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The Role of the Media in the Dynamics of World Politics: Is Democratic Development Possible? (Reviewing the main Theoretical Contentions in International Communication Studies through the Prism of Transformations of the Russian Media System)

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Great Power shifts occur because of the structural changes in the distribution of relative resources in the world. Information is the key resource of modern societies, and media corporations are one of the major and the most powerful actors in international politics. However, despite extensive research, the role of the media in national, and to a much greater extent, in international politics still remains a highly contested and ambiguous terrain. Do the media cause, facilitate or simply document the global shifts of power? Are the changes in the national media systems an instance of globalization and result from trends in the world politics? Are the media tools in struggles for global domination or the instrument of democracy? Perhaps, as some authors claim (Vedel 2001), the media are not connected to politics and are purely an industry? Or maybe the media play all these roles - and yet some other ones? What theoretical lenses should we wear to see the answers to these questions more clearly? My paper will argue that while the media may play an ambivalent role in the dynamics of global politics and power shifts, public service broadcasting is nevertheless a crucial attribute of democracy. Drawing on the results of a large empirical study of transformation of the Russian media system and using the US, British, French and Canadian media systems as benchmarks for comparison, I will review the main theoretical arguments regarding the future of public service broadcasting and its role in sustaining democracy in the emerging global information society. The first part will highlight the key point of contention regarding the connection between media and democracy in the international political communications and media studies. The idea of global information society and its attributes remaining a highly contested terrain, can democracy surpass national borders? Is public service broadcasting an exclusively national phenomenon, or can we possibly define its global equivalent? In case of the latter, what terms and points of reference should we use - those of a global public sphere, grounded in critical perspectives, or an international marketplace of ideas, coming from liberalism? What is the key property of public service broadcasting that ensures it really serves the interests of the public - organizational form and ownership, principles of regulation, mechanisms of funding, or quality of service? Can any supranational institution supersede the role of the states in developing the rules and regulatory guidelines for the media? The second part will present the results of the empirical study and ask three main questions to the qualitative data concerning the transformation of the media system in Russia. First, what reasons (political, economic, social, cultural) accounted for borrowing the Western experience? Second, using the US, the French, the British and the Canadian media systems as the points of reference, how close has the Russian media system come to match the predominant global trends? Third, has Russia succeeded in making its media system (and itself) more democratic? The paper will explore the impact of Western know-how transfer on the Russian TV broadcasting in terms of increasing the diversity of available genres, decreasing the political control of the media, overcoming Russia's cultural isolation, and ultimately in democratizing the country. Matching the transformation of the Russian media system with the key events in international politics and in the development of the global information society, it will flash out the argument of the Russian scholars in international political sociology, international relations and media studies, namely that in a little over a decade the Russian media largely reproduced the trends that took the Western world several decades to develop. However, being institutionally and culturally embedded, political, economic and even technical know-how could not be simply copied and pasted into a different context, and the situation in the Russian media has remained highly controversial, relentlessly reflecting all the political, economic, and social problems that the country has faced. Russian researchers express concerns about authoritarian tendencies returning to Russia, the ambiguous role of the corporate media in the context of economic globalization, and the public service capacity of television in a deliberative democracy. The third part of the paper will discuss the prospects for the public service broadcasting (PSB) and its significance and legitimacy for being considered as one of the key foundations of democracy in international and global perspective. It argues that democracy is very much embedded into the nation state, while the media are rapidly transcending its borders. It will question whether a global public sphere or a marketplace of ideas is realistic, and if yes, whether it can be democratic. It will reveal the limitations and the drawbacks of placing hope into the resurrection of PSB by withdrawing into the realm of discussion groups, Internet sites, and other types of alternative small-scale media generated by the new technology. It will question whether such fragmentation of the media would facilitate their subordination to various groups pursuing their private interests, or whether it bears the germs of integration and solidarity that trespass national borders and become truly transnational. It will revisit the conceptual definition of democracy and the public sphere in application to the analysis of PSB and stress that public regulation, perhaps even more than the public form of ownership, is the key factor in preserving the ability of PSB to sustain democracy in a dynamically changing globalizing world.

