Regulating Global Media
Michael Curtin, University of California, Santa Barbara
Since the 1990s, media imagery has flowed more freely across national borders as a result of new technologies and market liberalization, much to the delight of Western conglomerates that have expanded their operations and exports around the globe. This has, of course, raised anxieties in countries that find themselves ever more vulnerable to a flood of foreign imagery. Yet the People’s Republic of China offers a significant counter-example of a government that has been relatively successful at protecting its national media and fostering new enterprises, allowing China to exercise political and cultural leadership at home while also expanding its influence abroad. The government has furthermore maneuvered Western joint-venture partners—such as Disney, DreamWorks, and News Corp.—to serve its broader strategic ambition, which is to develop media industries that are popular with audiences and ultimately competitive with Hollywood. This presentation explores the implications of Chinese policy within the broader processes of media globalization, providing a framework for understanding the logics of media capital and the challenges for cultural policy. It furthermore makes comparisons to Arab, African, and Indian media policy, reflecting on the prospects for creativity and cultural diversity in transnational film and television.