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International Mass Communication

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Final Exam


Using my assigned country, Vietnam, as a reference, I can draw a conclusion that almost all regional systems in my group East Asia belong to the Soviet theory of press, including North Korea, Vietnam, China and Pakistan; except India which is of Authoritarian theory rather than Soviet theory because almost all its print and radio is private owned. A very interesting point to note down is that although belonging to East Asia group, South Korea is the only regional system that the press is under Libertarian theory which promotes the doctrine of freedom of press. Let’s take a closer look at each regional system to know why I say that.

The similarities between the Soviet and Authoritarian systems include censorship of online content, little encouragement to raise the voices about sensitive topics, and very strict control over the entire press system from governments. Talking about North Korea, it is one of the most repressive countries in the world, with the world press freedom index of 179/180 which is so left behind. North Korea has several freedom of speech laws in place that protect people, but the laws only apply if it is in praise of the country, government, or leader. Saying anything negative about these three things is punishable by hard labor, or more commonly, public execution. This happens in India, Vietnam, China and Pakistan as well. The media system in North Korea has come a “media black hole”, which means that not a lot of information gets in or out of the country and almost all information of press comes directly from the government. Even online open information is not allowed for everyone to access. This situation is called the “Great Firewall” in China. I also noticed the same pattern in both North Korea and India, which is the fact that foreign journalists who want to come to these countries are mostly denied, and the ones who are accepted are kept under very close supervision during their visit. In Pakistan, journalists are treated badly and they have to face high risks of being punished or jailed or even killed because of raising negative voices against the government.

There are some interesting differences among regional media systems I would like to talk about. The first one is the most used and popular medium varies from countries to countries. For instance, radio is most used in North Korea, whereas in India, print and radio are the most popular media; and in Vietnam, the dominant medium is TV. The second one is India is the 4th largest importer of U.S. media and also a big exporter of Bollywood to U.S. The third one is about South Korea. When it comes to this country, I am so surprised that its press is under Libertarian theory, which is totally opposite to North Korea. It ranked 70th on the world press freedom index. Everyone has the right to raise their voices on sensitive topics, especially political ones, without being controlled by the government.

In conclusion, I think what affects the media system in the whole region East Asia is mostly contributed from cultural and political aspects, rather than social one. Those countries are under the perspectives of Eastern culture, which is quite conservative so the freedom of press is somehow restricted. Besides, politics in this region is complicated, thus making people afraid of raising their voices. However, with the trend of globalization and internationalization today, I believe that those countries will escape from the old system and are gradually Westernized, so people, especially journalists, will little by little have more freedom to report and raise their voices on social and political issues.


When doing the media watch assignments, I learnt about how journalists from different countries in the world do reports on news and events, how they approach the latest news and how they raise their voices about a specific piece of information.

To answer the question “Do you think our US media covers other countries in a comprehensive and balanced manner?”, I would like to say yes and no. Why yes? As doing the media watch, I can observe that U.S. media does cover what is going on in other countries quite much and includes many details. But why no? Because U.S. media portrays almost everything outside the U.S. as bad images. For instance, U.S. media considers the Middle East as a primitive and savage area, whereas it does not totally convey the truth. In general, it seems like U.S. media has a stereotype about all other non-Western countries, which means it portrays them as the ones that have low level of economic and political development, little technological advances and need improvement. Meanwhile, I think other countries cover U.S. in a comprehensive and balanced way. They see what is going on in U.S. in a neutral way and this was more obvious during elections. The elections are always being closely watched across the world. Since U.S. is one of the most developed countries in the world and the politics is also rather complicated, the perception of other countries towards U.S. is somehow cautious. That perception will affect how they do reports and cover news from U.S.


After reading Chapter 15 in the book, I think international mass communication today, especially international journalism should be called modern international mass communication, thanks to globalization and the digital revolution. According to Hachten and Scotton, modernization is the process in which international communication, travel, industrialization, commerce and international trade has all been going through. Modernization obviously brings so many benefits to the development of international mass communication, especially international journalism. However, it also includes some downsides.

First of all, traditional communication and journalism had been gradually replaced by modern media, which means that we can no longer see as many people as before holding newspapers and magazines on their hands. Instead, they might hold smart phones or tablets surfing the Internet and using social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to send messages and communicate. Media outlets and conglomerates have increased dramatically since the beginning of the 21st century. Today, the dominant concept of international communication is Western concept which is original from U.S. and UK. It means that in journalism, non-western countries have used Western standards and



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