THE CONSEQUENCE OF WORLD INFORMATION FLOW DISPROPORTION ON THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES
1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The world information flow controversy is perhaps the most topical issue in international communities today.
This global controversy is basically about the demand by the south for a change in the present pattern of information flow between it and the north. The south also knows that the third world or under developed or developing countries of the world contends that there is gross unbalance both in quality and quantity, in global information flow between the south and the north, also known as the first world countries of the world.
This unbalance according to the south, has placed it at the receiving end as developing countries are daily bombarded with information and other media materials which do not meet their development needs and more importantly tend to debase their culture and portray them as inferior in the eyes of all.
Supporting this assertion, Okunna (1993:92) say, A lot of research evidence has been gathered over the year to demonstrate the unbalance in the quality and particularly, quantity of global mass communication. This unbalance with the attendant dangers of culture domination through mass communication in at the root of protracted demand for a new world information and communication.
The north on its own part argues that the flow of information should be free and unrestricted quoting the 1940 united Nation (UN) declaration on the freedom of information as the basis of her arguments.
According to the \un declaration of 1946, all state should proclaim policies under which the free flow of information within countries and across national boundaries could be protected. This free flow of information itself could be on offshoot from the liberation press theory of value of free information. Although third world countries accept the freedom of their citizens to receive and disseminate information they argue that such information freedom be checked in the interest of their sovereignty
The south, therefore rejects free flow of information in which there is an overwhelming amount of information flowing from a small number of industrialized countries into the numerous countries of the developing world. This rejection is partly rooted in the negative effects or consequences of this type of flow on cultures of the third world countries cultural imperialism or synchronization could be a resultant effect of the unhindered and unbalance global information flow.
Supporting the south’s line of argument, Opubor (1986:4) says, it is a very difficult state of affair indeed that a small group of people concentrated in four countries can arrogate onto themselves and preempt the management of our image of the world through controlling what is called news. Expressing similar views, Uche (1996:4) states, the western media’s on sought against Africa and the third world has continued to better and dent the image of the people of the southern hemisphere who are protracted as lesser beings. The demand for a new world information and communication order (NWICO) which Nigeria subscribes to is therefore borne out of the design to change the present pattern of the world information flow and also free her citizens form being passive receivers of distorted and biased information.
Historically, the new world information and communication orders debate has its root in the 1976 UN declaration on freedom of information. The disagreement stated in 1948 when Russia and her Allies opposed the idea of freedom of information at the Genva convention. The earliest quantitative study on it was the international press institute’s 1953 study of which suggested that there was unbalance the global news flow.
The debate gathered momentum in the 1960’s and 1990’s the united national educational scientific and cultural organizations involvement began precisely in 1970 when the issue was first tabled at its general conference. Two years later, the majority of its delayed resolved that there was potential danger of global news flow unbalance.
In 1974, the UNESCO conference approved a declaration on the new international economic order (NIEO) several other efforts were made before UNESCO in 1977 appointed a – 1b – man committee of communication experts headed by an Irish diplomat, san Macbrige to study the world communication problems and make recommendations. The Macbrige report was submitted in 1980. the report stated in no uncertain terms that there is unbalance domination is a reality of this unbalanced (Okenna, 1993:94) This did not go down well with some western countries. However the UNESCO chairman then Senegalese Amadon Mahtar M’Bow defended it stoutly, arguing that freedom of information in one directions freedom and liberty are not the monopolies of any group.
The argument however did not impress the west, as united states of America (USA) pulled out of UNESCO, in 1985 Britain and Singapore followed suit, maintaining that Nwico declaration was an endinic hostility towards the institution of free press, free market and above all individuals human rights. UNESCO, however remains unmoved and insisted that NWICO will bring about “more justice, more equity reciprocity information exchange, less dependence in commutation flow less downwards diffusion of message, more self reliance and cultural identity, more benefit for all man kind” because of the complex nature of this debate and the opposing stand of the different ideologies involvement the debatee has consumed many man hours and according to Juan Somavia, “This might lead to the wars major conflict among nations after the world wars.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
Third world countries like Nigeria suffer the consequences of the global information flow unbalance and faced with cultural subjugation and conquest by the first world which threatens their existence as sovereign nation states through cultural imperialism. Given the nature of the international communication system, there have always been fears that the massive flow of western countries, predominantly America, media cultures into non-western countries of the third world could lead to cultural dominations which distort and displace native cultures and lead to adoption of foreign lifestyle and behavioral patterns
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study is find out the degree of unbalance in global information flow between the first world and the third world. This study also examine the cultural context of the global information flow and highlights how it affect the countries of the third world. Finally thus study will attempt to offer suggestion and propose a model of international communication that will help bring about desired global understanding.
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
As one of the most topical and persistent issues in international communication and world politics today it is pertinent to find out the effects of the global information flow unbalance on third world countries. Although numerous studies have been conducted on this particularly issue, the resolution of the controversy about the world information flow pattern, also the target population of the studies have been diverse, but these studies will survey the opinion of enlightened and educated population of the issue that is undergraduates of mass communication of the HNDI and HNDII levels of study. Finally this study will analyze the old issue under a new setting the present world situation and purpose new ways different from all others for the resolution of the controversies surrounding the global information flow pattern. Here lies the uniqueness of this study
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
These research question serves as a guide in finding answers to problems being investigated and hence they focus on the major problems.
RQI – To what extent does unbalance exist in global information flow between the first and the third word?
RQII – To what extent do cultural values form part of the global information flow between the first and the third world?
RQIII – What are the effects of the world information flow unbalance on third cultures.
RQIV – To do third countries especially Nigeria poses the potentials to counter first world media influences on their culture and bridge information flow unbalance.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS.
The following assumption which are subject to testing the are made for the purpose of this research work.
H1: World politics today is an effective means of finding out the effects of global information flow unbalance on third world countries.
Ho1: World politics today is not an effective means of finding out the effects of global information flow unbalance on third world countries
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The south: This refers to developing or under developed countries of the world. They are also called third world countries.
The North: Refers to the developed countries of the west. They are called first world countries.
Information flow: This is the movement of all mass media messages from one country to another.
Unbalance: This is the unequal flow of mass media can also be seen as unidirectional flow which means the one sided flow of information from the developed world.
Cultural Imperialism: This refers to the subjugation of a local culture and the in position of an alien culture.
Cultural Traniangulation: This is intended to mean the process of selecting cross cultural entertainment, information and other media products from those countries whose cultural product are meaningful.
Cultural Synchronization: This implies that the tariff of cultural products goes massively in one direction and has basically a synchronic mode. The north offers the model with which the receiving parties synchronize local social inventiveness and cultural creatively are usually destroyed.
Global: This is a word used interchangeably with world.
Inter Dependence: It is used here to means that each actor or participate in the information flow controversy would aim at being truly independent and self reliance before involving itself fully in global cooperation activities and projects.
Association: This implies that a nation in corporate into its development only those aspects communication technology and development that are meaningful to its well being.
Dissociation: This portrays a growing separation and isolation.
1. The researcher assumes that world politics has an important role to play in finding out the effect of global information flow unbalance on third world countries.
2. These research also assumes that without concentration on world politics the global information flow on third world countries is left imbalance
3. Even at world politics some third world countries have not realized the importance of global information flow.