16 and Pregnant

Durham (2007) argues that the adolescents, particularly transnational immigrants, struggles with their sexual identity. The diaspora of these young immigrants from their homeland to a foreign country have led to their struggles in constructing their identity of the self.

Stimulated by the proliferation of pop culture in the mainstream mass media, the denotations and values of sexuality among adolescents are gradually being influenced by the highly sexualised images saturated in the mass media today (Durham 2007).

One content analysis found that sexual content that ranged from flirting to sexual intercourse had increased from slightly more than half of television programs in 1997-1998 to more than two-thirds of the programs in 1999-2000. Aside from broadcast media, magazines targeted at teenage girls, such as Seventeen and Glamour, also features content that focuses on what girls and women should do to get and keep their man (Brown 2002).

One study have indicated that exposure to sexually suggestive materials is associated with premarital sex (Werner-Wilson 2004). The rising rates of early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy is a public concern. The mass media is now being condemned for adolescents’ engagement with sexuality.

This phenomenon of saturated sexual content in mass media have caused tension among immigrant adolescents who experienced very distinctive cultural differences in the United States, from their indigenous culture. Durham (2002) refers particularly to South Asian immigrants in the U.S. This is because South Asian immigrant parents focuses on conservativeness and are more traditional in its cultural teachings when compared to Western parents who are more open-minded when it comes to relationships and sexual activity among their adolescent children. Then again, growing up in the U.S. and constantly being exposed to sexual content in the mass media have caused tension among immigrant adolescents who struggle to balance their indigenous, traditional culture of practicing sex abstinence with the glorified message of embracing and exploring sexuality.

To further illustrate the correlation between media content and premarital sex, I discuss the reality television series on MTV, 16 and Pregnant, and its spin-off series, Teen Mom.

16 and Pregnant is a reality television series produced by and broadcasted on MTV. The show’s first season premiered in June 2009 and follows the journey of pregnant teenage girls (still in high school) struggling with teenage pregnancy.

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Initially, the show was meant as an educational program to promote sex abstinence and safe sex practice among high school students in the U.S. By showcasing the hardships of teenage pregnancy, the producers hope to influence the mindset of teenagers to practice sex abstinence (Intelligencer Journal/ Lancaster New Era 30 April 2011, p.1).

However, the show have since then received criticism for glorifying teen pregnancy. The spin-off series, Teen Mom, which follows four teenage mothers in their first year of parenthood, was being labeled as encouraging sexual intercourse among teenagers. This is because the mothers in the show are gradually being labeled as “celebrities”, constantly being featured on tabloid covers and making appearances in events.

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Critics have condemned the show for glorifying teenage sex and teenage pregnancy by providing a platform for the teenage mothers to make money off their children. Critics pointed out that the shows are a form of misleading communication, sending inappropriate messages to teenagers. Instead of viewing the show as an example NOT to engage in premarital sex, teenagers have came to interpret that premarital sex is anything but inappropriate. Taking the teenage mothers on the show as “role models”, teenagers view the show as a stepping stone to fame, being celebrities, and reaping large sum of money from the television show (Intelligencer Journal/ Lancaster New Era 30 April 2011, p.1).

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The proliferation of sexual content and images in the mainstream mass media have undoubtedly changed the values and virtues of the populace. Issues such as premarital sex and teenage pregnancy will persist as the access to such content is made possible not just through mass media, but through the Internet as well.

 

 

References:

Brown, JD 2002, ‘Mass media influences on sexuality’, The Journal of Sex Research, vol.39, no.1, pp42-45, accessed 4/6/2014, ProQuest Central database.

Durham, MG 2007, ‘Constructing the “new ethnicities”: media, sexuality, and diaspora identity in the lives of South Asian immigrant girls’, Critical Studies in Media Communication, vol.21, no.2, pp140-161, accessed 4/6/2014, Taylor and Francis Online database.

Werner-Wilson, RJ, Fitzharris, JL & Morrissey, KM 2004, ‘Adolescent and parent perceptions of media influence on adolescent sexuality’, Adolescence, vol.39, no.154, pp303-313, accessed 4/6/2014, ProQuest Central database.

