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Archive for March, 2010

CCTV is the largest television station in China; however in last year, there was a big issue that brought it the bad reputation and low trust from public.

In June 22,2009, CCTV reported that Google’s search engine was responsible for the spread of large amounts of vulgar, lewd and pornographic content, resulting in serious violations of China’s laws and regulations. And in the news, the CCTV journalist found three interviewees to express their views toward Google. One of the interviewee, Kao Yie, said like this,” my friend used to search some porn from the Internet and be seriously addicted to it. He told me that Google is the best search engine for this kind of erotic stuff, because it has great amount of pornography in the searching system and it’s easy to use! I really think that Google should not spread those obscene images anymore!”

After this news was reported, the government halted key features of the world’s most popular search engine after claiming Google China’s services, such as Google Suggest and Google Translate, helped Web users get easier access to pornography.

However, this action caused the big reaction among audiences. Many audiences said that CCTV is using this way to against Google deliberately. Moreover, it was later revealed through vigorous public searching that the interviewee Kao Yie is one of the workers in CCTV. Few days later, Kao Yie also admitted that he were simply told what to say by the journalist.

But what is the reason for CCTV to make this fake news and attack Google on purpose?

People believe that the recent fuss over search engine Google as a concerted effort between the Chinese government and CCTV to pomote new laws requiring “Green Dam-Youth Escort”, a content filtering program to be installed on all personal computers from July 1 out of security and privacy concerns.

“It seems like the government attempted to justify  Green Dam by emphasizing the existence of distasteful content on the Internet that they “have to” control,” said Rebecca McKinnon, an assistant professor of journalism and media studies at the University of Hong Kong.

“It’s odd that they’re singling out Google so specifically,” she told Bloomberg News.

Green Dam:"This information is harmful, will be screened out!"

In order to help government implement the new policy, CCTV used it’s power to manipulate the news. They try to convince audience to look Google as the way they want, and spread this bias to  the public.

This case confirmed what Harold Innis said about “monopoly of knowledge”.  Those who control knowledge through the dominant media of a given society also control reality; they are in a position to define what knowledge is true and what information is wrong.

The combination of media and an entity with political or otherwise ulterior motives can easily become the source of bias and distorted truth in the news. An example of this would be the cooperative relationship between CCTV and the Chinese government.

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   We can find another example of the propaganda by the media in North Korea. All the media in North Korea is being controlled by the government and the main party, Workers’ Party of Korea. It means that it’s impossible for them to make the news against the government. The media usually focus on the admiration of their president, Kim Jung-il, the excellence of their political system and the hostility against the States.

admiration of Kim Jung-il

     Because of this closed media system, even though North Korea have a hard time with economy and the relationship with other country, they can still maintain their political system with few resistance.

    Actually, many North Korean people believe the media is reality itself since they don’t have an opportunity to get other media having different perspectives. Therefore, one might say if the media system was not governed and more open than now, the status of North Korea would be totally changed.

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    Historically, the old media has been used to make certain biased ideas. Let me give you an example. 

   During the Second World War period, there were two people who used the media as a very effective tool to help Adolf Hitler exercise the power for a long time in Germany. They successfully persuade German people to support the aggressive war and the annihilation of civilian populations.

    One person was Paul Joseph Goebbels, who was one of Adolf Hitler’s closest assistant and most devout followers, also known for his powerful oratory. As a propaganda minister, he spread the radio to all the German public for free to deliver his propaganda message successfully.

second world war, the family tuning in to hear the news on the radio.

 Also he used very sophisticated techniques of the modern propaganda. He believed that a lie, if repeated enough times, will be believed by the masses, and actually it worked.

       The other person was the woman called Leni Riefenstahl. She was a German film director, actress and dancer, but widely regarded as an aesthetical and innovational film maker.

Leni Riefenstahl

Her most famous film was ‘Triumph of the Will’ and a propaganda film made at the 1934 Nuremberg congress of the Nazi Party.

After her death the Associated Press described Riefenstahl as an “acclaimed pioneer of film and photographic techniques”, but it is quiet obvious that her films contributed to making a good image of Hitler and the Nazi by using some techniques.

Triumph od the Will

By those two people, the media in Germany at that time was used as a very effective tool to stereotype some ideas in people’s mind. And indeed, German people were manipulated by those persuasive and biased media.

      No doubt, media has had a great impact on the way people believe, think and behave. Especially, traditional media such as television, radio and newspaper have been a main channel that influenced people’s idea or even their belief.

     In the next article, I’m going to post another example of the propoganda bt the media.

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    As we talked to proffesor about our project this week, Naru and I decided to make some modifications about our topic. Now, instead of  making research about the stereotype which is only caused by the Internet, we prefer to put more  forcus on the discussion about the following question. “Camparing to televison or newspaper system, why the Internet has less stereotype or bias in it?”

      First of all, we need to understand where are those stereotypes come from among the media system, and how are they formed in the broadcasting procedure.  For example, in the news agency or the television system, they both has a gatekeeper to censor all the content which is going to be aired. Because of  this process, the presentation could be biased and some facts or stories could be covered due to different reasons and factors, such as the political forces, private interests of the minority elite, ownership of the news souce, loyalty to few sponsors rather than to the public interests and so on. That’s why we always can see one news be reported differently from one newspaper to another, and be varied from one country to another. Each corporation or country has their own perspective and restriction, therefore, the information will be presented in the way  that conformed to their strandards and the way that is most beneficial to their position or to the country.

     Internet, however, is different  to the other media systems. It has no gatekeeper or ownership on it, which can let everyone has the equal freedom to express thier opinions  in the internet platform. We can’t say that therefore there’s no more bias on it, but we can say that there could be less possibility of covering or distorting the truth out of the forceful commands and restrictions.

  The following is some additional explanation about media bias, which is quoted from Wikipedia.

     Media bias refers to the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media, in the selection of which events and stories are reported and how they are covered. The term “media bias” usually implies a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the perspective of an individual journalist or article. The direction and degree of media bias in various countries is widely disputed.

     Practical limitations to media neutrality include the inability of journalists to report all available stories and facts, and the requirement that selected facts be linked into a coherent narrative (Newton 1989). Since it is impossible to report everything, some selectivity is inevitable. Government influence, including overt and covert censorship, biases the media in some countries. Market forces that can result in a biased presentation include the ownership of the news source, concentration of media ownership, the selection of staff, the preferences of an intended audience, pressure from advertisers, or reduced funding due to lower ratings or governmental funding cuts. Political affiliations arise from ideological positions of media owners and journalists. The space or air time available for reports, as well as deadlines needing to be met, can lead to incomplete and apparently biased stories.

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