Gone are the days when information used to be the property of the West and all the information flow was directed from west to east and north to south. Emerging technology and new ways of communications have changed the directions, turned the business of news with its head down and has started taking newer roads and turns. The days have moved out when developing countries had to fight for the proper flow of information, opposing to the news showcased by Western news agencies in which third world countries were shown as poor, uneducated, hunger stricken and corrupt states.
With science developing at a faster speed, formation of glocal world, Westerns are running for their money and space in developing nations and are losing their influence. Now technology is cutting costs and stoking competition, eroding the Westerner’s advantage. BBC World Service and Voice of America are no longer the only source of news in countries like Afghanistan. Now the country has its own satellite news channel broadcasting round the clock in Dari and Pashto.
With technology making its waves from everywhere, developing countries are not just mere receivers of news from western outfits; rather third world media is emerging strongly and creating problems for gigantic news mediums. Since 2006, China, Iran, Japan, Qatar have launched English language TV news channels. China has committed $7 billion to international news which is 15 times more than the annual budget of BBC World Services. Last month, China introduced its second English language news channel, CNC World. The most inspiring entrant is Al Jazeera, which supported by Emir of Qatar. Its well established Arabic service dominates the Middle East. Before 1990, Kenya had just one, state-owned television station. It now has 20 television broadcasters and 80 licensed radio stations. Iran and Russia have both launched 24-hour English news ch annels.
New media and online programming are strengthening the trend. Where broadcasters once used to push the programme on air waves and had to spend millions in distribution, now an internet connection can lead anyone to wider choices of content. Once a clip posted on youtube or a tweet pasted on twitter, the news finds popularity on numerous blogs and discussion forums.
In past year, the BBC Services lost 8 million viewers and listeners. Of the six American financed broadcasters, five see a decline. In 2003, Voice of America’s Russian service was carried by 85 domestic radio stations; it is now carried by only one. The BBC Arabic service’s local broadcasts in northern Sudan were shut down on August 9.
The cold war days have passed by, where big budgets were allotted to the international news outfits to spread the ideas of propaganda and capitalism which used to suit the political agendas of Western World. A high production cost, satellite rights, getting hold of frequencies was the game of big players but now new technology has cut all the barriers. With a simple working camera, content to share and internet connection a lot can be said, shared and discussed upon. Heydays of so-called information rulers of the world have started to vanish and the freedom once enjoyed by western media is diminishing and third world countries have trumpeted into the space.