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A Companion to Digital Art by Christiane Paul

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15Shockwaves in the New World Order of Information and Communication

Armin Medosch

Introduction

In 1980 UNESCO published the McBride1 Report (1980), the result of a large-scale international survey of the latest developments in communications and media. The McBride Report put into sharp and detailed focus the relationship between communications media and power and showed that unequal access to communications media had repercussions for the economic and political development of nations, peoples, and individuals. The report’s authors argued that Western rhetoric about the free flow of information only concealed “the advantages of those who have greater communication resources” (McBride 1980, 141). The report emphasized the importance of communications for popular emancipation and concluded that a truly free flow would have to be two-way (McBride 1980, 142). It used the phrase “new world order of information and communication” for the first time. The Reagan administration was so annoyed by the McBride Commission’s findings that it became one of a number of reasons for the United States’ withdrawal from UNESCO in 1984.2 During the more than thirty years that have passed since, the sphere of information and communication has grown spectacularly, boosted through the Internet and mobile and wireless communications. Access to media has become much more widespread and made it much easier for individuals and groups to be not only consumers but also producers of information. In the 1970s ...

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