In a globalised, mobile-multimedia age, the flow of media products is becoming increasingly multiple and horizontal. Daya Thussu’s Expert Comment focuses on the emergence of media content and digital media from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and explores the ways in which their increasing globalisation offers new opportunities for reformulating global communication discourses. Thussu argues that a new communication order may be evolving, which could contribute to more pluralistic and democratised international communication. This could resurrect an older demand for a New World Information and Communication Order, which dominated international communication debates during the 1970s. The BRICS nations represent a striking example of new geo-political and economic constellations emerging in the fields of media and communication, offering possibilities for a NWICO 2.0 to address asymmetries of power in global media and communication.

Executive Summary

The article argues that in a globalised, mobile-multimedia age, the flow of media products – from the West to the Rest – has become multiple and horizontal, as non-Western media content providers have become more pronounced and are servicing an ever-growing global media market for ideas and images. Most significant is the emergence of media products from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries, reflecting their growing economic power.

While acknowledging that in terms of volume and value – both in hardware and software – global media and communication continue to be dominated by the West, with the US at its core, this article suggests that there is a growing flow in the other direction, from BRICS countries. Such a media landscape provides a new communication context within which global media and international communication can be discussed.

This article argues that the growing globalisation of media content from BRICS countries – notably international television news emanating from China and Russia, the deepening globalisation of Bollywood, and telenovelas from Brazil – offers new opportunities for reformulating global communication discourses. Particularly significant are developments in digital media in the BRICS countries. Given the scope and scale of change in the BRICS countries, a new communication order may be evolving, which could contribute to more pluralistic and therefore democratised international communication. This development would resurrect an older demand for a New World Information and Communication Order, which dominated international communication debates during the 1970s, significantly within UNESCO. In the post-Cold War, neoliberal, globalised world, new geo-political and economic constellations are emerging, and old ones being reconfigured. The BRICS nations represent a striking example of this changed globe, notably in the fields of media and communication, offering possibilities for a NWICO 2.0.

 Policy Recommendations:

  • Global information imbalances remain an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed.
  • BRICS countries should help advance synergy on policy and intellectual issues in cyberspace by sharing expertise and providing communication infrastructure.
  • The possibilities digital connectivity offers for addressing imbalances in infrastructures in medicine, education, banking, and governance in BRICS countries should be recognised and utilised.
  • A BRICS Internet will be a crucial node within the networked world for articulating Southern viewpoints on key global issues, such as sustainable development, climate change, intellectual property rights, and asymmetries of power in global media and communication.

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the original author(s) and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views and opinions of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, its co-founders, or its staff members.

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Daya Thussu
Daya Kishan Thussu is Professor of International Communication and Co-Director of India Media Centre at the University of Westminster in London. A PhD in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, he is the founder and Managing Editor of Global Media and Communication, a journal published by SAGE. He has authored and edited as many as 17 books. Among his key publications are: Mapping BRICS Media (co-edited with Kaarle Nordenstreng, 2015); Media and Terrorism: Global Perspectives (co-edited with Des Freedman, 2012); Internationalizing Media Studies (2009); News as Entertainment: The Rise of Global Infotainment (2007); Media on the Move: Global Flow and Contra-Flow (2007); International Communication: Continuity and Change, third edition (forthcoming); and Electronic Empires: Global Media and Local Resistance (1998). In 2014, he was honored with a “Distinguished Scholar Award” by the International Studies Association, a first for a non-Western scholar in the field of International Communication.