 

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Diasporic Media and nationalism

According to World Bank (2006), half of the world’s migrant are women, particularly from East Asia. The diaspora of East Asia women, primarily from Japan, Korea and China can be attributed to educational and career opportunities in foreign countries. This diasporic phenomenon have led to the migration of highly-skilled and knowledge-intensive women to the Western countries (Kim 2011).

In exploring the diasporic nationalism of Asian women in London and how they make sense of their transnational lives abroad as facilitated by the media, I refer to Kim (2011) journal article, Diasporic nationalism and the media: Asian women on the move.

Kim (2011) argues that the media plays an integral role in shaping experiences and identities for these migrant Asian women. The mass media and the ever-powerful Internet creates a diasporic media sphere in communicating the identity of the self; “we”, “us”, “them”, “they”, “insider”, “outsider”, “citizen” and “foreigner”. The media in the host country influences how the migrant Asian women construct their self-identities in the host country, without alienating their original identity in their home country.

As the migrant Asian women faced the difficulties of everyday life, racial marginalization and disengagement from the host society, they resort to their ethnic media to affirm their sense of belonging and regain self-esteem. Ethnic media comes in popular cultural forms originated from a national homeland but are circulated transnationally mainly through the Internet. Ethnic media creates a transnational sphere for the Asian women to reconnect with their national homeland culture across national borders.

The migrant Asian women find security and comfort in their own communication channels and become less connected to the host society and disengagement from the mainstream culture. The phenomenon of resorting to the homeland national media only promotes further distance from the host country and its populace. Such disengagement will only lead to constant anxiety when interacting with the host country’s populace.

Kim (2011) pointed out that most anxieties are caused by language barriers and cultural differences. Asian women who do not speak the host country’s language, English, felt a lack of self-esteem thus resorting to homeland-language media to find a form of identification within the foreign country. This is made possible mainly through the Internet.

Diasporic nationalism is undeniably a struggle for many migrants. As the host country media primarily features its majority populace and embeds its own cultural elements, migrants find it difficult to associate and integrate with their own homeland culture. This has subconsciously led to declining self-esteem and increasing anxiety during interaction with the host community, which then resulted in the migrant’s attachment with ethnic media.

 

References:

Kim, Y 2011, ‘Diasporic nationalism and the media: Asian women on the move’, International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol.14, no.2, pp133-151, accessed 28/5/2014, SAGE Publications.

 

This is American Idol

Tay & Turner (2008) maintains that television addresses a national society and culture, and is predominantly associated with the governance of the nation state. However, in recent decades whereby technological advancements, proliferation of new media and globalisation have occupied the media sphere, the course of television have changed drastically; in terms of its content, structure and consumers’ consumption patterns.

During the era of free-to-air broadcasting, television was the primary, stand-alone medium that was used to circulate information and to educate the populace. Inherent with its propaganda nature, television broadcasting was designed to instill the nation state with a national character. This is evident in the predominantly broadcasts of weddings, funerals, national commemoration and celebration (Tay & Turner 2008).

Today, in the post-broadcast era, television broadcasting has experienced some significant and fundamental changes. Due to the impact of globalisation and proliferation of new media such as the Internet, social media sites (Facebook), micro-blogging sites (Twitter) and blogs, television is not multi-platformed. Television is no longer a stand-alone media but are complemented by various new media to drive consumer engagement and participation. The new television model is primarily adopted in the format of reality television (Tay & Turner 2008).

One significant reality television that have applied cross-media interactivity to appeal to the innovation-seeking younger segment is the American Idol. The Fox TV show, which debuted in June 11, has achieved ratings and media sensation, unprecedented in the U.S. reality television segment.

According to Nielsen Media Research, American Idol has averaged a 5.8 rating, or 6 million U.S. households and 9.7 million viewers. The show frequently garners the highest ratings in its time slot among 18- to 49-year-old viewers. The show’s success can be largely attributed to the audience participation in the voting.The show allow TV viewers to vote for the finalists and the ultimate winner through toll-free phone voting. In addition, the show also feature a Twitter account to encourage audience engagement with the show and the Idol’s contestants (Hay 2002).

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The astounding American Idol tweets in a week!

