As international media companies expand across the world, the growing popularity and uniformity of some media programs (such as TV shows, movies, fashion shows) is causing worldwide concern. Many people have strong views toward this trend. In my opinion, international media is closely linked to cultural globalisation and cultural homogeneity.
The dominance of international media is a sign of Western cultural imperialism and has the potential to thwart cultural diversity. It is not a secret that international media is owned and operated by a handful of giant corporations, such as Time Warner. They control large sectors of the media market and place national media companies at risk. The contraction in the number of media owners will cause a proportional reduction in the variety of programs broadcasted. For example, painting, music and movies accessible in the media have a small number of genres, imposing restraints on one’s knowledge of art works of different cultural backgrounds.
In addition to seizing control over those creative industries, global entertainment companies affect cultural diversity by reshaping the perceptions, beliefs and norms of ordinary citizens in different countries. Most of the cultural values and ideals promoted by the leading mainstream media are of American origin. American cultural values individuality, maximisation of one’s benefits and material wealth, rather than communal life and family solidarity, the values and norms previously treasured in many Asian countries. Unfortunately, many Asian people now imitate American people, causing the alteration of their perceptions of family. This radical change can be attributed to those movies and TV programs that portray the success of American individuals or corporations.
The loss of media diversity is also responsible for people’s narrow sense of ways of life. The ruling class of many countries speaks English, favours Western food, wears Western-style jackets and even prefers Western weddings. Young people are captivated by American basketball and some even daubing the names of NBA stars on their school sweatsuits. All these transformations in life are the result of the audience’s exposure to Hollywood movies, TV shows and sports reports. The loss of media diversity will lead to degradation of culture and to a minimisation of cultural diversity. It is a worrying trend, as people need cultural diversity to preserve and pass on their valuable heritage to future generations, including lifestyle.
As shown above, international media, controlled by a handful of transnational media corporations, is exporting Western culture worldwide and putting many indigenous cultures at the risk of extinction. The uniformity of media programs has led to that of artworks, norms and ways of life wherever international media goes.
Collocations and Idioms:
1. grow popularity and uniformity: their popularity and similarity
2. thwart cultural diversity: prevent the differences in cultures
3. place national media companies at risk: threaten the media companies in the country
4. imposing restraints on one’s knowledge: limit one’s knowledge
5. seizing control over: having control
6. communal life and family solidarity: the neighbors and the bond between family members
7. narrow sense of ways of life: don’t know much about the culture
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