A one world one voice? : Libyan affairs coverage by one European and three African newspapers, 1970-1986
This thesis basically proffers a critical reexamination of the debate on the New International Information Order. It mainly accosts two problematic issues viz; the faulty conceptual framework adopted by a majority of the Third World member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement Under the auspicies of UNESCO to address the problems of international communication, and secondly, the inability of researchers - as a result of the limitations imposed by the North vs South polarization of the debate and the Third World leader's pedestrian conceptualization of the problems at hand - to focus on the operations of the Third World media in order to arrive at much more comprehensive generalizations. The starting point of this thesis is that it is not enough to concentrate on only one side of the coin. To fully understand the interconnections of neocolonialism and its symptomatic manifestations in the field of information and communication, we have to go beyond the polemical stance the debate and current research assumed. That is, it is not enough to accuse or heap all the blames on imperialism and neocolonialism. It is obvious most of the accusations levelled against the media of the advanced capitalist countries in their portrayal of the Third World countries are valid. But, to get to the roots of the problems i.e., the underlying causes of these problems at large, there is also a fundamental need to put the Third World media themselves under the same analytical microscope. It is with this in mind that we set out to analyse how the African media cover and project African affairs, taking Libya as a case study. The rational behind this endeavour is that since the African states have been accusing the media of the capitalist countries of ill treatment by negatively portraying them, the African media would somewhat cover and portray other African states in a more positive manner, particularly in the period of the debate and in its aftermath. Our results suggests the opposite. That is, there is no fundamental difference in how Libya was covered and projected to the outside world by both the African media in our sample (The Nigerian Daily Times, The Tanzanian Daily News and The Nairobi Standard) and The Times of London in the period 1970-1986. This we believe suggests that both the Third World media and the media of the advanced capitalist nations share some characteristics that makes them to operate along similar lines. They are to a certain extent, two sides of the same coin, which might suggest that, what we are confronted with in the field of international communication is a paradox of "a one world with a one voice" when it comes to the coverage of some contentious issues that threaten what is normally projected as the norm in society. Although these findings are tentative, we hope they will open avenues for further research in our efforts to fully understand the complexities not only of the information sector, but the whole institutional structures that underlie and give bearing to international relations, politics and economics.