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Audience engagement with American Idol

American Idol originally started in the U.K. in 2001, known as Pop Idol. Since then, the format has been globally adopted in India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Australia and Indonesia, just to name a few. The proliferation of the television franchise and its successful adaption in numerous countries across the globe is considered to be a cultural product of globalisation.

The Idol format is an example of the role that media plays as a cultural change agent. Globalization have led to increased interaction and exposure amongst different cultures, changing local identities and relations between various social groups. Sherman (2011) argues that media globalization saw the local embraces and adapts the global without forfeiting its own unique identity. Media globalization is seen as a positive development that creates deep, sensory bonds between people of different cultures despite not sharing the same physical space (Sherman 2011).

 

References:

Hay, C 2002, ‘American Idol weds reality TV and music’, Billboard, vol.114, no.31, accessed 21/5/2014, ProQuest database.

Sherman, L 2011, ‘Idol’s place in the global village’, Communication and International Relations, vol.6, no.3, accessed 21/5/2014, https://www.com.washington.edu/commir/vol6/issue3/featureSherman.html

Tay, J & Turner, G 2008, ‘What is television? Comparing media systems in the post-broadcast era’, Media International Australia, no.126, pp71-81, accessed 21/5/2014, Informit database.

Post 9/11: Arabs and Muslims stereotypes in the Media

Stereotypes can be defined as simplified generalization of characteristics of an individuals or a group of people. It is usually a biased representation, deficient and occurs in the interests of those who apply the stereotypes. Stereotypes are usually applied to distance the unfavourable “others” from ourselves, excluding them from our societal circle. The proliferation of racial stereotypes can be attributed to the rise in conflicts within a society. Taking U.S. as an example, the 9/11 terrorism attack have lead to the stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims as terrorists (Halse 2012).

Post 9/11 incident, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and other Muslim interest groups spoke out about unfair treatment and hundreds of violent incidents experienced by Arabs and Muslim American. Some of the unfair treatment documented was discrimination at work, physical assaults, vandalizing mosques, community centres and residential properties owned by Arabs or Muslim Americans (Alsultany 2013).

Further fueling the hatred or discrimination towards the Arabs and Muslim Americans are the stereotypical representation of the ethnic group in media in United States (US). Post 9/11 incident, between 2001-2009, US films and drama predominantly featured Arabs and Muslims as terrorists (Alsultany 2013). Post 9/11, Muslims were largely associated with terrorism and have gradually contributed to the racial stereotypes that Muslims are ‘terrorists’ and ‘evil villains’ (Halse 2012). Such racial stereotypes in US media which portrays the Arabs and Muslims in a negative light have sparked controversy and raised critical views among prominent media figures such as Jack G. Shaheen (an Arab media researcher), Shaun Majundur & Maz Jobrani (actors), Queen Rania of Jordan and the Turkish embassy in the U.S. (Halse 2012).

An example of a U.S. TV series which have been accused for its negative and stereotypical portrayal of the Muslim characters is 24. The series is named after its storytelling technique, that is the events are to unfold within a 24-hour timeframe. 24 is a success, generating high audience ratings. This is largely attributed to the post 9/11 fear among the Americans, as the series features Jack Bauer, a macho and tough hero in his quest to protect the nation from terrorism (Halse 2012).

One particularly controversial episode in Season 4 of 24 features the Araz family, a middle-class Muslim American family who resides in Los Angeles. The Araz family, which consists of Navi (husband), Dina (wife) and Behrooz (son), looks just like a typical family but in fact, they are the sleeper cells for Habib Marwan, the primary antagonist in Season 4. The Araz family facilitates the terrorism attacks in the U.S. by delivering weapon parts and communicating information to others (Halse 2012).

The Araz family was portrayed as ‘evil villains’ and cultural ‘others’. Such negative stereotypes have sparked outrage among many Muslim interests groups in the U.S. They detest the stereotypes of Muslims as violent, brutal and barbaric as manifested by the Araz family in 24  (Halse 2012).

Halse (2012) pointed out several negative stereotypes associated with the Araz family. Firstly, Navi Araz was portrayed as a brutal husband and father who did not hesitate to murder his wife and son who went against his plans or the ‘jihad’ cause. This stereotyped Navi or Muslim men as violent, even to family members.