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Rozanova, Julia. "The Role of the Media in the Dynamics of World Politics: Is Democratic Development Possible? (Reviewing the main Theoretical Contentions in International Communication Studies through the Prism of Transformations of the Russian Media System)" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii, Mar 05, 2005 <Not Available>. 2009-05-25 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p70245_index.html>

APA Citation:

Rozanova, J. , 2005-03-05 "The Role of the Media in the Dynamics of World Politics: Is Democratic Development Possible? (Reviewing the main Theoretical Contentions in International Communication Studies through the Prism of Transformations of the Russian Media System)" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-25 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p70245_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Great Power shifts occur because of the structural changes in the distribution of relative resources in the world. Information is the key resource of modern societies, and media corporations are one of the major and the most powerful actors in international politics. However, despite extensive research, the role of the media in national, and to a much greater extent, in international politics still remains a highly contested and ambiguous terrain. Do the media cause, facilitate or simply document the global shifts of power? Are the changes in the national media systems an instance of globalization and result from trends in the world politics? Are the media tools in struggles for global domination or the instrument of democracy? Perhaps, as some authors claim (Vedel 2001), the media are not connected to politics and are purely an industry? Or maybe the media play all these roles - and yet some other ones? What theoretical lenses should we wear to see the answers to these questions more clearly? My paper will argue that while the media may play an ambivalent role in the dynamics of global politics and power shifts, public service broadcasting is nevertheless a crucial attribute of democracy. Drawing on the results of a large empirical study of transformation of the Russian media system and using the US, British, French and Canadian media systems as benchmarks for comparison, I will review the main theoretical arguments regarding the future of public service broadcasting and its role in sustaining democracy in the emerging global information society. The first part will highlight the key point of contention regarding the connection between media and democracy in the international political communications and media studies. The idea of global information society and its attributes remaining a highly contested terrain, can democracy surpass national borders? Is public service broadcasting an exclusively national phenomenon, or can we possibly define its global equivalent? In case of the latter, what terms and points of reference should we use - those of a global public sphere, grounded in critical perspectives, or an international marketplace of ideas, coming from liberalism? What is the key property of public service broadcasting that ensures it really serves the interests of the public - organizational form and ownership, principles of regulation, mechanisms of funding, or quality of service? Can any supranational institution supersede the role of the states in developing the rules and regulatory guidelines for the media? The second part will present the results of the empirical study and ask three main questions to the qualitative data concerning the transformation of the media system in Russia. First, what reasons (political, economic, social, cultural) accounted for borrowing the Western experience? Second, using the US, the French, the British and the Canadian media systems as the points of reference, how close has the Russian media system come to match the predominant global trends? Third, has Russia succeeded in making its media system (and itself) more democratic? The paper will explore the impact of Western know-how transfer on the Russian TV broadcasting in terms of increasing the diversity of available genres, decreasing the political control of the media, overcoming Russia's cultural isolation, and ultimately in democratizing the country. Matching the transformation of the Russian media system with the key events in international politics and in the development of the global information society, it will flash out the argument of the Russian scholars in international political sociology, international relations and media studies, namely that in a little over a decade the Russian media largely reproduced the trends that took the Western world several decades to develop. However, being institutionally and culturally embedded, political, economic and even technical know-how could not be simply copied and pasted into a different context, and the situation in the Russian media has remained highly controversial, relentlessly reflecting all the political, economic, and social problems that the country has faced. Russian researchers express concerns about authoritarian tendencies returning to Russia, the ambiguous role of the corporate media in the context of economic globalization, and the public service capacity of television in a deliberative democracy. The third part of the paper will discuss the prospects for the public service broadcasting (PSB) and its significance and legitimacy for being considered as one of the key foundations of democracy in international and global perspective. It argues that democracy is very much embedded into the nation state, while the media are rapidly transcending its borders. It will question whether a global public sphere or a marketplace of ideas is realistic, and if yes, whether it can be democratic. It will reveal the limitations and the drawbacks of placing hope into the resurrection of PSB by withdrawing into the realm of discussion groups, Internet sites, and other types of alternative small-scale media generated by the new technology. It will question whether such fragmentation of the media would facilitate their subordination to various groups pursuing their private interests, or whether it bears the germs of integration and solidarity that trespass national borders and become truly transnational. It will revisit the conceptual definition of democracy and the public sphere in application to the analysis of PSB and stress that public regulation, perhaps even more than the public form of ownership, is the key factor in preserving the ability of PSB to sustain democracy in a dynamically changing globalizing world.

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Julia Rozanova DRAFT February 23 2005 Public Service Broadcasting as an Instrument of Democracy: Passť on Both Sides of the Atlantic? Julia Rozanova PhD student Sociology Department University of Alberta rozanova@ualberta.ca Introduction Great Power shifts occur because of the structural changes in the distribution of relative resources in the world. Information is the key resource of modern societies and media corporations are one of the major and the most powerful actors in international politics. However despite extensive research the
Government and Opposition 45(2): 315- 31. Young Iris (2000) Inclusion and Democracy. Oxford NY: Oxford University Press. Zasurski Yassen (2002) `Media and the Civil Society in Russia' pp. 11-27 in A. Chumikov Y. Zasurski A. Surin and Y. Krasin The Development of the Media as an Instrument of Democracy in Russia. Moscow: Moscow Lomonosov University Press. Zinchenko Vladimir (2002) `Three Stages in the Media History in New Russia: Media as Business' pp. 149 ≠71 in A. Chumikov Y. Zasurski


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