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Mass Media In Canada And China

3682 words - 15 pages

Mass media: seen by some as the root cause of all of the world's problems, and by others as their answer. With capacity to be used either to foster free speech and intellectual discussion, or as a tool of government propaganda, the effects of mass media can range from infinitely positive to infinitely negative. In the specific cases of the Canada and the People's Republic of China, the media infrastructures in both have been long established and play major roles of public life, yet the mass media systems at work in each country appear to be on opposite ends of the media spectrum. Canada, among the world's premier developed liberal democracies, has a well-developed media and communications industry that allows for open expression and opinion within fairly lax, largely unwritten guidelines. Chinese media - which until the late 1970's served exclusively as a government organ - today is heavily regulated by the government, as many media organizations are closely affiliated with the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP, or simply 'the Party'), but is slowly developing into a bona fide forum of expression. While limited to within the parameters of various taboos and prohibitions (such as questioning the legitimacy of the CCP) set by the Party, there exists a surprisingly diverse and vibrant media atmosphere in China, promoting fairly open discussion of social issues and policy options. Despite the obvious differences, there remain a myriad of commonalities between the counterparts, including some degree of government censorship/regulation, and the underlying pursuit of profit, which has already permeated nearly every other aspect of societies everywhere. Other issues, such as concentration of media ownership in each of the countries, emerging technologies, and availability of alternative (namely international) news sources also play roles in the development of each. While it could once be argued that the media had been used by governments to benefit the people of Canada and indoctrinate them in China, they appear to be growing increasingly similar, in that the Chinese media are pushing tirelessly for autonomy, whereas Canadians seem content with the declining status quo. With government repressing of free speech only forging increased creativity out of the press, members of the Chinese media are always looking to push the envelope, all the while the growing trend of media conglomerates forming powerful cartels in the Canadian communications industry weaken media quality and eliminate diversity - and the spread of capitalism can be held accredited for both.Any businessperson knows that the success of an industry in any given country hinges on state directives. In Canada, mass media is built around Charter provisions guaranteeing freedom of expression, whereas Chinese media is still in the early phases of evolving from a government mouthpiece into a true reflection of the people of China. The fact that it operates as a communist state accounts for...

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