Secondly, Dina Araz (wife) was forced to choose sides between her husband and her son. Despite the nature of a caring mother she was, she knew she had to stay loyal to her husband and the ’cause’. Dina’s character stereotypes Muslim women as weak and submissive to the dominant Muslim husband (Halse 2012).

Racial stereotypes in media is primarily common. It is up to us to determine the accuracy and validity of the generalizations made by the media. Most often than not, stereotypes are falsified, as they meant to denote negative representations to the cultural ‘others’.

 

 

References:

Alsultany, E 2013, ‘Arabs and Muslims in the media after 9/11: Representational strategies for a “postrace” era’, American Quarterly, vol.65, no.1, pp161-169, accessed 15/5/2014, MUSE database.

Halse, R 2012, ‘The Muslim-American neighbour as terrorist: The representation of a Muslim family in 24’, Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, vol.5, no.1, pp3-18, accessed 15/5/2014, EBSCO Host database.

I am Malala

This week’s lecture looks at how gender was represented in the media. We looked at the many roles and stereotypes that were assigned to a particular gender in movies, dramas and news. More often than not, these representations are inaccurate and are primarily biased. One of the more significant case study taught in class was the representation of Disney princesses. Young girls, through watching and imitating the behaviors and characteristics of the Disney princesses, are sub-consciously being taught that the characteristics on the television screen is the ideal way to behave and carry themselves in public. Most of these Disney princesses are portrayed as weak, soft-spoken, domestically-competent and dare not make a stand for themselves next to their knight-in-shining-armor.

Fortunately, in recent years, Disney has made some significant changes to their movies. Using the movie Frozen as a recent example, Princess Anna was portrayed as a confident, brave and strong-minded lady. She is not afraid to confront her sister whom everyone believes is a sorcerer. She is brave enough to travel on her own to the cold North Mountain in her quest to bring her sister back to Arendelle. Along the way, she met Kristoff and instructed him to take her to the North Mountain. Though faced with much scrutiny that her sister, Queen Elsa is an evil sorcerer, Princess Anna is determined that her sister is not what people thinks she is. Towards the end of the movie, Princess Anna was brave enough to protect her sister from Prince Hans. Such characteristics of a princess is not common in Disney movies but it made a very significant point among the audiences and the media. In my personal opinion, the movie is a game-changer. It alters the course of how females are being portrayed, establishing a new pathway to justify female’s innate powerful spirit in movies.

 

After completing the weekly readings, I decided to focus on gender issues, particularly analyzing women’s rights for my blogpost this week.

When it comes to discussing gender issues, women’s rights are always a topic worthy of debate. The primary reason of women’s rights can be attributed to the deep-rooted societal notion that women are less regarded when compared to men. Women have long been oppressed by the male counterparts, have no access to education, employment, and even the spouses are chosen for them by the parents based on the highest amount of dowry offered. Fortunately, as the world population becomes more civilized as a result of higher access and attainment of education, women and men are acknowledging women’s rights and strives to make a difference by making a stand for women by utilizing the mass media.

Khan (2013) maintains that women’s rights issues have gained media attention in recent years as the global society are becoming more concerned with women. The emergence of activism on women’s rights, advocacy groups and street riots have largely attained global media coverage.

To further illustrate the women’s rights issues and the power of media in supporting the issues, I will be discussing two internationally-covered stories of young women who have brought the global media spotlight on the issues of women’s rights; (1) the gang-rape of New Delhi student and (2) Malala Yousafzai

 

(1)

The fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist, whose name was not disclosed, on a bus in New Delhi sparked a global spotlight on women rights and safety issues in India. According to reports, rape cases are reported every 20 minutes in India. This horrific figure sparked international outrage as the world starts to question the enforcement of law, the responsibilities of the authorities, and the government’s verdict on the issue (Hundal 2013).

Enforcement of law have proven to be a challenge in India as the police corruption is widespread. As of 2012, there were a total 706 rape cases filed in New Delhi alone, but only the fatal gang rape mentioned above ended in conviction due to the international coverage of the case in international media. In view of the successful conviction, 1330 rape victims have come forward to report their cases by October 2013 (Hundal 2013).

