Reflection on Communication Governance and Accountability

I didn’t have a chance to finish all the readings for this week, but I thought one idea that the author Odugbemi mentioned in Governance Reform was very interesting and provoking. In this book, he mentioned that public opinion being a key component of good governance and accountability, in which he further define the term “good governance” as “an excellent definition of the term in a development context is offered by the white paper published by the U.K Department for International Development (2006), the U.K government’s development ministry, titled Eliminating World Poverty: Making Governance Work for the Poor.” (Odugbemi, p.16) However, at this point, it makes me to realize that public opinion is not the only factor that matters, something more crucially to be fixed in most of the developing countries, especially in bureaucratic countries, is how the public opinion could be heard, and how the people oversees could respond to the public voice.

Later in this book, when talking about the democracy, the author indicates that “the democratic sphere is a force for capable, responsive, and accountable government, and it is a permanent, self-acting force. Second, it is a structural fundamental for any governance system keen on promoting accountability on a permanent basis. The only opponents of democratic public spheres are dictators and authoritarian regimes.” (Odugbemi, p.31) This I believe could be further discussed how do we define an “authoritarian regimes”, since from real time example, there were so many external factors may influence the ideology of democracy, social, racial, historical, political background could extremely influence the democratic process to the largest extent.

In Accountability Through Public Opinion, one question I was keep thinking was how do we make our government media more accountable?


In China in Africa, the workshop participants provoked the possible example that a nation’s soft power could affect overseas. China’s “non-ideological” no-strings-attached approach actually attached the strings of most of the African country needs, which being perceived as an opportunity to challenge some of the consumptions and prescriptions that have guided media development. Instead of “media assistance”, both China and African countries are preferring to use exchange and corporate to define their media activities. Therefore, the impact of media soft power can be positive in the ways of a globalized point of view, however; also detrimental to the local culture as well as western influence. Exactly as we discussed in class, as Nye indicates that soft power is “the ability to affect others through the co-optivemeans of framing the agenda, persuading, and eliciting positive attraction in order to obtain preferred outcomes.”, promoted China’s soft power both domestically and globally.

In Informatization-Dramatization: Communicating Health in East Asian Television Dramas, I found the role of media as an educational tool to be very insightful, which “aimed at cultivating what are deemed informed, socially responsible, sensitive ways of living healthily. Protagonists—no longer only lovers and heroes/heroines—become patients, medical professionals, caregivers, and educators as screen portrayals of health and illness grow to encompass not only dramatic critical life-and-death situations but also more ordinary physical and social challenges.”, as the author described. Apparently the audience’s role becomes more complex in switching from the perceiver to the conductor.

My question for this reading would be: Could drama be seen as another platform of soft power?


Public Diplomacy and Soft Power

  • In Nye’s article Public Diplomacy and Soft Power, one thing I felt to be very interesting was he mentioned the three dimensions of public diplomacy in today’s international society. The first one is daily communication, which “involves explaining the context of domestic and foreign policy decisions”(Nye, p. 102), while the second one dimension pointed out that the power of strategic communication, which develops central themes and ideologies as political and advertising campaign does. The third dimension discussed the crucial role of relationship building within key individuals. However, he continues stating that the “public diplomacy is an instrument that governments use to mobilize [the resources that produce soft power] to communicate with and attract the publics of other countries, rather than merely their governments”. (Nye, p. 95), which I believe not necessarily true since these three dimensions could also apply to the development of propaganda, while domestically influence the national culture and political appearance to its citizens
  • In Fast Diplomacy, Andreas Sandre pointed out the idea that how the fast diplomacy can be detrimental to a nation’s public diplomacy, which limits the time to consider and communicate with all the possible outcomes. Also, as he mentioned, “because social media exponentially multiplies a message and its reach, mistakes often occur in sudden and unexpected fashion” (Sandre). Therefore, to my point of view, adequate regulation and surveillance is necessarily needed, since social media cites still monitored by people, it’s extremely hard to express a nation’s voice in such a short time.
  • In Global Interconnectivity, Sandre again noted that a good public diplomacy depends on communications, which means not only expressing your culture and ideology, but also consume other countries views and concerns. That’s how interconnectivity formed, however, since half of the world press currently wither still hold the position of western view or in their own bureaucracy, it’s far from easy to make the “public diplomacy interconnectivity” to be practical.

