The role of global media in international relations

Global media or international communication has and still brought great impacts more to the world politics nowadays, where the medias can be as the channel to show the international society about the speech or policy of some governments to the peripheries of the world, so their policies or everything that they said can affect what the people thinks about the governments. However, there are both negative and positive impacts for the advancement of global communication in the international environment today, especially in international relations. In positive side, by developing global communication networks and technologies, the inter dependency between one country with other countries will be stronger than before and those countries will create an international community as the Allies which have shared common interest, so it can pursue its goals, for instance is European Union.  Since as we have seen, a state needs to balance both its hard power and soft power in order to achieve its own national interests. We can see the prove of this explanation in USA. They try to improving the information processing and laser in order to emerge the new weapon system in its military forces and expand its telecommunication networks in order to make its TNCs or MNCs can decentralize their production and distribution networks while they are also trying to get a lot of profits in some regions of the world by conducting lower wages, rents, taxes and government regulation.

On the same time, US also tries to attrack the international world today by using the social media to spread its public diplomacy and its soft power. For instance, based on its history until during the early twentieth-century, the US government was still using traditional ways of diplomacy and even still used radio broadcasting to conduct its public diplomacy, however, due to the current events like Arab Springs, they tried to advance new form of social media in order to conducting its public diplomacy and also to promote its soft power (e.g.democracy and freedom as its main political values), and as an example is that they always post the video of both its soft power and public diplomacy through Youtube.[1] And for its culture, we can see it clearly the involvement of global communication to spread its culture to the world through film, which is the Hollywood movies as an example. Thus, with those actions, it will attrack some of industrial and developing countries which had developed or are still developing their technologies to do cooperation and even want to be alliances of US by changing their political or economy values into the same with US in order to service the new multimedia environment.

Another positive impact of its roles is that by using global media, some of forgotten groups can voice out their supports or protests about the international events. It had been seen in some of historical events in some countries where global media was involved within those events. In Mexico for instance, the Zapatista movement was trying to spread its message through Internet to protest against its government, and not only that,it also tried to get international support for changing Mexico into a democratic country by projecting its image to NAFTA during in 1994. Another example is in Myanmar or Burma, where both government and its opposition used Internet (used Email) during its political struggles by asking the government to move out Western companies from Myanmar as a form protest against government’s strict policies.

However, despite the global media can bring positive progress to some regions, its roles also have negative impacts within international environment itself. In politically, the development of global communication and information technology will decrease the national sovereignty and even can harm national borders of a country. Since with the rapid flows of informations and technological advances which are as forms of globalization, it is hard for a state to authorize its people without doing cooperation and involving technology influence to achieve its national interest nowadays, especially if the government within that country does not have strong power to influence its own national sovereignty to other countries. Also, it can break a national territory and identity by entering influence of foreign news, entertainment and educational programs without filtering those programs first. For instance is Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) which violates the national borders by broadcasting those foreign programs freely without being bound by the laws.

Another one is that global media can manipulate the datas that will be expanded to the world in order to hide the truth behind those information, which is as an order from the government of a state. It can be seen that international media is under the authorities of the powerful state. For instance is in the case of Syria, during Houla tragedy on May 25th 2012,BBC, US mass media, posted on the Internet the picture of victims from that tragedy on May 27th, 2012. However, Marco Di Lauro, the fotografer of that picture,stated that that picture is the victims of mass murdering in Iraq in 2003.[2] After that it took back that picture without apologize, while that picture already sent to the whole world, so it is hard for some people to argue that Assad is not the leader of mass killing in Houla. Another example is when during McCharty era in US, which was happened after World War II in 1950, US tried to suggest its media for influencing the public that the influence of communis will threatening political ideology of US.[3]

As in international relations theory, global media can be as a channel for integrating those theories (i.e. realism, liberalism, marxism, communitarianism and post-modernism) and also empowering the involvement of power to engage within those theories as the aim and method of international system. Even though Liberalism, Marxism, Communitarianism and Postmodernism are challenging each other theories for influencing their ideologies to the world, they cannot be separated from the geopolitical Realist view, doctrines and focus in political order about colonial orders and international proletarian solidarity.

To conclude, in International Relations sphere, global media is as an instrument for the establishment of new actors of International Relations (Global Media is not the actor of International Relations), which is the NGOs that as form of the emergence of global civil society, which nowadays, media has expanded the traditional public diplomacy not only to the state actors, but also to the non-state actors as well. Also, by involving media in international events, it will be easy for the public to criticise what is the real fact behind those issues, which means that the media should not have to take one side or even being neutral. It has to be more general, which means that the media should have to do more research and have clear evidence about some issues, especially if they are international issues. Thus, global communication or global media has great effect in International Relations sphere.

References :

[1] Colona, William T. “Social Media and The Advancement of America’s Soft Power by Public Diplomacy.” Georgetown University, 2012.

[2] Sulaeman, Dina Y. “Prahara Suriah : Membongkar Persekongkolan Multinasional.” Pustaka IIMaN, 41.

[3] “McCarthy Era : Era of Political Conformity and Loyalty” in, accessed on December 8th, 2013