The international media coverage has shed light on gender issues in India and have propelled many victims who were once afraid and helpless, to come forward as more people are acknowledging the severity of violence against women. The media have helped created and maintained a conversation and debate on women’s rights and violence against women. This type of media attention can propel the politicians, government and the relevant authorities into taking effective measures to curb the issue. This have proven that the media is a powerful tool in revealing suppressed issues and lobbying the politicians to act on them.

After the fatal gang-rape incident, the New Delhi elections in 2013 saw politicians compete on safety policies for women for the very first time, in the movement for lobbying for women’s rights (Hundal 2013). This is a new breakthrough and many hoped that this will help change the fates of India’s women.

 

(2)

When it comes to discussing women’s rights issues, how can we forget Malala Yousafzai? At the tender age of 15, she was named the TIME’s The 16 Most Influential Teen 2013, TIME’s The 100 Most Influential People in the World 2013. She was awarded National Youth Peace Prize 2011, RAW (Reach All Women in WAR) Anna Politkovskaya Award 2013 and Clinton Global Citizen Awards 2013 (just to name a few) for her vocal activism to better the education of girls under the Taliban rule (Lewis 2013).

Malala Yousafzai on the cover of TIME Magazine as she was named TIME's 2013 The 100 Most Influential People.

Malala Yousafzai on the cover of TIME Magazine as she was named TIME’s 2013 The 100 Most Influential People.

In 2009, Malala began blogging for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) Urdu’s site about her life under the violence and suppression of the Taliban rule. Malala is a crusader for children’s right to an education. Malala’s identity was revealed and she became famous as more people read and empathize with her story (Lewis 2013).

The Taliban were not very pleased with her crusade and have threatened to kill her if she refused to back down. As a brave, young lady with a bold mission in mind, Malala refused to surrender to the Taliban’s threat and on October 9, 2012, Taliban gunmen shot her in the head in her school bus. She suffered severe injuries to her brain tissues and her left ear was destroyed. The attempted assassination was Taliban’s warning to other girls to not follow Malala’s footsteps (Lewis 2013).

Malala Yousafzai: Runner-up for TIME's Person of The Year 2013.

Malala Yousafzai: Runner-up for TIME’s Person of The Year 2013.

After the horrific attack, the international media and public was furious. The attack was widely covered by international media and that made her even more well-known as people around the world acknowledges her struggles and efforts in lobbying for better education for girls in her home country. Shortly after the attack, the chorus “I am Malala” was heard everywhere around the world where people go to the streets and chant the chorus in their attempt to protest against gender inequality as well as to demonstrate support for Malala (Lewis 2013). Malala received countless humanitarian awards and she was applauded for her bravery and tireless efforts in her journey. In view of such worthy issue, the international media was generous to cover her story to help exert pressure on the Pakistani government who have allowed the violence and rule of the Taliban.

The Malala incident is an evident phenomenon whereby the media have helped shed light on women’s rights issues across the globe, and enlightening people of the harsh realities of women living in conservative countries where education and basic needs are prohibited. Malala have emerged as an advocate, trying to make her voice heard around the world. Malala’s case have been an encouraging example for women around the world to come out and make a stand for themselves.

 

 

References:

Khan, S & Phadke, S 2013, ‘Where can we have some fun?’, The Indian Express, 15 December, accessed 8/4/2014.

Hundal, S 2013, ‘Delhi rape: Has anything changed for India’s women?’ The Star Online, 20 December, accessed 24/4/2014, http://www.thestar.com.my/Lifestyle/Features/2013/12/20/Delhi-rape-Has-anything-changed-for-Indias-women/

Lewis, K 2013, ‘Malala the powerful’, Scholastic Scope, vol.62, no.1, pp4-9, accessed 24/4/2014, ProQuest Central database.

Emerging Issues in Journalism in Malaysia

We were delighted to have a guest lecturer in class this week, Puan Siti, a senior reporter from Radio Television Malaysia (RTM), national public broadcaster in Malaysia. Ms. Rohayu stated that the primary reason for the guest lecture was because she believed Puan Siti’s invaluable experiences in the local journalism industry throughout her significant tenure as a journalist would help shed light on the real-life landscape of journalism in Malaysia and the challenges journalists face as brought upon by the Internet.

