The Importance of Global Media Policies
Scholars and media activists, along with policy-makers, now all agree on the point that the attitude and the environment in which global communication and media policies are produced are experiencing some profound changes. Description and analysis of these changes pose a challenge that requires some gap-filling in the process of moving forward in the direction of the global media and communication policies (Raboy & Padovani, 2010, p. 150).
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According to Freedman (2008), media policies are “formal as well as informal strategies, underpinned by particular political and economic interests, that shape the emergence of mechanisms designed to structure the direction and the behavior in media environment” (p. 23).
Thus, the relevance of mechanisms that drive the policymaking process in the sphere of media and communication grows along with the development of media and communication as separate institutions. Analysis of policies is defined as a development of the bureaucratic organization and the role authorities play in the making of these policies. Furthermore, the notion of policy-making involves several sub-processes that extend through time and result in particular actions of allocating values.
The modern understanding of media and communication policies is directly linked to the phenomenon of the Internet that increases the amount, and the quality of misunderstandings and disputes about the way communication and media should be controlled (Mansell & Raboy, 2011, p. 9). The media and communication marketplace is shaped by organizations like the World Intellectual Property Organization that also receives critique for its policies on file sharing and file downloading. According to Iosifidis (2011), regulation of content that can be available to the general public is a crucial component of keeping the age of media stable (p. 217).
Furthermore, he underlines the assumption that the Internet poses a great challenge to the sphere of media and communication that have no respect for the individual right of privacy protection and material copyrighting.
The importance of global media policy as a research field lies in need to distinguish between the concepts of copyright, fair use, and content open to everyone. In the age where anyone can get access to copyrighted material and use it for a personal purpose, copyright remains a debated topic. The author’s “original work of authorship” should be recognized and regulated by global media policies accordingly (U.S. Copyright Office, 2012, p. 1). On the other hand, freedom of expression advocated by modern media should also be taken into account, providing particular communication and media policies on fair use of copyrighted material.
In my opinion, despite the fact that the global media policy is a highly debated topic, it should be included in the process of education for students of intercultural and global communication. Understanding policies that exist in the sphere of media will be beneficial in distinguishing between the policies that suppress the freedom of speech or encourage illegal file sharing (countries like Russia, China, India, and Brazil) and the policies that benefit the society and should be encouraged and promoted. In the end, the Internet will dictate its own unspoken policies on the communication, the only thing that can be done for the society recognizing that all information is important, and it should be regulated in such a manner that does not harm its integrity.
China Versus Hollywood
Su’s argument that China reinforces its ideas of authoritarianism despite being a key player in the sphere of global communication is hard to disagree with. By means of supporting Hollywood and the Western cinematic industry, thus acquiring resources for the development of the domestic film industry, the government is able to maintain its power and promote it on a country-wide scale (Su, 2014, p. 96).
According to media scholars Nancy Morris and Silvio Waisbord, there are dominant positions that appear among the media globalization and the nation-states. The first position is connected with the view that the globalization of media is one of the driving forces of democracy that has the potential to “bypass government control” (Waisbord & Morris, 2001, p. 10). The second position equates the globalization of media to capitalism, a force that slows down the projects of self-defense and self-determination.
China has its own policies concerning the ways it opens up to foreign global capital and markets, as well as the ways of maintaining the domination of state-owned media sources within the country itself (Suisheng, 2010, p. 420). Thus, through the means of analyzing the process of the Chinese film industry development, Su was able to show the empirical results of the policies on media introduced by the state. Her article “” has become a new dimension of exploring and studying media policies at the same time with eliminating any unsupported speculations about the consequences of those policies and the results of the Hollywood-China relationship (Su, 2014, p. 98).
The dominant principle which the state of China employs in its management of the imported Hollywood films is that all imports should be beneficial in serving the needs of the state and its national interests. Furthermore, every imported from Hollywood film should be used to achieve the country’s gains and goals. The initial strategy of the Chinese government was in strict censorship of foreign movies and the investment of acquired revenue from Hollywood products into the promotion of the domestic film industry.
The strategy of using so-called “Main Melody” films that compete with the Hollywood perpetuates the ideas of Western intolerance and authoritarianism, targeted at minimizing the influence of the foreign products (Su, 2014, p. 101). According to Gengnian (2001), between 1996 and 2000, the government offered more than six hundred million yuan to the state film studios (p. 26). This fact is directly correlated to the box office sales acquired from Hollywood movies; thus, every box office weekend of foreign films showing means the production of new domestic movies funded by the state of China.
In 2005, the Chinese government adopted a rule that the Chinese investors of Western films should own at least fifty-one percent of the shared revenue or be the leader in the joint venture. This rule led to Warner Bros. International Cinemas to stop cooperation with China in 2006, an action that was described by the Chinese institutions like the one that “shows the vulnerability of foreign media and entertainment companies to the country’s policy changes” (Bloomberg, 2006, para. 4).
Thus, the thought that the Chinese government tries to suppress the influence of the Western film industry and Hollywood, in particular, is supported by factual evidence. Such intolerance to foreign ideas and images perpetuates the country’s ideas of totalitarian policies that limit the freedom of media and communication.
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Bloomberg. (2006). Time Warner to Quit China Cine business. Web.
Freedman, D. (2008). Theorizing Media Policy. Web.
Gengnian, W. (2001). Frequent Raining Brings Spring, Warm Breeze Brings Dense Forests – My Impressions of China’s Film in the 1990s. Chinese Film Yearbook, 10(1), 21-27.
Iosifidis, P. (2011). Global Media and Communication Policy. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Mansell, R., & Raboy, M. (2011). The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Raboy, M., & Padovani, C. (2010). Mapping Global Media Policy: Concepts, Frameworks, Methods. Communication, Culture & Critique, 3(1), 150-169.
Su, W. (2014). Cultural Policy and Film Industry as Negotiation of Power: the Chinese State’s Role and Strategies in its Engagement with Global Hollywood. Pacific Affairs, 87(1), 93-114.
Suisheng, Z. (2010). The China Model: Can It Replace the Western Model of Modernization? Journal of Contemporary China, 19 (45), 419-436.
U.S. Copyright Office. (2012). Copyright Basics. Web.
Waisbord, S., & Morris, N. (2001). Media and Globalization: Why the State Matters. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.