Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Crisis Extends to the Media | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Whether we support it or not, globalization is an unstoppable force that seems to be immune to deceleration despite the many prophesies and predictions that assumed that because globalization was the cause of the international financial crisis, it would be its first victim. The globalization of the media, politics, the economy, and culture has become the main source of debate and controversy following the financial crisis and the crisis in the real estate market. Our debate will deal with the media sector, which is a sector that almost completely embodies globalization and the transformation of the world into a global village. This is an industry that consumes hundreds of millions of dollars and contributes to the complete convergence of human society.

The initial reaction to a crisis is precautionary withdrawal; this means not expanding beyond local boundaries. The first actions taken by international news networks was to close overseas bureaus that are not concerned with their own internal position or deal with active points of interest in order to reduce costs. This is already beginning to happen, although not on a wide-scale, and its impact remains unclear, yet organizations have been closed down, and journalists have lost their jobs.

In the US alone the number of journalists who have lost their job stands at 15,000. This is as a result of the decline of newspaper sales, as well as a decline in advertising revenue. The same thing is happening internationally, in the West, and in the Arab world.

But if the global financial crisis continues, what impact this will have on employment in the media sector?

Millions around the world saw images of dozens of Americans who had been forced by the [global financial] crisis to leave their homes because they could not cover the outstanding costs. Americans are accused of being insensitive towards the international crisis and uninformed of issues that occur outside of their borders, and their media agencies are accused of not portraying a complete or accurate picture of what is going on in the Middle East, for example.

Will this [international financial crisis] contribute to an increase in US isolation from the rest of the world, and thereby result in a decrease of the already restricted space that international [news] events take up in the American media?

The closure of foreign bureaus belonging to major US media organizations in Africa and Asia, and the growing preoccupation with the local [effects] of the global financial crisis may increase America’s isolation to the global village.

This same question is asked of other countries with regards to their interests in following up on events outside of their borders for the sake of their own internal situation and how to deal with the crisis.

It seems that the internet will be the only medium not to be hit by this economic crisis, and perhaps it will be the medium that will benefit most from the crisis. The internet is the only means of communication that can access the most isolated places in the world, and it is the medium that has the largest impact on an increasing number of people in many parts of the world and at a lower cost.

Today newspapers are looking at the benefits of internet advertising in order to save themselves from bankruptcy, and perhaps from even going into administration. What is expected today is an excess of internet advertisements on news websites.

Perhaps globalization is to some extent more isolationist today than at any time before, according to some analysts.

Will the global financial crisis reveal new directions to us that we are yet to encounter?