Some of the key issues discussed in the class were media gate-keeping, the role of media in covering political issues, and the emergence of citizen journalism.

As mentioned by Puan Siti, the media in Malaysia is subjected to gate-keeping, that is the media is controlled by illiberal laws such as the Printing Press Publications Act (PPPA), Official Secrets Act (OSA), Sedition Act, and the Communications and Multimedia Act. According to Anuar (2010), all works by journalists are subject to change as the editor would edit the stories to make the news reports appear politically bland. The restrictive laws such as the PPPA have lead to the excessive self-censorship as practiced by the editors in Malaysia (Anuar 2010).

Netto (2002) argues that politically motivated media curbs have denied the Malaysian public their right to a full range of viewpoints. Under such political control, the media tend to reflect and promote the agenda of the political elite and the rich, while the concerns of the general public, the poor and marginal groups are sidelined.

Anuar (2010) maintains that the journalism ethics, standards and credibility within the mainstream media have long been compromised in favour of the political and corporate interests. This is especially so when the then Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was dismissed in 1998- assaulted in police custody, and eventually convicted and jailed for 15 years- by the then Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamed.

The public discontent was largely due to the submissive behavior displayed by the mainstream media in the coverage of the dismissal which lead to the widespread Reformasi protests on the streets. The verdict here is that the media are supposed to play the role of a watchdog over the institutions of government and serve the interests of the people rather than the ruling elite (Netto 2002). But that was not the case in the coverage of Anwar’s dismissal and the Reformasi protests. The biased reporting of the protests have further fueled the public resentment for the mainstream media.

The mainstream media in Malaysia plummeted to a new low when they downplayed the rather significant massive rally, Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) which saw a peaceful street demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on November 10, 2007, participated by more than 40,000 people to push for electoral reforms. The mainstream media, forewarned by the government, framed the rally as an unnecessary inconvenience to the public. This has not only caused a public outrage but it revealed the illiberal state of the press and media in Malaysia (Anuar 2010).

In view of the illiberal state of the media and the dire need for truth reporting, the general public took things onto their own by capturing the BERSIH rally on their portable recording devices such as mobile phones and camera, and publishing them onto the Internet, primarily through the social media sites. This practice was gradually adopted and was later termed “citizen journalism”.

Citizen journalism is defined as the act of a citizen or a group of citizens involved in the process of collecting, reporting, analysing and disseminating news and other forms of information to provide independence, wide-ranging, and relevant information that is crucial to democratic societies (Barnes 2012).

The emergence of citizen journalism can be attributed to the emerging political, economic and social issues, illiberal practices of mainstream media, the high adoption rate and increasing dependence on the Internet for instantaneous news. Some of the issues that have raised public concerns are:-

Economic issues: Rising prices of goods and services with the soon-to-be imposed goods and services tax (GST), price hike in petrol and toll charges, inadequate distribution of subsidies for the poor and imbalanced development.

Social issues: Increase in crime rates, decline in citizens’ security, lack of equal opportunities in education and employment, decline in religious freedom and tolerance, increasing racial polarisation and problems caused by illegal immigrants.

Other issues: media freedom, rife corruption, lack of good governance, weak judiciary system and weak foreign policies.

 

Citizen journalists such as bloggers view the mainstream media as arrogant with their own self-interest as the primary concern and the truth was concealed in their news reporting as they are strictly regulated by the government. For bloggers, their output is  seldom filtered, allowing large groups of like-minded people in a community to engage in the online conversation. As the definition suggests, citizen journalists have the power and freedom to publish news which would otherwise not be revealed. The emergence of citizen journalism have lead to the phenomenon whereby the public have the power to decide how and when they consume news and with whom they share it. It is apparent that both the mainstream media and websites are divided into pro-government and opposition (Ramanathan 2008).

The practice of citizen journalism in Malaysia is widespread as there are a significant number websites dedicated to the people who seeks the opposing and independent political news and views. Among the more famous websites are Malaysiakini.com, Harakahdaily.com, Laman Reformasi, and freeanwar.com (Netto 2002).

The issues discussed above are just the dawn of the reformed journalism. With the ever-advancing information technologies, the media and journalists will have to prepare themselves for the many uncertainties the future will present. Buckle up!

