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Volume :17 Issue : 1 1989      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The International News Flow: Conflicting Definitions and Conceptions

Auther : Mohamed N. EL-Sarayrah

The dissemination of news among nations has triggered much discussion in recent years, and has become a potential crisis. The coverage of events by the Western media has often been criticized by the Eastern bloc and developing countries for the tendency to ever-present the rich industrialized countries, to present events in personalized terms and to have a disproportional stress on negativism. On the other hand, Western governments believe that Eastern and Third World countries are too restrictive in the exchange of news among nations. This paper suggests that the problem of news flow is not one of imbalance volumes of information, but rather a matter of incompatible approaches to conceptualizing and defining what is ‘news’ and ‘newsworthy’. In the West, news is considered a commercial commodity and is defined in terms of interest, proximity, importance, size and novelty. In the communist countries, however, news events are considered as elements in a continuing social process which contribute to the perfection of a communist society. In the Third World, many journalists believe that news must include a cultural perception, and have introduced the concept of ‘development news’ to deal with issues facing these countries. These different definitions determine how each side views the criteria of news value in particular, and the content and presentation of the news in general. 

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