Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Core Response 5: Fighting Against Cultural-Television Imperialism: Cyberjihadism

Much of television studies, as all three readings for this week seem to unanimously suggest, is examined in a U.S.-centric (read: western) lens in evaluating how external factors affect the production and dissemination of scholarship; such examples would include the culture of funding and the possession of exclusive cultural capital. Michael Curtin makes the claim that “It was not until 1999 that the first major study of media industries in Latin America was published” and that African, East European, Arabic, and Indian media began to increasingly receive attention at the turn of the digital age, albeit limited (108).

Non-western nations resistant to occidental cultural influences on television oppose the dominant reading of the broadcasted material as the receivers of these texts may not align with the system of beliefs already in place. Shanti Kumar writes that globalization is often “promoted as a scientific or social-scientific doctrine” that makes of the recipients of these imperial works a mass of passive consumers indoctrinated with westernized ideologies (136). In colonizing the airwaves (and television screens), viewers may find themselves trapped between a push-pull conflict.

A global television studies is necessary to understand the impacts and repercussions of screening western productions in “third” spaces. Kumar elaborates on forms of communication that extrapolate industrialized ideologies into emerging industries with increasing access to capably create their own television culture, and it is in this development that some industries find it difficult to disassociate themselves from western powers (139). Global television studies must account for the fact that imperial media has significantly influenced the making of television content in industries barely establishing their defining identities, and such an approach must acknowledge the multiplicity of regional television culture rather than collapsing them under a universal criterion.

I now bring attention to an anti-imperial effort led by non-western groups, which has increasingly earned attention by the very same institutions that are affected: “cyberjihadism.” An article published by France-Amérique investigates the cyberjihadist act enacted on TV5 Monde in France by bringing into light “la vulnérabilité des sites de medias” and of other platforms such as “l'antenne TV, le site internet et les comptes de réseaux sociaux de la chaîne” in an era of cyberhacks. While the use of jihad in the article is certainly problematic, this notion of cyberjihadism presents a set of questions that pushes one to think of the ways in which resistance to imperial influences are negated and often denounced in “radical” pursuits.

For this reason, scholarship on a global television culture should include notions of direct-digital-action to get to the source of these acts. Certainly, digital media would need to be undertaken, as well as access to technologies, advanced systems of communications in non-western worlds, the quality of connectivity, and the emerging television/digital media/streaming networks working towards decolonizing imperial influences. Scholars must seek creative and careful approaches in studying dissent as a form of political action and how television/digital media plays a role in facilitating such actions.

Works Cited

Curtin, Michael “Thinking Globally: From Media Imperialism to Media Capital.”

Kumar, Shanti. “Is There Anything Called Global Television Studies?”

“L'ampleur du piratage de TV5 met en exergue la vulnérabilité des medias.” France-Amérique. 9 April 2015. Web. 20 April 2015. 

1 comment:

  1. I love this post!!!!! wish you would have expanded on what the act of "cyberjihadism" entailed, esp because I can't read French. Sounds fascinating, and I love your point about how the language used to label this media acts to undermine its message and credibility, as well as denounce it.