Islamabad (PR): ‘The notion that globalisation has delivered the end of media imperialism is highly flawed. Fact of the matter is, globalisation has aggravated the condition of media imperialism because western domination of third world’s television industry has increased while third world’s dependence on the West has compounded too’.
These views were expressed by Dr Farooq Sulehria while addressing a seminar jointly organised by Riphah University’s Department of Media Science and an independent think tank, Research Institute of Development and Evaluations (RIDE).
Dr Sulehria, the key note speaker at the seminar, has authored a book, titled, ‘Media Imperialism in India and Pakistan’ published last year by Routledge. Presently, he teaches at Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. The seminar was presided by seasoned journalist Nasir Zaidi.
Dr Sulehria pointed out that the notion of media imperialism was usually restricted to the concept of Western domination. In his view, media imperialism should be conceptualised as a combination of capitalist exploitation of the periphery by the West and periphery’s dependence on the imperial centres.
He pointed out that Bollywood produces over 1000 films a year while Hollywood productions number 300 a year. However, according to Sulehria, Bollywood’s share in the global film trade was one percent while Hollywood’s share was 80%.
He further argued that among top 15 media markets in the world, there were only Brazil and India from the global South while among world’s top 20 media conglomerates, there was none from the global South. He claimed that the USA, UK, Germany, France and Japan dominate the global trade in media and entertainment industries.
Citing the case of India, he pointed out that three out of top four media houses are not Indian. ‘Today, media imperialism speaks the local language, it is dressed locally and is subtle,’ he said. In the case of Pakistan, he said, the cost of country’s television system’s dependency was over two billion dollars. ‘A country that does not afford clean drinking water and basic health facilities to it’s citizens was sending billions of dollars abroad is a situation that needs serious re-consideration,’ he argued. He said, he did not oppose television but Pakistan’s television system required another kind of television system which should be less dependent and was contributing to country’s development.
Addressing the seminar, Nasir Zaidi suggested that media today was enjoying a degree of freedom owing to a long and heroic struggle by the journalist fraternity. However, he said, there was a visible and an invisible censorship besides self-censorship. He advocated more freedom of expression and tolerance for dissenting voices.
The seminar was also addressed by Col (retd) Sabur Sulehria and Dr Rashid Aftab, Director Riphah Institute of Public Policy.
The event was widely covered by both national print and electronic media including Dawn News,The News, Dunya Tv, Express Tv, Capital Tv and few others.