Key Issues Relating to Contemporary Media

Key Issues Relating to Contemporary Media

The readings and lectures from weeks 2, 3 and 4 have identified a number of key issues
relating to contemporary media. Which strikes you as the single
most significant of these issues, and why?

Convergence, Pluralisation and Globalisation are not the abstract, technical and detached concepts that they first appear to be. Rather each of them plays a significant role not only in the rapidly changing media landscape but also in the lives of every human being today. However, the most significant of these issues is Pluralisation because of the concealed disparities that exist between the promise of a democratic voice for all and the reality of socio-economic and institutionalised barriers. While it is acknowledged that Pluralisation pre-dates the Internet, this paper will critique the discourse of pluralisation with specific reference to the World Wide Web.

Unlike newspapers, television, radio and magazines, the Internet was never designed to be a mass medium. Arising from the US Defence Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the 1950s, the Internet came to be a communication system with no centre, rather a decentralised, self-maintaining series of connections between computer networks. In the early 1990s the Internet emerged as an important alternative mode for self-expression. Micro-communities proliferated on the Net, as people with similar interests and curiosities searched the Web for information and images on any topic imaginable – politics, literature, cars, gardening, poetry and song lyrics, to name a few (Barr, 2002:245-246).

However, the Internet has also been used as a means of expressing and discussing political, social and economic opinions. Whilst people have been accessing technology to express themselves in media environments for centuries (Ghandi toppled a dictatorship with a pamphlet), the Internet has allowed for this expression and activism at a pace and scope previously unknown to humanity. Traditionally citizens have...

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