The Global Village Reality and the Shortcomings of Traditional Media Representation

THE WEST and.......the rest

      Frances R. Aparicio and Susana Chavez-Silverman, editors of a compilation of essays entitled Tropicalization: Transcultural representations of Latinidad, discuss the importance of trans-cultural communicational exchange. Zapatista man with his son This exchange, according to the authors, involves multiple interpretations and sources and contrasts the traditional binary dialogue between what the the authors call 'the West and the rest.' This historical relationship between those economically advanced nations and "the rest" of a struggling globe has had an influence on every thing from culture, to religion, to mass media content. The center has traditionally reported the story for the periphery, representing its struggles and successes. Meanwhile those existing in the periphery (albeit the population of a Third World nation, a guerilla group, or a political party) remain silenced subjects, and left without any expression of self-expression on the mainstream level. (albeit a Third World nation, a guerilla group, or a political party) is left without representation of its own. This is due to the fact that the more powerful nations at the center have historically enjoyed exclusive access to international media production, and therefore have been able to control its content. This historical phenomenon has also been coined "cultural hegemony" by several media theorists. However, today the Internet is changing all of this, as it takes the communications production power out of the few hands and places it into the many of subjects waiting to tell "our side" of the story. Referring to new types of international media and cultural influences, Aparicio and Silverman discuss the cultural "contact zones" that are generated by new types of modern multi-cultural dialogue:
      "Drawing on the value of trans-culturation as the dynamic, mutual influence that a subordinate       dominant culture effect upon each other in the "contact zones" (Pratt) cultural encounters, this volume       constitutes itself as a space for dialogism in which both dominant and marginal subjectivities (Anglo,       Latin American) are at once given voice and constantly relativized in an analysis that attempts to trancend       the old binary self/other (Aparicio and Silverman, 1)."

Meet the Zapatistas: International News Makers in Protest

      The global village has many voices, and many voices to be heard. By eliminating the role of the dominant narrator, the true "news story" is revealed, and subjectivity is replaced by something nearer to the objectivity that has been a myth for so long with the shortcomings of traditional media representation. In a postmodern world, each voice is a valid part of the whole. In fact, no one source has more importance or dominance over the next, as each is viewed for its relative subjectivity. As a result, the media audience becomes an active participant in the process, no longer simply a passive "sponge" of hegemonic media discourse.
      The information presented in this website examines the role of the Internet in the success of the Zapatista uprising of January 1, 1994 in Southern Mexico. The rebellion of the Zapatistas was fought at the grassroots level, by a small group of untrained indigenous men and women whose aim was not war, but the cultural rights of their people. Their use of the Internet as a mass media device allowed them unrestricted communication with the "outside" world, as the group's leader Subcomandante Marcos stated that he had no faith in the Mexican or U.S. press. Zapatista Banner In fact, the e-mail Communiques that the Zapatistas sent from the depths of the Mexican jungle were generated from Marcos' laptop computer alone, and played a central role in the international recognition and subsequent success of the movement for indigenous rights by allowing the Cyber world audience a real look into the Zapatistas' struggle. The depth and personal nature of this coverage is something rare, if not non-existent, for traditional foreign news coverage.
      In his book entitled The New World Prism , author William A. Hatchen discusses the manner in which modern media technology is threatening the traditional process of news gathering:
      "In today's societies, an individual is no longer a passive recipient of news or       entertainment but now is an "information seeker" who can select or choose his or       her news or from a widening variety of sources, many of which governments are unable or unwilling to       control. Further, individuals themselves, such as those involved in computer networking, become sources       of information, that is, communicators. Autocratic governments find it difficult to control personalized       communications (Hachten, 63)."

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