 

References:

Anuar, MK 2010, ‘Teaching ‘best practices’ of journalism in Malaysia’, Asia-Pacific Media Educator, no.20, pp177-181, accessed 24/4/2014, Informit database.

 

Barnes, C 2012, ‘Citizen journalism vs traditional journalism: A case for collaboration’, Carribean Quarterly, vol.58, no.2, pp16-27, accessed 24/4/2014, ProQuest Central database.

 

Netto, A 2002, ‘Media freedom in Malaysia’, Media Asia, vol.29, no.1, pp17-23, accessed 24/4/2014, ProQuest Central database.

 

Ramanathan, S 2008, ‘Malaysia’s 2008 Political Tsunami: Hope for media liberalisation?’, Media Asia, vol.35, no.4, pp233-240, accessed 24/4/2014, ProQuest Central database.

Ciudades creativas

My deliberate attempt to research on the definition of ‘creative cities’ has proven unsuccessful after a long-haul process of searching for and reading journals online. I came to understand creative cities as a concept of encouraging a culture of creativity in urban planning and solutions (Evans 2009). In the context of culture in creative cities, Richard Florida determines the notion of culture  as established elite institutions of high art, tolerance, and diversity of street culture (Leslie 2005).

Pratt (2011) maintains that creative cities denotes the concept of branding a city to attract tourists and potential investors by creating cultural icons that takes on its own unique form in relative to the city’s local conditions. The city’s urban policy may denote city development, regeneration plans and architecture/ design as the fundamentals of creating an ideal creative city. Trendy cafes and well-planned architecture are just some of the fundamentals of urban policy that we can see today (Leslie 2005). Furthermore, cities are framed in such a way to attract the attention of ‘creative class’ such as artists to populate the city in order to be recognized as the ‘world’s most creative city’. However, real artists favors authenticity of creativity in run-down areas and place high value on cultural  diversity which often cannot be found in ‘creative cities’. This is because ‘creative cities’ emphasize on universalism, a set of shared and normative notions on what is good and acceptable by the society at large (Pratt 2011). In 2009, Barcelona was ranked the most creative city as it is most active in the range and depth of creative industries, followed by San Francisco/ Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and New York (Evans 2009).

In today’s culture of neo-liberalism, whereby the culture and economy are converging and becoming more intertwined, metropolitan cities are competing with one another to differentiate and to position themselves as center of cultures. Scott (2006) points out that creative cities in a globalizing world encompasses creative sectors such as high-tech production, business/ financial services, media and cultural-products industries. There is an emerging phenomenon of firms in creative cities around the world engaging in building international networks of creative partnerships with one another. One example of such international alliance is Hollywood movie studios incorporating Chinese actress in their blockbuster movies; Fan Bing Bing in Iron Man 3 and Lee Bing Bing in Transformers: Age of Extinction.

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A screen shot of Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing in Iron Man 3

 

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On the official poster for Transformers: Age of Extinction; Chinese actress Li Bing Bing

This international partnership is a win-win situation whereby Chinese actress are able to command press coverage from international media while Hollywood movie studios are able to penetrate into the Chinese market to reap high profits.

While striving to earn the title of ‘creative city’, I believed the relevant authorities should focus on and embraces the city’s authenticity because that’s what makes a city unique in its own way.

 

P.S. The title; Ciudades creativas is ‘creative cities’ in Spanish, the national language of the most creative city, Barcelona.

 

 

References:

Evans, G 2009, ‘Creative cities, creative spaces and urban policy’, Urban Studies, vol.46, no.5, pp1003-1040, accessed 7/4/2014, SAGE Publications

Leslie, D 2005, ‘Creative cities’, Geoforum, vol.36, no.4, pp403-405, accessed 7/4/2014, ScienceDirect database.

Pratt, AC 2011, ‘The cultural contradictions of the creative city’, City, Culture and Society 2, pp123-130, accessed 7/4/2014, ScienceDirect database.

Scott, AJ 2006, ‘Creative cities: conceptual issues and policy questions’, Journal of Urban Affairs, vol.28, no.1, pp1-17, accessed 7/4/2014, Wiley Online Library.