‘Global media threatening local culture’


Agra : Social activists and media critics Wednesday expressed concern over the growing threat from global media to local traditional cultures in developing countries during a conference held here to mark the 62nd foundation day of the United Nations.

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Director of the Central Hindi Institute, Shambhu Nath Gautam, said global media has transformed societies into markets.

“Invasion from the skies through satellite channels and the internet are real threats that need to be addressed if the individuality and distinguishing features of many societies have to be saved,” Gautam said.

Jitendra Raghvanshi, national secretary of the leftist outfit Indian People’s theatre Association (IPTA), said: “In reality, globalisation means Americanisation. Global media’s tentacles have affected creativity and are turning the whole world into one big consumer society.”

Media critic Mahesh Dhakar said India is witnessing two contradictory tendencies – globalisation and localization.

“Interest in local affairs and local news from the grass roots has increased sharply over years. We now have local editions of newspapers and local cable networks and FM stations keeping us posted with the latest developments at the local level.

“At the same time, our interest in global affairs has also increased. We are not isolated but are part of the global community. Increased mobility has led to intensive interactions, exchanges, participation and involvement of all sections of the society,” he said.

Speakers said new problems beg solutions particularly as powerful transnational corporations have taken over regional and national media groups.

Some delegates felt that national boundaries are breaking down as communication through the waves via satellites and this is undermining national interests and is a threat to local cultures.

However, others said the global media was also helping bring about a greater degree of transparency and speedy diffusion of information, which was helping in address the problems of illiteracy and social backwardness.

“Global media has helped raise general awareness level, sensitivity, inclusiveness of outlook, increase in the growth potential of the peoples all over the world, growth of a soft economy based on knowledge power, a greater awareness about human rights and democratic values,” said Megh Singh Yadav, a social activist.

Human rights activist Netra Pal Singh said: “Global media acts as an insurance against authoritarian tendencies, dictatorial and ideological aberrations. It is no longer possible for individual societies or nations to conceal lapses and disasters or corrupt practices. The global media is a reality and to this extent the process of the emergence of a new international human order is no longer a dream.”