A. & Zhao, Yuezhi (eds.), 2005. Democratizing Global Media: One World,
Many Struggles. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.
Media: One World, Many Struggles is a collection of essays addressing
the processes of media globalization and media democratization. The book
is a result of three years long research, which included more than one
hundred participants, who met in Oxford, Vancouver and Budapest between
2002 and 2004. This extensive research was initiated by Toda Institute
for Global Peace and Police Research and its director, Prof. Majid Tehranian.
Finally, a demanding task of collecting, organizing, supervising and preparing
this book for publishing was assigned to two distinguished scholars, Prof.
Robert A. Hackett and Prof. Yuezhi Zhao from Simon Fraser University in
Vancouver, Canada. Having been involved in the emerging movement of media
democratization for the last couple of years, both Hackett and Zhao executed
their roles of the project's coordinators with an utmost understanding
of the topic and obvious determination to present its multifaceted nature
not only to media experts, but also to potential media activists and even
the general public.
Before presenting the book's main topics and ideas, it needs to be pointed
out that Prof. Hackett's area of expertise matches the topic in its entirety
because of his special involvement in the democratization of the North
American media. On the other hand, the academic interest of Prof. Zhao
is directed to the global political economy of the media with her particular
research into the media development of the fastest growing world economy
- her native China. As the editors openly suggest in the introductory
essay, the subtitle One World, Many Struggles is a direct reference
to the final document of the "first wave of media democratization"
- Mac Bride's famous report, One World, Many Voices. This document
sublimed an effort of Third World countries in the1980s to create a more
equal global communication system formulated in the demand for the New
World Information and Communication Order. It is noticeable that in the
title of Hackett & Zhao's book, Democratizing Global Media,
the word democratizing has a dual meaning. If taken as an adjective,
it outlines the democratic potential of the global media, but, taken as
a verb, it implies a necessity to make the global media more democratic.
Indeed, the necessity for a global media reform motivated the book's editors/contributors
firstly, to draw the issues and challenges of the rapid development of
the "market driven communication system on a global scale" (Hackett
& Zhao in Ch. 1, Hafez in Ch. 7, O Siochru in Ch. 10, Hackett &
McChesney in Ch. 11), and secondly, to offer some kind of theoretical
and practical framework for building of the global media democratization
movement (Hackett & Zhao in Ch.1, Hackett & McChesney in Ch. 11,
O Siochru in Ch.14). In addition to these fundamental discussions, strong
impacts of the media globalizations are audited on the national level.
the first section of the book addresses the examples of Eastern Europe's
(Sparks), China's (Zhao), India's (Thomas), Latin America's (Protzel)
and Africa's (Aginam) economic integration into the global neo-liberal
"paradise". As Hackett points out, in the field of media, this
"paradise" is built on four pillars of the market-liberal faith:
concentration, conglomeration, convergence and commercialism (p. 225).
Undoubtedly, these four Cs have defined the recent development of global
media undermining the individual states' control/organization of their
own national media systems.
In the second section of the book Democratizing Global Media: One World,
Many Struggles, special attention is directed to the media dealing
with two conflict sites and war-torn areas: Israel (Shinar) and Iraq (Oberg).
Perspectives of replacing the CNN's propaganda model of media and the
practice of "patriotic journalism" (aggressively implemented
in the post- 9/11 world), with more responsible/accountable media and
"peace journalism" are outlined in the third section of the
book (Lynch & Mc Goldrick). In addition, one piece of this section
(Srebreny) offers some insights into women's representation in the global
media and the potentials of women's alternative networks.
In terms of developing potential for future success of media democratization
activism on a global scale the most valuable chapter of the book is definitely
Hackett & Zhao's introductory analysis of major issues, challenges
and paradoxes of the media globalization/media democratization processes
and their impact on the world political economy. As Hamelink (1995) suggests,
"media democratization was commonly separated from the societal democratization"(Cited
on p. 2), so the editors of the book have undertaken an effort to critically
connect these two areas. By outlining six major dimensions of the actual
media globalization: the dominance of transnational media corporations,
the commercial model of media, the domination of Western-based TMCs, globalization
of media effects, Western style media regulation and "globalization
form below" (pp. 6-9) Hackett & Zhao clearly identify five potential
targets and one strategy of the global media democratization movements.
As the main agents of the movement these two critical media scholars and
other contributors to the book Democratizing Global Media: One World,
Many Struggles consider the following: global/national civil society
organizations/coalitions, transnational NGOs dedicated to the genuine
democratic development and existing anti-globalization movements. These
social agents can be placed in the centre of the struggle for global media
reform, which should be generated by four major fields of action: building
independent media, finding openings for progressive messages in corporate
media, media education and building coalitions for media reform (Hackett,
Both Eastern European "negotiated revolutions" based on the
wide coalition of civil society movements in 1989 and the cooperation
between the indigenous Zapatista movement in Mexico and international
anti-globalization movement in mid-1990s are examples of a successful
media strategy in the process of political democratization. In the former
communist countries of Eastern Europe, the key media factor in the political
movements' actions were TV broadcastings (Romanian revolution, falling
of the Berlin Wall), while in the case of Zapatista struggle it was the
building of international support through the Internet. Certainly, these
cases demonstrate that media could play an important role in societal
In conclusion, the book Democratizing Global Media: One World, Many
Struggles is sending us a clear message that the time to reconsider
global media development has come. In the interview exclusively conducted
for the book, Robert McChesney accurately observes that U.S. media "has
been instituted without public debate" (p. 226). Consequently, big
media corporations, being products of that system, dominate the global
communication today and complete McLuhan's prophecy of "the global
village". Democratizing Global Media: One World, Many Struggles
helps us to hear the "village's" church bell, which tolls for
all of us who believe that advertising should not be the main content
of the media.
This review is dedicated to a memory of the assassinated Serbian Prime
Minister, Dr. Zoran Djindjic, who was University of Konstanz's PhD graduate.
His brilliance serves and always will as a lighthouse for all of us who
are committed to bring democracy to Serbia.