Rabi-Ul-Awwal \ Rabi-Ul-Akhir 1424 H
Volume 16-06 No : 198
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Reviewed by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj.
Dancing to Global Capital Media in India By Pranjali Bandhu Published by:
Odyssey,Reviewed by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj. Shakthi Flats, 10-LakshmipuramVelacherry, Chennai-600042 Rs. 150, Pages: 138 Media is largely a Western creation and the West by virtue of its economic might and political domination, continues to manipulate it. We, the inhabitants of the third world still labour under the misbelief that media is neutral. This Western assumption overwhelmingly influences our attitude to the images, messages and events it purveys. So much so that we scarcely realise our inability to comprehend the role of the media in projection of ideology across borders.
The Western media being the arm of private, multinational companies is market dependent. Moreover, it is capital intensive for senders and readily accessible to receivers. While appearing to be neutral, it is no more neutral than any other private enterprise. Reporting is amenable to the corporate pressures, media owners and their clients. The apparent neutrality tends to mask the fact that the media is owned by people engaged in not just reporting or entertaining, but in selling.
The book under review presents a succinct view of the economic ruin, cultural subjugation and intellectual impoverishment caused by the process of globalisation in the field of media specifically in context to India, but widely applicable to all the third world countries. It should be a must-read for all those who are concerned over the pernicious propaganda and perverse de-culturation of the nations other than the West.
Those who own the car or fill the fuel tank have the most say in where it has to be driven. The analogy is true with the privatised Global media with its servers ensconced in the West, principally in the United States. The non-Western viewer of American programmes gets a culturally packaged essence of American assumptions. Now look at the following statistics: In the entire third world of 57 countries, 39 countries imported more than half of their television programming, and two-thirds of those 39 imported more than 60 per cent. The long and short of the argument is that those who pay the piper play the tune. Ms. Pranjali Bandhu dredges a fund of information on the corporate funding of the Western media and the culturally loaded messages and images it purveys to the third world. The 13 years of globalisation may not have turned the world into a global village, but certainly made it completely servile to the United States. Western linkages and tie-ups in educational institutions have changed the academic agenda from ensuring social justice to seeking markets for consumer products and gauge ratings of the TV programmes. Information technology is reducing the third world economies to service economy catering to the specialised industrial interests of the US. With 90 per cent of the broadcast spectrum and prime geo-stationary orbital slots owned by the Western communication satellites, the West’s sway over the communication and telecommunication channels remains unchallenged.
All this help create global homogenous market for their products and they use the mass media to create appropriate consciousness and value system attuned to it. The ‘made in America’ lifestyles are circulated and imitated the world over. Ideological themes pervade the seemingly harmless and universal entertainment products. Consumerism with ‘use now and pay later’ mentality are promoted incessantly.
Bandhu takes stock of how the 13 years of globalisation has led to creation of more monopolies in the Indian media and as to how the media has become a purveyor of communal, sexist, imitative and consumer consciousness among Indian audiences. Her profound sympathies with subaltern classes and communities repeatedly shows itself through the entire study. In her own words, “The Globalisation has meant the integration of a few into the centre of the world economy and the marginalisation of the vast majority at the peripheries”. The book must be read by all those who are working to make it people centred, a purveyor of public interest and defender of cultural values dear to varied sections of people.
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