ERIC Number: ED170789
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Jul
Reference Count: 0
"The Free Flow of News" and "Western Communication Imperialism": Divergent Views on Ethics in International Communication.
Merrill, John C.
A growing international controversy exists between the West on one hand and the Third World, Marxist states, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the other focusing on the concepts of "free flow of information" and "Western communication imperialism," and on ethical issues relating to these concepts. A basic difference exists between how these concepts are understood: the West understands "free flow of information" as lack of government controls, while the Third World and others stress a "balanced and unbiased" flow to and from the Third World. A balanced flow of news, however, is an unrealistic expectation, and internal restrictions on news in the Third World are an important explanation for a paucity of serious and vital news flowing to the West. Exception can also be taken to the popular indictment of the West as engaging in "communication imperialism"; Western communication agencies offer but do not force their products on the Third World. The ethics of communication practices are closely tied to political philosophy and basic social theory. In the West it is believed that it is ethical to use communications systems for profit and public service, whereas in Communist and Third World nations it is held that communications systems should be highly controlled to develop their societies along collectivistic lines. (DF)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association Summer Conference on Intercultural Communication (2nd, Tampa, Florida, July 17-21, 1978)