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Culture, Globalisation and Digital Age, the state of art of Latin American Communications post MacBride’s Report.

Francis Espinoza Figueroa
University of Birmingham
Carlos Del Valle
Francis Espinoza Figueroa
University of Birmingham
Open Panel

Abstract

When scholars talks about the Latin American School of International Communication, they are necessarily referring to MacBride’s Report and its ‘critical and developing strategies’ to analysed information and mass media problems within contemporary cultures. The MacBride report, Many Voices One World, was written in 1980 by the International Commission for the Study of Communications of UNESCO, chaired by the Nobel laurate Séan Mac Bride. Its main objective was to analyse world communication and problems in modern societies, especially relating to mass media and international press. This report aimed to develop a new world communication order supported by the New World Economic Order. Through this last purpose, it sought to solve inequalities of communication and to balance power and democracy between developing and industrialised countries. The report identified a series of communicational problems such as concentration of the media, commercialization of the media, and unequal access to information and communication. The commission made a call for democratization of communication and strengthening of national media to avoid dependence on external sources. The discourse criticised the weakness and vulnerability of press to face with strong economic, financial and political pressures which were affecting mass media and journalism at that time. These pressures came from the interests of multinational groups of communication. Furthermore, Internet-based technologies, considered in the work of the MacBride Commission, served as a means for furthering MacBride''s visions. Therefore, when considering the importance of new technologies, we should make the first question for this paper: how could we analyse the state of art of theorizing Latin American communications after MacBride’s report? According to some scholars, the ‘post-MacBride period’ is seen as a time by which the Report is completely forgotten, leaving behind the New World Information and Communication Order. In 2003 in Ginebra and 2005 en Túnez, the United Nations convened the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS). The uncharged organisation was the International Union of Telecommunications (IUT) instead of UNESCO. The WSIS was focussed on the development of new technologies. The process of communication and cultural aspects of communication were oriented only to technological considerations. At this juncture, one might ask the following question: what could the future be for a Latin American theory of communication, taking into account the new scenario of international communication? Some scholars have suggested returning to the MacBride Report, in order to find there, keys to problems of communication today. Others suggest developing a new ideological-value Cosmo vision where communication could be the ‘motor’ of tolerance for respecting differences in order to construct mutually binding people. This paper will seek to analyse theoretically profound cultural changes occurring in Latin American communications as a result of the impact of new technologies on these developing countries. Certainly, we do not aim for the ambitious project to develop a ‘post MacBride report’; however our main purpose is to study the state of art of Latin American communications, taking into account post-colonial studies which define these contemporary societies as hybrid cultures.