This paper examines how the emergence of media globalisation has fuelled debates that have arisen on the weakening of the nation state and the deregulation of government in media ownership. We will address how the tensions between political influence and media globalization create issues that include economic interests, resistance to cultural imperialism and promotion of national identity. Such issues create impacts on the role on governments, agencies and corporations making decisions about culture and the media, and how communities might interact with such decision-making.
Using Singapore as the site of analyses, explorations will be made on how authorities make vigorous efforts in permitting or preventing cross-media ownership and concentration in media sectors. Additionally, illustrations will be made on how Singapore government establish regulatory and security mechanisms to deal with issues of media responsibility, social cohesion and nation building which Heng (2002) proposes are central to the government-media relations that constitute the foundations of media markets. These domestic regulatory cultural policies bear economic and socio-cultural agendas for the media system in Singapore and create a new scenario for both regulatory bodies and media companies.
Media Ownership and Concentration in an Era of Globalisation McChesney (2001) identified that previously in the eighties and nineties, media systems were primarily national, predominated by local commercial interests, and sometimes combined with a state-affiliated broadcasting service. In the past few years however, we see an emergence of a global commercial-media market, dominated and concentrated with a few multinational, cross-media conglomerates.
This development of media concentration, makes media culture now fair game for commercial exploitation, influencing full-scale commercialization of sports, arts, and education, and affecting the disappearance of notions of public service from public discourse, and the degeneration of journalism, political coverage, and children's programming under commercial pressure (McChesney, 1998). Government deregulation effecting media ownership was decided to encourage growth of the nation’s domestic market. As explained by Doyle (2002, p1), ‘the prevalent impetus towards deregulation of conventional broadcasting and press ownership restraints is usually explained in terms of a need to allow domestic players to exploit important new economic and technological opportunities, preferably ahead of international rivals. For example, East Asian countries like Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea open up economy to global corporations in order to promote competitiveness and greater efficiencies in national economy (Linda Weiss, 2003; Flew, 2007, p84)
Singapore’s Mediascape: Print Media
In Terry Flew’s (2007, p42) “Understanding Global Media”, the term that Arjun Appadurai coin mediascape was highlighted as one of five dimensional planes that facilitated the global flows of images, narratives, media content and et cetera through print, broadcast, film and video, as well as new technologies like Internet and digital media. Appadurai (1996, p35) termed this global flow as ‘the production and dissemination of mediated information to form political and ideological “images of the world”.
Lee and Willnat (2006, p100) proposed that Singapore’s mediascape can be divided into three broad categories: broadcast, print media and the Internet, and that they all operate in the same manner as Appadurai has suggested; that management and control of the mass media are intended to keep the government in absolute power and control. We shall explore how these three dissemination channels of media information serve as government influence through regulations to globalisation efforts.
As proposed earlier, media ownership deregulation promotes growth of domestic market in the phenomenon of media globalisation. At the same...