Monday, 05 April 2021 17:20

Media of Imperialism or Imperialism of Media (II)

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If we go back to the periods when new mass media, multimedia and television were not yet available, the printing and distribution of newspapers were insufficient, and the literacy rates were low, the most effective mass communication tool at that time was undoubtedly the radio. For this reason, radio has got its name in the history of audio communication, politics and propaganda as "radio wars", "golden years of radio" or "interference wars".

Germany is a striking example in the history of media propaganda via radio. The Hitler era is the most obvious indicator of how societies are influenced by power of media, or in other words, media of power. It has projected from that period to this period in the shaping of today's global media and has built the basic philosophy of imperialism of media.

The election of Hitler as prime minister in Germany and the overthrow of the government by the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party - shortly Nazi Party) on 30.01.1933 means a radical change in the radio. The rights of all radio companies pass to the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda headed by Goebbels. Goebbels' aim is to radically influence the entire population through radio in the name of national socialism. Since low-income families do not have radios, cheap radio production is started in order to reach the mass more easily. "Volksempfänger 301" (Public receiver-301 number to remind the date of taking power on 30.01.1933) which was first produced in this category. Radio is now available in many houses and listening to radio is no longer reserved for privileged classes. Foreign broadcasts cannot be listened to and if it is determined that they have been listened to illegally, in some periods, sanctions are applied up to death penalties.

In 1933, when Hitler came to power, 50 speeches were broadcasted to the public on the radio, and the whole public was eagerly awaiting his speeches. Hitler can reach incredible tones while speaking. Consciously; while speaking very quietly, the conversation can suddenly end with yell. Hitler addresses the inner worlds and emotions of listeners both in content and intonation with his speeches. He highlights himself as a historical figure in his speeches. Hitler gives his people the good news of not only getting rid of the economic crisis that has been going on since the 1920s, but also an empire that will last 1000 years on the condition that they obey him.

During the warfare periods, radio broadcasting became very important and was frequently used by European states for political conflicts, eventually caused the Second World War. Propaganda also played an important role in the rise of communism and fascism during the war and reached a new scientific level. Hitler was one of the few leaders who took propaganda seriously in every aspect and skillfully used it in domestic and foreign politics. It has gained the support of the German public through successful propaganda, thus succeeding not only in mobilizing the German people, but also influencing some European nations.

The Second World War started with a false news that was deliberately misrepresented over the radio. An SS chief and 4 SS soldiers entered the Gleiwitz radio as civilians on August 31, 1939, and the radio personnel were tied and locked in the basement floor. After a few shots in the air, the war officially begins with radio announcements in German and Polish languages. According to reports, the radio was captured by Polish people and Poland violated the borders of Germany. Hitler explains the reason for the war with a statement he made as follows: “I have no choice but to respond with force against force to put an end to this mind-blowing situation. The German army will fight until the end with great determination for the pride and rights of the German people. I expect all soldiers to fulfill their responsibilities all the way according to the traditions of German military service...”

There are many similar examples in Hitlerite Germany. At that time, radio was described by Goebbels as the most modern and most important tool in terms of influencing the masses. German radio played a very important role in state propaganda until the late 1950s. Looking back on today, perhaps if there had been visual media at the time, Hitler would not have been so impressive and might even have been in a funny situation with the Charlie Chaplin similitude. Even this is enough to give us signs of the influence of the media on perception management.

Today, the global media broadcasting live images of war and invasions from many regions to the world at the same time is the most striking example of the influence of the media on direction, acceptance and perception management, in short, the "imperialism of media" of this period. In hybrid warfare, the media has the position of leading actor and almost playmaker. Sometimes, hybrid wars are formed by agitating societies with strategies that we can call as reverse manipulation, and the interventions made to layers of society and even countries are legitimized. For example, as a result of the "Cartoon Crisis" in Denmark in 2005 and the deliberate manipulative publications of Charlie Hebdo magazine in France, which we can call completely media-based operations, on the one hand, the intended indignation in Muslim societies, on the other hand, "Islamophobia" was strengthened in non-Islamic societies.

Globalization, as a process that reproduces locality, connects localities by joints to itself rather than destroying them. From this point of view, “the concept of localization has the function of concealing globalization from eliminating the differences between lifestyles. Through the discourse of difference, the globalization process weakens their focus on resisting the consequences it creates.

Commercial income concerns form the basis of the global media order and global broadcasters have no social concerns such as democracy, human rights, freedoms, public interest and national culture. In the global media order, individuals are seen as “consumers” and efforts are made to increase the consumer's demand for choice. While TV series, movies, competitions, reality shows, etc. continuing with cultural erosion on the one hand, on the other hand, intervening advertisements fuel consumption and ensure that it is placed in memory with fine craftsmanship.

Unfortunately, there is no compensation for the damage to our culture and the deep psycho-social wounds caused by some of the competitions and reality shows that were imported from the countries of West to our country by paying millions of dollars. In a society where privacy is so important in such tradition and belief system, we are going to put ridiculous contests like Someone's Spying on Us (Big Brother-alike TV Show), like Survivor, which make people fight each other mercilessly with the ambition to win money, or similar freak shows like Fear Factor that destroy human dignity and that we cannot end up counting, in our culture and values. Televisions have transformed our homes into medieval arenas through similar programs.

The technological development brought by the globalization process shows that the importance of mass media that guides and directs the public will increase even more in our lives. But as the media becomes a very important force that guides public opinion, other forces have emerged and will emerge that also want to direct the media. Because the shortest and most effective way to penetrate the public, which has a very complex structure, is through manipulating the media. And we must make remembered: If both the power of the media and the media of the power are ignored, we would be doomed both to the media and the power.


Read 490 times Last modified on Tuesday, 18 May 2021 11:42
Hüseyin Caner AKKURT


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