Friday, February 25, 2011

Facebook replacing VOA & BBC?

Facebook replacing VOA & BBC?

Islamabad: Voice of America' (VOA) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) are limiting their worldwide media operations after taking higher level decisions to use social media as a tool to spread information about United States and Europe.

According to international media experts, VOA, an ideological product designed for countries with which the US has little communication and interaction, is no longer required given the objective it was established to fulfill. "The same is true for the UK now the BBC World Service has announced it will end several of its foreign language broadcasts, including those in Chinese," they argued.

Chen Weihua, senior media person from China says "VOA's mission is quite obvious as we see the US Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, better known as the Smith-Mundt Act, which forbids VOA to broadcast directly to US citizens. The legislation, an attempt to protect the American public from propaganda actions by its own government, speaks much of VOA's credibility."

As the world and modes of communication change with numerous other sources of information it is expected that the US may resort to the Internet and other advanced means to continue its information spreading to other countries.

According to BBC, it will be focusing more on online media and will limit other means of communication in next five years.

This is also evident from current firings of staff from BBC triggering a wave of criticism against the UK state-run broadcasting giant, considered to be a hard supporter of homosexuality.

In the same run, VOA has been hiring news staff on 1-year contract basis instead of any permanent recruiting allover the world.  Established in 1942 during World War II under the Office of War Information, VOA had its heyday in the Cold War years under the State Department when the flow of information between the East and West was like molasses.

Experts are predicting that social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit etc. might be the next tool of information spreading replacing global media giants.

"There is a need of more representation from the developing world, such as China, Brazil, India and Africa in a global news media market now dominated by US and European companies for a better flow of information," Chen concluded.


Shahzad Afzal

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