1Global Communication: Background

Introduction

The world of international communication has changed rapidly in recent years. Following World War II, global communication was dominated by the tensions arising from the Cold War, pitting the old Soviet Union against the United States and its allies. Much of the rhetoric, news space, face time, and concern dealt with some aspect of government control of mass communication, or the impact of governments and other entities on free speech, or the free flow of information or data across international borders. Likewise, much of the international coverage on both sides of the Atlantic had an East/West tone, reflecting a communism versus democracy wedge. With the demise of the former Soviet Union and communism as a major global force, the factors underpinning international communication shifted dramatically. No longer did crises around the globe create major confrontations between two superpowers. What’s more, the end of communism spelled the demise of the Soviets as enemies of the free press and the free flow of information. In many editors’ and producers’ opinions, it also spelled the end, ignoring, or at least downgrading, the importance of foreign news coverage. That clearly changed for a while after September 11, 2001.

Today, the United States stands alone as the world’s only superpower. While other economic entities, such as the European Union and parts of Asia, compete daily with the United States in the global marketplace, there ...

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