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Tag Archives: Bhutan

Culture, identity, and media

Under - Geography, Media, Miscellaneous, My Musings
A young mother and child in Hongtso.

Photo source: Claire (http://picasaweb.google.com/Hattoc/BhutanNov09Top100#)

I was watching a documentary on the telly the other day on Bhutan about the challenges people facing there having their country opened to the world and their GNH (Gross National Happiness) preference over GDP and asked myself a conflicting question: should media be censored or even banned to save cultures and societies?

To be honest there’s no definite answer to this and if so then it can’t be generalised. To me our identities come from cultures that flourish in our societies, and societies form civilisation that changes from geographic region to region with our planet’s curvature.

When we talk about preserving something we accept the fact that it is in danger or endangered. In my 36 years of life I’ve seen the impact of globalisation (along with some positive aspects) eating up people’s individuality, their identity, their cultures, beliefs, languages and their whole way of life in general from Australia to America and from Africa to Europe. As human beings our cultural differences are like our faces that are different from each other for a reason – to mark our physical identity and individuality. Our differences are the colours of this world.

Through the blessing of the media in our age we see popular cultures heavily influencing not so popular cultures by all means and, if a culture tries to protect itself by distancing itself from the mainstream then it is very negatively branded. I fail to comprehend why it is an issue? Why accepting someone’s individuality is difficult as long as it is not intrusive?

Political mumbo-jumbo aside I’d support the idea (if it actually exist anywhere) of screening the media – not to deny it access, but to preserve its intended and unintended audience from its negative influences especially when we see how polarised and politically influenced it is. I’m not the one to define media’s negative influences here but, like any medicine, there are side effects therefore the target audience is the one to decide about it freely and we need to accept and respect it.