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CCTV and Google

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.

    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.

Media Bias

    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.

According to the Collins Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary, which I usually refer to, a stereotype means ‘a fixed general image or set of characteristics that a lot of people believe represent a particular type of person or thing.’ Not only this dictionary, but there are many wordbooks that define the stereotype as a ‘fixed’ conception or image. It is true that a stereotype is the concept that socially fixed in a certain way, and people live based on this social norm.  Becasue of this fixed stereotype, they can process tons of information everyday and make a decision without long hesitation.

However, at the same time we can say that  a steroetype is not fixed. It means that it can change. Even though it looks very confirmed and long-established, it might change as time goes or by ‘certain’ people in that society(Especially the changes by some people have a lot of issues that we can talk about. I will deal with this topic later in this blog). Of course, the change of it is not visual because it happens very slowly. For example, the stereotype that all the Asian people are good at math can change, but it’s not going to happen very quickly becuase stereotypes have been formed in their mind for a long time. It takes a time to be changed.

Here is one interesting example about it. Traditionally and internationally, a cigarette has been just for man. The woman who smokes have been considered as a ‘bad’ woman(even sometimes as a ‘whore’ or a ‘slut’). So, we can say that was a kind of gender stereotypes at that time. But, in 1967, Philip Morris decided to sell the cigarette to the women, and they made the advertising targetting women.

The thing is that they tried to make woman think that cigarette is a symbol of the woman’s right against man, and it worked very well. They totally changed the concept of smoking by woman. Maybe there are still some people who think about woman’s smoking very badly, but it’s true that it’s not like the past any more.

Here is my point about our project and this example. As I mentioned above, we need to focus more on the changes of the stereotype by ‘certain‘ people. In that case, we can say that ceratin people is the cigarette company, Philip Morris. Why did they put those kind of sentence – You’ve come a long way, baby – in their advertising? Was that because they REALLY worried about the woman’s right in the perspective of feminism? No. I don’t think so. They were doing that just because of ‘their interest’ not for ‘everyone’s interest’.

This concept is also related to ‘Hegemony‘ by Antonio Gramsci, who was an Italian philosopher, politician and political theorist. In next post, I will talk about this idea on a full scale, and also the role of the Internet against the ‘certain’ people who decide debate in the public sphere. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be interesting topic.

Thanks 🙂

Stereotype in Media

   In the article “stereotype in media”, Lily Gataullina said that media has become another althusserian ideological apparatus that control the mind of masses. Here I quote one paragraph as following.

Mass media became on of the main sources of popular culture in modern capitalist society. Media, however, not only entertains and offers news to people, but also transfers the stereotypes, beliefs and values of the society to reproduce the existing order of social life. Louis Althusser in his theory of ideological state apparatuses, says that schools, families, religions play the role of the ideological state apparatuses. These institutions invisibly transfer and indoctrinate the dominant hegemonic ideology of the society into the minds of people in order to be able to control people. In the modern capitalist world, I would argue, media turned to be yet another althusserian ideological apparatus that control the mind of masses.

    In fact, we can easily find plentys of examples about this arguement. For instance, in many movies we saw that males are usually the boss who dominant females, black people are always the poor who live in a dirty place, all women are desperate to get married, and all Muslim who wears turban are danger. These scenario might all be familiar to everyone, and they could have already been a stereotype in our mind. 

all women are desperate to get married ?

  However  we can not simply blame media system for providing such biased content, the audience has the great responsibility for judging and selecting the right information about what they seen or what they recieved. Moreover, media stereotype are inevitable, such as movies, advertising, news and entertainment, they all need to gain as much attraction or attention from audience as possible. And by using those stereotype in contents, it will be easier and quicker for the audience to understand and absorb those informations.  We do stereotype as a way of making sense of our surroundings, it allows us to understand a complex thing with a minimum of effort. But as I mentioned before, we still need use our own value and knowledge to process those informations when recieving them from the media system.

