By Mourad Anouar
By Mourad Anouar
Morocco World News
Oklahoma City, May 16, 2012
If you are one of those who watch Moroccan T.V, you will be shocked at the number of foreign media presence in all our national TVs and radios outlets. Movies, music, films, commercial ads and more in foreign languages all target a vulnerable audience with little or no experience in media effects on society. Any Moroccan TV’ broadcast programs are remarkably dominated by a wide range of foreign entertainment contents, of which only few are Moroccan. American, Turkish, French and Mexican entertainment productions have gotten the lion’s share in what we, Moroccans, are exposed to watch.
One thing to note is that Moroccan mainstream’s indifference to cultural invasion not only raises a red flag, but it is incomprehensible. They seem unaware that they are culturally targeted. They often justify their preference of foreign entertainment media by pointing out to the poor quality of the Moroccan one. As valid as their argument seems, it still fails to deal with a serious problem that is not justified by sitting glued to the magic box watching a foreign media form.
Jeffrey E. Garten wrote an interesting article, entitled Imperialism is no Joke , in November 30, 1998 in Businessweek in which he explained how “Washington’s crusade for free trade is often seen abroad as a Trojan horse for large media to dominate foreign lifestyles and values.”
While Morocco seems to be doing nothing to counter this huge but soft type of cultural imperialism, other countries are at more alert to the issue in question. Alan Riding (2005) cited in an article in New York Times that “France’s culture minister, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, told reporters that at a time of growing religious fundamentalism, the convention underlined the importance of cultural diversity for artists and national pride as well as peace. It’s a victory for consciousness-raising”. Even in the United States, an enthusiastic promoter of all forms of globalism, there were anxieties a decade ago when Sony Corp. bought Columbia Pictures and Mitsubishi Corp. purchased New York’s Rockefeller Center.
Cultural imperialism has become a hot topic among nations recently, especially among ones which are more vulnerable than others. Usually, Less Developed countries are the ones which voice their frustrations louder at the super-power countries’ powerful media and entertainment industry.
Cultural imperialism as defined by John Tomlinson “does not have a particularly long history. It seems to have emerged, along with many other terms of radical criticism, in the 1960s and has endured to become part of the general intellectual currency of the second half of the twentieth century”.
Lawrence Grossberg even thinks that “a nation can dominate another country or people by dominating that country’s communication and culture. For example, if most of the TV shows broadcast, films screened, and music purchased in a country is American, cultural imperialism scholars argue that America has in essence colonized that country”.
Amid this world torn between clashing cultures, a frequently given reason for opposing all forms of cultural imperialism, voluntary or otherwise, is the preservation of cultural diversity, an objective relatively similar by some to preserving the human race. David Trend, In contrast, thinks otherwise as he stated “the question is, what can be done about this? Part of the answer lies in education, in the recognition that the cross-cultural exchange of media is not inherently negative phenomenon”
The media effects on society are very powerful, sometimes even catastrophic. One might catch spy of a colorful billboard on the streets of Casablanca that looks the same as one in New York. And if you are behind the wheel listening to a radio station, you may have the option to select your favorite one, but I doubt it if you can find one that airs only Moroccan content. The media effects on society may vary from one society to another and even from one person to another, but could you imagine being mixed up to the point where you are unable to know what is your first language after watching a foreign show? Ten years ago, I was watching a talk show in which a Morocco-based Sudanese journalist, Taha Jibril, commented on the negative effects of Mexican soap operas on viewers by telling an anecdote about a an illiterate Moroccan man who bragged about being able to master the Mexican language after watching only one season of an aired Mexican soap opera show dubbed in Arabic language, not Moroccan dialect.
1-David Trend.(1995)The crisis of meaning in culture and education. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press
2-John Tomlinson. (2001)Cultural imperialism: a critical introduction. New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing Group.
3-Lawrence Grossberg.(2006) Media-making: mass media in a popular culture. Newbury Park, CA:SAGE
Mourad Anouar is a Moroccan writer, novelist and poet. He received his bachelor’s in Journalism and a minor in German from the University of Central Oklahoma. He is the author of several poems and short stories both in Arabic and English.
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