Login | Register

“The New World Information and Communications Order”: Revisiting an International Debate over News Media in the Context of Ascending Neoliberalism

Title:

“The New World Information and Communications Order”: Revisiting an International Debate over News Media in the Context of Ascending Neoliberalism

Schmitt, Ryan (2018) “The New World Information and Communications Order”: Revisiting an International Debate over News Media in the Context of Ascending Neoliberalism. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

[img]
Preview
Text (application/pdf)
Schmitt_MA_F2018.pdf.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Spectrum Terms of Access.
1MB

Abstract

This thesis investigates a debate that took place from 1975-1985, largely within the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), over the international flow of information and news media. This work looks closely at two key phases in the confrontation. The first, taking place from 1975-1980, can be characterized as the rise, and early success, of a Third World movement to create a more equitable flow of information on the global stage. This moment witnessed the successful attempt by nations of the Third World to both politically problematize the imbalanced flow of information, while at the same time to bolster practical and technical avenues of communication. Unesco, under the helm of Director-General Amadou M’Bow, was central in coordinating, funding and lending moral support, both to technical and normative transformations. In this first phase, the Western bloc responded to the Global South with a “Marshall Plan” approach. This plan was characterized by passive negotiation, attempting to delay the more radical Third World voices in the realm of information and media by placating moderate critics; this was enacted by offering a decidedly non-political material transfer of funds, technology and manpower.
The second phase of this debate, beginning in 1981, showcases how the Western bloc warded off significant transformations in the realm of information and communication through a successful campaign against the “inappropriately politicized” Global South. Unesco quickly became the main target of opprobrium. The election of Ronald Reagan marked a turning point from American accommodation and engagement to outright hostility and disengagement. The Reagan administration began to pursue legislation and international declarations to coordinate resistance to the normative critiques emanating from the Third World. As this show of force failed to alter the course of Unesco and the Third World, Reagan vowed to withdraw from the agency. The United States officially withdrew its membership on January 1, 1985.
In the end, Unesco found itself hamstrung by the precipitous reduction of funding and legitimacy that came with the shocking news of withdrawal. Although the United States was willing to aid and fund the development of media technology and institutions throughout the world - notably through NGOs such as the World Press Freedom Committee and Freedom House - the debate over the “politics” of information was effectively precluded as the neoliberal consensus of “information as commodity” became universally accepted.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Schmitt, Ryan
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:History
Date:24 October 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Ivaska, Andrew
ID Code:984634
Deposited By: Ryan Schmitt
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 17:10
Last Modified:16 Nov 2018 17:10
All items in Spectrum are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved. The use of items is governed by Spectrum's terms of access.

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Downloads per month over past year

Back to top Back to top