News flow controversy: evaluation of news imbalance and distortions

News flow controversy: evaluation of news imbalance and distortions

Information is power and the most critically sought commodity in today’s world. Those that control the information are usually seemed to be the most powerful in our contemporary society. Therefore, for the past thirty years, there has been a controversy resulting from accusation and counter-accusation of imbalance flow of information from the west to south. The purported victims which are the developing nations have been raging bitterly over the news coverage of events in their continent and have denounced western newspapers, journals, and television outlets for their alleged sensationalism and anti-development bias (Legum & Cornwell, 1978). Due to this controversy, on several accounts, developing nations have attempted to engage the western nations through different channels to address the issue of global information inequality.

One that may readily come to mind is the UNESCO meetings in 1969 (Sean , Elie, Sergei , & Somavia, 1980), 1974 (Mowlana, 1985), 1976 (Bandopadhyay, 2006) and 1980 (Tokunbo, 2000) consecutively, where the UNESCO group of experts on mass communication and society noted in its disturbing but revealing report that: What has come to be known as the free flow of information at the present time is often, in fact, a one way rather than a true exchange of information. In retaliation, the western world has equally charged the developing world of seeking to obstruct the free flow of information and insist to make no change in the information flow which they regard as a threat to the freedom to report, to print, and to broadcast news (Legum & Cornwell, 1978). This charge and counter-charge are far from abating and in fact is gathering momentum as it persists in many developing countries as they are well aware of the value of information in speeding material development and in maintaining power.

In this paper, however, the author will be discussing the developing world perception of new world information order, seeking to find what changes they expect from it. The essay will also attempt to identify the positions taken by these disputants by closely looking at the exchange of charges and counter-charges between those demanding balance in the news and those demanding journalistic freedom. And finally, we will explore the issues underlying the dispute and attempt to proffer solutions where necessary.

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
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