Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Societal Regulation

This week’s readings focus on global governance and the many challenges that privatization, globalization, convergence, conglomerates, and international organizations present to regulating international communications.

In the reading, Global Governance: A Beginner’s Guide, the author starts with a rationale for the importance of media regulation. He explains that the media is the primary source through which people interact and form opinions about others.

I particularly identified with the section that discussed the need for societal regulation in order to “ensure diversity and plurality of the media.” There is no doubt that the media plays a profound role in shaping our social, political and cultural views about others, therefore, the media has a great responsibility to provide its audience with content that is diverse and representative of a variety of view points on various issues.

The author states that the media is “how people learn about their own communities, develop social affinities and form group identities.” This particularly resonated with me as I thought about the CNN special series titled Black in America that aired in 2008 and Black in America 2 that aired in July 2009. The series discussed the most challenging issues facing African-Americans and highlighted leaders in the community making a difference. As an African-American watching the series, I particularly identified with many of the stories and issues that were discussed, as my family, friends, and myself have all encountered similar issues. I also learned a few new things about the struggles of African-Americans in other regions of the country and felt more connected to them because I could understand their struggles. As I discussed the series with my African-American friends, they too felt a greater sense of identity and pride in their heritage as a result of seeing the series. Additionally, I discussed the series with several co-workers from other ethnicities, and we had a candid discussion about issues in the African-American community. This was the first time that our conversation had moved passed superficial workplace small talk and delved into a topic that was a little more controversial. Without that series, my co-workers and I may have never had the opportunity to discuss these topics. My co-workers truly seemed to develop a greater understanding and respect for the issues in my community. The CNN series played an essential role in informing the American society about the plight of African-Americans and opened up a public debate on these issues.

The content that the media produces is critical in enabling people to develop a mutual understanding about topics they may not otherwise contemplate, therefore societal regulations must be in place to ensure that the media content represents a diverse set of views.

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