Week 10 Reflection on Convergence Culture

  • In Deuze’s Convergence Culture in the Creative Industry, he specifically pointed out the important role of convergence culture in today’s media industry, which “serves both as a mechanism to increase revenue and further the agenda of industry, while at the same time enabling people – in terms of their identities as producers and consumers, professional as well as amateurs.” (Deuze, p. 247) This notion has been widely examined in today’s media, especially new media platform like Twitter, which allow each of us act differently as producer and perceiver of the information. Exactly as he mentioned after the case study of Bluffton Today, “cultural convergence indeed instills increased levels of transparency in the media system, where producers and consumers of content can “see” each other at work, as they both play each other’s roles”. (Deuze, p. 251)
  • In addition, Deuze also mentioned the idea of “gatekeeper” in his article, “monitoring rather than reporting news, managing rather than filtering information.” (Deuze, p.247), which reminds me think about the idea of “switcher” Castells brought up in his book Communication Power, to what extent they are similar in functioning as the connector in information flow? At the same time, what element makes them to the position as the “gatekeeper” or “switcher”? How did the political power to influence the role of “gatekeeper”?
  • In the article of the Nollywood, author argues that differentiating between media industries based on geographic designations is “inherently murky and will begin to lose meaning the deeper one investigates ownership and investment networks” (Miller, P. 120), also the economic and institutional structures producing media are the best way in which we can classify them as the part of dominant global cultural industry network. Certainly Nollywood succeeds in filling a niche market, it provides sub-Saharan Africa as a vision of global culture, portrayed their culture and identity in their own way, as a way of promotion/public diplomacy.

Week 9 Reflection

  • This week’s reading is remarkably interesting to me especially the discussion Bollier made in terms of “soft power” and “hard power”. In his discussion, he claimed that ”nation-states still retain ample supplies of coercive ‘hard power’, which remains important and often decisive in international politics.” (Bollier, p. 3) However, “the development of military might and economic leverage is being complicated by the ‘soft power’ of reputation, credibility, and values, which indicates the monitoring of “soft power” and “hard power” became extremely important in today’s society. At this point, I am starting to think how individual, global institutions like the UN, and country like the U.S functioning in term of control certain power, since many global issues such as Syria problem indicates UN as the role of switcher maintaining power from the U.S. Another point also interests me in terms of how the Internet plays the role as the coordinator between those big powers.
  •  Another point Kalathil discussed about the shift of public diplomacy as well as the power shift also remarkable since our world is changing as how to name the target audience and measure success of public diplomacy efforts. He demonstrated the importance of integrating new technologies and network principles in public diplomacy strategy in order to amplify the message, such as China’s use of soft power to advance its economic interests. Here’s a clip I found to be very insightful in terms of China and its soft power.

Week 8 Presentation Questions

Hi Everyone,  My group is presenting this week on the theme of  “Internet, Media and Power: Infrastructure, Stakeholders, and Governance”. Here are a few questions we generated regarding to the topic.

  • What would differentiate a controlled media and an uncontrolled media? And is the media in the U.S controlled?
  • How do global activists successfully relay and promote their messages in communication networks against the established power-making influences?
  • Some scholars claim that the Internet provides an open forum for free speech, while others argue that the Internet is dominated by elite groups. What role do activists play in this environment?
  • How might activists use the Internet to overcome nation-based constraints such as the ones mentioned in the reading (e.g. surveillance, lack of access or time) and reach global audiences? Can you think of an example?

Week 7 Reflection on Global Media

  • This week’s article The Structure and Dynamics of Global Multi-Media Business Networks presented some intriguing points, especially when the two authors pointed out that “‘global media’ organizations are not truly global, as local media organization are not truly local.” (Arsenault & Castells, 2008) At this point, Murdoch and his NewCorp. can be seen as an obvious example. When NewsCorp. saw a great success on private satellite in British and the U.S, lately he was trying to use the same strategy to open the Asian market; however, the Chinese government actually banned the usage of private satellite soon after Rupert Murdoch finish his acquisition with the Star TV, a Hong Kong based media network in 2003. Apparently, western strategy failed to become a global strategy, at least not in this case, at the same time, the Star TV has no choice but become more local-oriented, in order to survive within such a competitive media market.
  • Another point to be very interesting was the two authors pointed out the “media network do not exist in a vacuum”, (Arsenault & Castells, 2008) in which their success is conditional on their ability to successfully leverage connections with other critical networks: in finance, technology, cultural industries, social networks and politics. Many media tycoon can not survive especially without lobbying and political activities, as Rupert Murdoch and his media empire privately urged the government to ‘dismantle’ the television license fee that supports the BBC in last year, also his political money trail as he and his company NewsCorp. have spent “nearly $50 million in American through well-heeled lobbyists, seven-figure political donations, and large charitable contributions to key nonprofit groups” in the past decade. (Colarusso, 2011)
  • In Switching Power: Rupert Murdoch and the Global Business of Media Politics: A Sociological Analysis, the two author mentioned the idea that media power has been conceptualized as a “switcher”, in which connects political economic and media networks together by programming common goals and resources. However, I would agree the most of the part, but the truth is in today’s society, there’s still a great tendency that the media relies on the government operation, not facilitate as a neutrally as a “switcher”, especially government-controlled media like CCTV, still got long way to get there.