THE EFFECTS OF WORLD INFORMATION FLOW IMBALANCE ON THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES (A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA). A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON MASS COMMUNICATION
1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The world information flow controversy is perhaps the most topical issue in international communities today.
This global controversy is basically about the demand by the south for a change in the present pattern of information flow between it and the north. The south also knows that the third world or under developed or developing countries of the world contends that there is gross unbalance both in quality and quantity, in global information flow between the south and the north, also known as the first world countries of the world.
This unbalance according to the south, has placed it at the receiving end as developing countries are daily bombarded with information and other media materials which do not meet their development needs and more importantly tend to debase their culture and portray them as inferior in the eyes of all.
Supporting this assertion, Okunna (1993:92) say, A lot of research evidence has been gathered over the year to demonstrate the unbalance in the quality and particularly, quantity of global mass communication. This unbalance with the attendant dangers of culture domination through mass communication in at the root of protracted demand for a new world information and communication.
The north on its own part argues that the flow of information should be free and unrestricted quoting the 1940 united Nation (UN) declaration on the freedom of information as the basis of her arguments.
According to the un declaration of 1946, all state should proclaim policies under which the free flow of information within countries and across national boundaries could be protected. This free flow of information itself could be on offshoot from the liberation press theory of value of free information. Although third world countries accept the freedom of their citizens to receive and disseminate information they argue that such information freedom be checked in the interest of their sovereignty
The south, therefore rejects free flow of information in which there is an overwhelming amount of information flowing from a small number of industrialized countries into the numerous countries of the developing world. This rejection is partly rooted in the negative effects or consequences of this type of flow on cultures of the third world countries cultural imperialism or synchronization could be a resultant effect of the unhindered and unbalance global information flow.
Supporting the south’s line of argument, Opubor (1986:4) says, it is a very difficult state of affair indeed that a small group of people concentrated in four countries can arrogate onto themselves and preempt the management of our image of the world through controlling what is called news. Expressing similar views, Uche (1996:4) states, the western media’s on sought against Africa and the third world has continued to better and dent the image of the people of the southern hemisphere who are protracted as lesser beings. The demand for a new world information and communication order (NWICO) which Nigeria subscribes to is therefore borne out of the design to change the present pattern of the world information flow and also free her citizens form being passive receivers of distorted and biased information.
Historically, the new world information and communication orders debate has its root in the 1976 UN declaration on freedom of information. The disagreement stated in 1948 when Russia and her Allies opposed the idea of freedom of information at the Genva convention. The earliest quantitative study on it was the international press institute’s 1953 study of which suggested that there was unbalance the global news flow.