Nowadays, I’m watching the American sitcom, ‘Friends’ which have been loved by many people all around the world. The episode that I watched today was about the ‘male nanny’. Ross and Racheal interviewed people to hire a nanny for their daughter, Emma. Then, the ‘guy’ named ‘Sandy’ knocked their door and came in to apply for the nanny. Rachel really liked that ‘sensitive’ guy as a nanny for Emma, but Ross didn’t like him because he thought it’s weird. However, at the end of the episode, Ross found that Sandy is the best nanny ever.

Look at the picture left (Children’s Museum Gender Stereotyping Game – Rancho Mirage, California). It’s very interesting. We see those two signals – Men and Women – in front of the public washroom almost every day. We just pass them without any interest, but whenever we  see them and pass it, certain gender stereotypes are formed in our mind automatically. The fourteen icons under the Men and Women signals are impling some professional jobs. The thing is that the only one gender represents the certain job. For example, firefighters, engineers and athletes are just for men. On the other hand, ballet dancer is for women.  In the website where I found this picture (http://www.wandco.com/projects/other_projects/CMD2.php), they are saying, “Are firefighters always men? Can golfers wearing pants be women? These magnetic bathroom sign symbols allow children to explore gender stereotypes in a playful way.”

Making these gender stereotypes and delivering thse ideas are very easy, and so they are very dangerous. Of course, there are lots of factors that have an influence on it, but the problem is that the Internet can show these gender stereotypes to people repeatedly and make it as a firm ‘fact‘ socially. These stereotypes can be delivered in several ways, such as some cartoons, music, or video clips. Think about the great influences of the ‘YouTube’ to the modern people and society. I believe it makes you understand those things much easily.

Lastly, I want to post one interesting article about Gender stereotypes. It explains why we want to meet gender expectation in the society. According to Nadya Avsievich, we have to follow certain ‘rules’ about gender role and if we don’t it could be ‘critical’. (http://www.vitryssland.nu/gender.html)

“Gender stereotypes, family and school”

 So why do we want to meet gender requirements and norms, why is it necessary for us to justify gender expectations? Speech by Nadya Avsievich on the International Seminar about gender stereotypes in Pinsk, Belarus, in November 2001.
The combination of informational pressure

So why do we want to meet gender requirements and norms, why is it necessary for us to justify gender expectations?
1. We get under normative pressure. We have to follow certain rules and justify the society’s expectations, not to be rejected by it. In some societies the refusal to follow gender norms can be very cruel.
2. We also experience informational pressure. Learning more about the world and ourselves, thinking what position to take we usually are guided by information giving to us by the others, but not by our own experience.
Thus before deciding what is right and what is wrong we try to find out what is right to other people’s mind. We consider that we behave in a right way until we behave the same way as the others.
The strong influence of gender norms on our behavior can be explained by the combination of informational pressure and normative pressure.
On the one hand social norms (stereotypes) simplify our life and reduce the number of apprehension processes. In our childhood we discover it and learn to follow them without thinking.
But on the other hand gender stereotypes limit the development of a human personality and lead to social inequality.
I would like to speak more about the stereotypes imposed on men in our society.
Men suffer of gender stereotypes, which require men’s social value to be measured by the amount of money they earn and their high position at work. This prevents men from being active in family sphere, taking care of children and household.
Stereotypes create machismo cult, push men to reckless, risky, aggressive actions in order to demonstrate their masculinity (“just send everybody and everything to hell and go ahead”).
Men are expected to be competent in all spheres. They regard it to be inconceivable if someone knows more or if someone thinks they behave in a wrong way.
Men are not allowed to show their feelings in public as well as to discuss thing concerning emotional sphere. This causes stresses and nervous breakdowns.
What can we do in order to make our society gender equal? What kind of role can people play in stereotype breaking?
People are not robots, programmed by the society. If they wish they can become rebels and change the social structure and introduce new models.
The ideas of minority can influence the majority’s mode of thinking.
When we look at people trying to get what is socially acceptable – people look at us! It means, that we can influence the changes much more than it seems to us. If we believe in gender equality, we should tell people around us about it. Of course this will influence other people’s mode of thinking (others are potentially ready to agree with us).
Also we should support people, organizations and parties, which stand for gender equality and make efforts to change gender stereotypes.

 
 

 

Reportage about the seminar in russian language:
www.racyja.pl/2001/Nov/2511kr3.htm