Identity: Canada and Quebec in the Ear of Globalization,” Canadian Journal of Communication 23 (2001), Vol. 23 No. 3. 8 Ibid. 9 Wakefield and Barney, op. cit. , pp. 213. 10 Mary Vipond, The Mass Media in Canada (Toronto, 2000), pp. 96. 11 Anne McGrath, “Media and Politics,” in Mediascapes: New Patterns in Canadian Communication (Toronto, 2002), pp.
384. 12 Ibid, pp. 97. 13 Peter Wade, Music, Race, and Nation (Chicago, 1957), pp. 26. 14 Chris Barker, Television, Globalization and Cultural Studies (Pennsylvania, 1999), pp. 36-37. 15 Shirley Biagi and Craig McKie, Media Impact: An Introduction to Mass Media (Toronto, 1999), pp. 268. 16 Bruce Livesy, “A Labour Newspaper: Pipe Dream of Possibility? ” in Bohdan Szuchewycz & Jeannette Sloniowski (Eds. ), Canadian Communications (Toronto, 1999), pp. 181. 17 Michael Karlberg and Robert A. Hackett, “Cancelling Each Other Out? Interest Group Perceptions of the News Media,” Canadian Journal of Communication 21 (1996), Vol. 21 No.
4, par. 6. 18 P. Schlesinger, “Rethinking the Society of Journalism: Source Strategies and the Limits of Media-Centrism,” in M. Ferguson (Ed. ), Public Communication: the New Imperatives (London, 1990), pp. 61. 19 Larry Gross, “Out of the Mainstream: Sexual Minorities and the Mass Media,” in Durham, M. & Kellner, D. (Eds. ), Media and Cultural Studies (Oxford, 1989), pp. 410. 20 Livesy, op. cit. , pp. 181. 21 Gail Robertson, “Snow Whitey? Stereotyping in the Magical Kingdom,” in Bohdan Szuchewycz & Jeannette Sloniowske (Eds. ), Canadian Communications (Toronto, 1998), pp. 222. 22 Karlberg and Hackett, op. cit. , para.
18. 23 Ibid, para. 19. 24 Wayne Ellwood, The No-Nonsense Guide to Globalization (Cornwall, 1999), pp. 11. 25 Biagi and McKie, op. cit. , pp. 222. 26 UNRISD: Globalization and Citizenship. Retrieved 2003 from the World Wide Web: (httpEvents)/EA794CA143A44B0AC1256C240048AE02? OpenDocument=. 27 Ibid. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid. 30 Gross, op. cit. , pp. 421. 31 Vipond, op. cit. , pp. 89. 32 Michael Tracey and Wendy W. Redal, “The New Parochialism: The Triumph of the Populist in the Flow of International Television,” Canadian Journal of Communication 20 (1995), Vol. 20 No. 3, par. 8.