Electronic Media and the New Horizon of International Communication

The Crumbling Walls of Silence

...it is not only by shooting bullets in the battlefields that tyranny is overthrown, but also by hurling ideas of redemption, words of freedom and terrible anathemas against the hangmen that people bring down dictators and empires."
Emiliano Zapata

Emiliano Zapata
      These words, expressed by legendary hero of the Mexican revolution Emiliano Zapata almost a century ago, reflect an ideology taking shape today at the heart of modern media technology. The "global village" of today has worldwide satellites, international radio and now the Cyberspace revolution of the Internet. The unrestricted and multi-faceted style that Internet communication fosters carries some important implications for the future trends of international communications. Especially in terms of its function as a mass media device, the speed and unrestricted nature of the Internet gives it the potential to allow a voice to many who before were silenced by the shortcomings of traditional media representation.
      The "Wall of Silence" that has historically enshrouded ethnic minorities, the poor, and the political dissidents of the globe is crumbling down as these groups are gradually coming to know the power of the Internet as an alternative communications tool. It is a tool of such force that it is increasingly a nemesis to their oppressors, who have always found ways to censor and silence their struggles throughout history. Some people have spoken of a new "Digital Democracy" caused by the spread of electronic media. Today, if an individual or group desires to spread a message quickly and effectively, all they need is a computer and a modem, and a World Wide Web of listeners is all ears.
      At this point, it is important to note that as with any new technology, this worldwide Internet audience is still relatively restricted. The small percentage of the global population that has the resources and education to utilize the Internet is in no way representative of the whole. Indeed, the Internet has received its fair share of criticisms for everything from creating an "information glut (Shenk,David 1)" as it was coined by author David Shenk, to criticisms of its potential to heighten the technological dependencies between developing countries and those that advanced enough to control the ways and means of the computer industry. As author E. Baskakov argues in his article entitled "Empire of Lies and Deception:"
      "The developing countries that have freed themselves from colonial political dependence are still saddled with       information dependence. As electronics and the use of computers develop, dependence increases(Baskakov, 25-26)."
However, time and technology will likely push the cost of computers and modems down as they gradually become more accessible to a larger percentage of the global population. What is fundamentally important about the Internet is its unrestricted nature, and the implications that this carries for the future of international media communication.

The Postmodern CyberWorld Threatens Hegemony

      The type of international communication that the Internet fosters is postmodern in nature, as it allows multiple representations of a single news issue. This differs from traditional news media style, which usually presents only the subjective, dominant view of the news narrator. A Mexican soldier cartoon       However, the multi-media capabilities of Internet communication allow for "real-time" dialogue, links to countless sources, and new angles of information and commentary never available before. All of these features that the Cyber Internet offers give the audience a higher degree of understanding as they receive a wider angle of voices. The implications of this multi-faceted style of media for cultural, political and economic relations are endless.
      Furthermore, we have entered an age where the scope of communication gives a drastically more powerful effect to the media message as it reaches entirely new audiences. As Emiliano Zapata stated a century ago, the defeat of tyranny and those historically oppressive forces will require more than bullets. Today's battle is an information war; The mass media message is the bullet, the audience that it reaches is the army, and the Internet is our most powerful weapon in hopes of a true global democracy.

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